Piezo valves for reliable microfluidics
High-precision solutions for laboratory automation
Thanks to piezo technology, entirely new horizons are opening up in microfluidics for medical diagnostics. Liquid flows can now be regulated and controlled in the smallest ducts, with diameters of less than 1 mm, using miniaturised Festo duct plates.
Functional solutions such as Festo's piezo valve terminals VEMA or media valve series VODA are making an important contribution to the so-called "lab-on-a-chip" concept, i.e. microfluidic systems which accommodate the entire functionality of an analytical process on a single substrate. The major process steps in the preparation and analysis of samples on a microfluidic chip are the dosing of tiny volumes of liquid in the µl range, the delivery and controlled switching of liquid reagents, the mixing and separation of liquids and conditioning operations such as heating or cooling.
Reliable pressure regulation
The required liquid flows are fed to the microfluidic chip by pressure control via a manifold duct plate equipped with compact media valves. Pressure regulation with the valve terminal VEMA allows precise and completely pulse-free delivery of liquids through up to eight ducts at the same time and in parallel. This means that one sample can be used for several tests.
The individual valves on the valve terminal VEMA dose liquids gently and precisely. They thus ensure a high yield of usable test results while also guaranteeing consistent test methods at low cost. Thanks to piezo technology, there is no heat generation, which could influence test results. This improves the reproducibility and comparability of results. Piezo valve terminals are smaller than conventional solenoid valve terminals by a factor of 10 and are thus ideal for microfluidics.
Wide range of applications
Media valves VODA are used not only on piezo valve terminals VEMA but also in photometrics, spectroscopy, cytometry and DNA analyses. These valves have short switching times and thus ensure high throughput. They are precise and allow variable dosages. Integrated onto duct plates, valves VODA form a genuine system solution for combining, mixing, gasifying, degasifying and tempering liquids, pumping and dosing liquids into test tubes, vials, spirit levels, sample containers and wells, as well as dispensing and pipetting liquids.
Festo AG is a global player and an independent family-owned company with its headquarters in Esslingen am Neckar, Germany. The company supplies pneumatic and electrical automation technology to 300,000 customers of factory and process automation in over 200 industries. Our products and services are available in 176 countries. With about 18.700 employees in 61 companies worldwide, Festo achieved a turnover of around €2.64 billion in 2015. Each year around 8 % of this turnover is invested in research and development. In this learning company, 1.5 % of turnover is invested in basic and further training. Yet training services are not only provided for Festo's own staff – Festo Didactic SE also supplies basic and further training programmes in the field of automation technology for customers, students and trainees.