ILAS3000 Waterbath Robot – Product

ILAS3000 Waterbath Robot – Product

Posted by: Tim Brown Category: Machine Automation, Software Automation Tags: , , , ,

Customer:

Livestock Improvement Corporation (LIC), International Milk Testing Laboratories

Problem:

Automating the sample preparation process for component testing of milk samples in a laboratory.

Key benefits:

Improve consistency of sample preparation, more accurate results, sample traceability throughout the process, labour reduction and improved health and safety.

Background:

Milk samples require precise and consistent preparation procedures in order to achieve accurate and reliable test results. Attempting this with operators and basic equipment is far too variable and can lead to unreliable data.

LIC was experiencing these issues as their shaking and heating methods were inconsistent and operator dependent. Following the preparation, the samples were then placed in a rack and passed though the milk analyser, resulting in a variation intemperature between the first and last sample being analysed. In addition to a tedious and RSI-inducing task for the operators, the laboratory lacked any comprehensive traceability of samples.

LIC sought Motion Design’s expertise to create an automated solution that would eliminate their problems around milk sample preparation.

Solution:

The ILAS3000 machine was created to reduce operator involvement in the milk testing process. To achieve this, the machine accepts standardized trays of milk samples and operates fully automatically. The operator is only required to load and unload trays.

To prepare the milk sample, a X-Y-Z gantry system picks up the vial and moves it from the input tray to a carousel in a water bath. The water temperature is controlled to ensure perfect heating. The vial is then shaken, decapped and scanned before being presented to the analyser. Following the analysing, the vial is returned to its tray of origin. The milk samples are tracked throughout the process using barcodes. The analyser data can then be confidently paired with the correct sample. The machine can operate unattended for long shifts which has dramatically reduced the labour requirement to process milk samples. Any interaction with the machine is via a screen, mouse and keyboard interface, allowing the operator to check errors and monitor the progress of the machine.

The ILAS3000 has a strong software component and is capable of integration with laboratory IT systems (LIMS) as well as contributing data for IIoT reporting. Mechanically, it is capable of being customised to suit a variety of sample vial types.

Numerous international dairy labs currently operate multiple ILAS3000s. The reliability of the machine and the capability to be serviced remotely means that the ILAS3000 is trouble free for operators and lab managers.

Time-frame:

Prototype 6 months, product less than 12 months

Team members contributed:

Frank, Gary, previous staff members

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