Precise pipetting procedures
Compact handling gantries with electric axes from Festo – the DGEA axis in the X-direction and the EGSK axis in the Y-direction, equipped with motors of the type EMMS-ST – ensure precise pipetting procedures. Once a pipetting procedure has finished, a pneumatic AEN cylinder from Festo ensures that the used pipette is ejected into a waste chute.
Another handling system equipped with the same axes takes the sample holders from the output trays and places them on the weighing unit. There, a pipette provides the sample holders with the exact amount and volume of the substance to be tested. The sample holder is then held by the handling gantry over a scanner so that the sample can be allocated using a data matrix code. This integrated barcode reader enables the samples to be traced throughout the entire specimen preparation process. At the end of this process, the sample is placed on the output tray.
Tested complete solution
“Festo didn’t just supply us with the axes, but also a complete system solution including a CECC CoDeSys controller”, says project manager Schöllauf, reporting on the cooperation with Festo. He continues by adding, “Without that, it would not have been possible for us to meet the extremely short development deadline of four months.” This also made it possible to program the two handling gantries so they would never collide despite the fact that they move within the same working space. This was checked and tested by Festo before delivery.
Developing the dispense head was no minor task either. This is where VODA valves come in. These media valves are directly actuated diaphragm valves. Depending on how the pressure is defined, the metering of the fluid to be transported is higher or lower. The opening pressure of the valve is therefore defined by the pretension and flexibility of the diaphragm. This enables the medium used to be dispensed extremely accurately.
The samples ultimately have to be assigned to precisely the correct sample containers, with no room for error. “In this sub-project, the engineers from the Medical Technology and Laboratory Automation division of Festo demonstrated their level of expertise combined with high commitment”, continues Schöllauf. This provides reliability for follow-on projects, adds the project manager – as does the fact that products, solutions and services from Festo can be supplied quickly almost anywhere in the world. This is also important for companies like Anton Paar, so that the Modular Sample Processor can be marketed on a worldwide basis.