Life sciences rely on a wide range of technologies, services and products. Although the objectives in individual sectors may be different, the demand for innovation and faster development is highly significant for companies in the whole field.
Optimize liquid handling results
In dispensing or pipetting applications in laboratory automation, it is important to obtain reliable results that are analyzed by calculating the accuracy and precision. To achieve these results, several influencing factors must be taken into account – from the measurement equipment to external and internal influences.
Technologies for a better life
A growing and aging world population requires more medical diagnostics and therapy. Advances in medicine identify new diseases and make them curable. Being able to analyze samples precisely is a necessity when it comes to making reliable diagnoses. Medical technology is used in therapy, helping to preserve life and make life easier. The global demand for medical technology and laboratory analysis is therefore increasing rapidly. We make our technological know-how available to this growth market for the precise, reliable automation of sensitive processes.
5 benefits of pressure-controlled liquid handling
There are different systems available for liquid handling in laboratory automation. Festo favors pressure-controlled dosing systems for liquids because they offer a wide range of impressive benefits.
Easy integration of piezo valves
Extremely energy-saving, silent and without any heat build-up – piezo technology offers many benefits for efficient and precise gas handling in medical technology and laboratory automation. The biggest difference between piezo valves and proportional solenoid valves is the energy consumption, which is up to 95% lower. Up to now, it has not been possible to simply replace proportional solenoid valves since piezo technology needs voltages of up to 310 V and thus specific electronics. Now, however, there are simple solutions for this, which we will be presenting in this article.
Design for Manufacturing of lab-on-a-chip devices
Mobile in vitro diagnostics is a growing market. Demand for fast and reliable point-of-care tests is steadily increasing. With Festo as a partner, scientists, universities, start-ups, and even established manufacturers can reduce the time-to-market for their lab-on-a-chip systems and get started with mass production straight away. This is made possible through collaborative engineering and a modular system of ready-to-install, pretested subsystems.
Saving lives with the right antibiotic
Until now, it would typically take two to four days for clinicians to find out the best, most effective antibiotic to prescribe to patients with an infection. A new diagnostic platform finds the right drug, for targeted therapy within 24 hours. Included: dosing heads and handling portals from Festo.
Integrated solutions for liquid handling
One of the main topics in laboratory automation is handling extremely small quantities of liquids, from milliliters to nanoliters. That is why Festo offers compact and perfectly integrated functional units. These standardized components enable system and equipment manufacturers to shorten their development times and, at the same time, meet strict quality requirements reliably and efficiently. This makes Festo not just a valuable partner for customers in the healthcare sector, but also in other industry segments in which accurate liquid handling is required, such as food and cosmetics production, printing and cleaning, as well as breeding and incubation processes.
Teaching robot for dentists
No one enjoys going to the dentist; young children even less so. To help future dentists and dental assistants deal with children during dental treatments, the Japanese company tmsuk has developed a humanoid robot that realistically simulates the behavior of young children during these treatments, complete with fidgeting, flinching or closing the mouth. The dummy’s realistic movements are produced using proportional pressure regulators with piezo technology.
On the hunt for high throughput diagnostics
Global diagnostics companies and laboratories are in a race against time to adapt testing capacities to current demand. Due to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for testing exceeds the existing capacity by far.
Ideal for developers: Liquid Handling Starter Kit
Pressure-controlled dispensing systems are used wherever precision, throughput and reliability are required. Festo offers developers in laboratory automation a starter kit for dispensing liquids that simplifies and speeds up the initial setup of a new dispensing application.
Repetition accuracy in liquid handling
The need for an external air supply means that space is limited when installing liquid handling systems. Also, the multiple dosing of liquids places very high demands on repetition accuracy. Festo has found solutions to both challenges, which are described in more detail in this article.
Accurate removal of prostate tissue
Medical robots are playing an increasingly important role in medical diagnostics. Partially automated handling solutions allow the precise targeting of suspicious areas in the prostate, delivering more accurate biopsy results and better prostate cancer detection.
Faster development of specimen handling
Festo USA, in collaboration with PerkinElmer, developed a compact specimen handling solution for a global leader in manufacturing medical devices. Thanks to the involvement of the customer early on in the development process, the subsystem is easy to integrate into the customer’s platform – with Festo standard components, a PerkinElmer® JANUS G3 workstation, and a modified rotary gripper module. This approach resulted in minimal complexity with maximum productivity and process reliability.
40,000 DNA extractions daily
It's great when things run quickly: 20 minutes per extraction process and a new plate every 2.5 minutes – the Dutch company Synchron Lab Automation, in cooperation with Festo, has developed a small automated factory for DNA extraction. As a result, customers in the seed industry can collect DNA from up to 40,000 samples per day.
Mixing & dosing gases – 4 applications, 1 solution
Precisely mixing and dosing gases plays a decisive role in many areas, whether in life sciences, machine building or food & packaging. The proportional flow control valve VEMD is the cost-effective solution provided by Festo for a wide range of applications. Let's take a look at four examples.
Collaboration in laboratory automation
The Dutch company Synchron Lab Automation developed an automated DNA extraction system with very high throughput rates by working very closely together with Festo. As a result, customers in the seed industry can collect DNA from up to 40,000 samples per day.
Improved quality of life
Around 600 million people worldwide are afflicted with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Mobile oxygen system devices improve the mental and physical ability of patients as well as their quality of life. Japanese company Musashi Medical Laboratory supplies easy-to-operate regulators in smartphone format for these oxygen system devices, thus significantly improving comfort and handling for patients. Compact piezo valves from Festo provide for quiet oxygen supply.
Automated opening and closing of sample vials
The handling of sample vials – in particular opening and closing – is a special challenge in the field of laboratory automation. The goal is to unite high levels of process reliability with minimal complexity. You’ll find out here which factors are important in finding the right solution.
Fully Automated DNA Extraction
In plant breeding, countless DNA samples are examined in the laboratory every day. Breeders face the technical challenge of testing DNA quickly and accurately. An automated machining jig supports the automated laboratory in the preparation of samples for analysis.
Precision in eye surgery
Nowadays, cataract surgery is a routine procedure. This is in part due to the pioneering developments in medical technology from companies such as BYTEC, which produced the “QUBE” to support eye surgeons deliver precise and faultless treatment. Piezo, proportional and fast-switching valves allow the necessary rapid incisions to be made.
Precision and accuracy in liquid handling
A key process in lab automation is dispensing liquid aliquots, for example by means of automated liquid handlers. Evaluating liquid handling performance is important for lab technicians, as well as for manufacturers of liquid handling technology. The yardsticks for evaluating dispensing performance are precision and accuracy.
A key process in lab automation is dispensing liquid aliquots, for example with the help of automated liquid handlers. Evaluating liquid handling performance is important for lab technicians, as well as manufacturers of liquid handling technology.
Safe cleaning for the pharmaceutical industry
Wherever work involves using active ingredients, cleanliness is of the highest priority; production equipment has to be thoroughly cleaned every time it is used. And of course this makes the system prone to wear. Unless you use corrosion-resistant, stainless steel components from Festo. They are more resistant. For example in cleaning systems from ROTAN for the pharmaceutical industry.
Dispensing and pipetting
Small liquid droplets with volumes on the microliter scale are used in many applications today. Areas where these droplets can play a particularly important role include: liquid handling in life sciences and pharmaceutical research, diagnostics, and microfluidic applications. Two liquid handling techniques which are typically employed are pipetting (a contact technique) and dispensing (which can be a non-contact approach).
The laboratory of the future – the SMART lab
As laboratory processes become increasingly complex, automation solutions become absolutely essential in order to maintain process accuracy and consistency, and to improve efficiency.
Valves with piezo technology
Certain ceramics exhibit piezoelectric characteristics, meaning that when these ceramics are mechanically deformed, a voltage accumulates in the material. This effect also occurs in reverse: Applying a voltage to these ceramics will cause them to deform.
System solutions in lab automation
It is useful to distinguish between laboratory automation – which denotes the software and hardware technologies and engineering adaptations that control instruments without human intervention – and laboratory robotics, which refers more specifically to the physical manipulation of samples and their containers.