Category: Automation and High-Throughput Technologies

1079-E - Improving Liquid Handling Robot Throughput by means of Direct Path Planning and Obstacle Avoidance Programming

Wednesday, February 7, 2018
11:30 AM - 12:30 PM

Liquid Handling Robot systems are typically based on a gantry mechanism utilizing X, Y and Z axis. Although fast moves along a single axis can be obtained without undue vibration utilizing S-curve motion profiles, the handling speed is usually a significant factor in determining system throughput, unless other factors prevail such as a long incubation period and/or a single incubation station. Conventional systems use discrete moves between axes: one axis moves (usually starting with Z) and stops before the next axis is started, resulting in delays when switching directions. Ideally one would utilize an approach wherein a smooth retract in the Z axis is used to clear a well or vial with the pipette tip, and then an automatic transition is made to a coordinated move with all three axes (Z up further to clear obstacles, and X and Y to smoothly transition to the drop-off point) and transition again to the drop-off position (Z-down to get to the well or vial) while still moving in X and Y.
The ability to coordinate moves between multiple axes, while avoiding obstacles in the path of the end effector (pipette handling section) of the robot will be discussed. This approach has the ability to reducing handler induced vibrations and can results in up to 30% throughput increases.

Peter F. Vandermeulen

VP Sales and Marketing
Performance Motion Devices
Westford, MA

Peter Vandermeulen is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Performance Motion Device, Inc., a company specializing the high-performance motion control ICs and components for the medical and laboratory industries. He has 25 years' experience in sales, marketing, business development and technology development for capital equipment for factory automation, semiconductor manufacturing, motion control, plasma systems with a focus on product development, Intellectual Property (IP) development, robotic equipment automation and advanced liquid desiccant membrane air conditioning (HVAC).
Peter holds a MBA from Babson College and a MSc in Physics from Eindhoven University of Technology in The Netherlands.