ID: 2012

Customized automation for laboratory applications

Festo is developing intelligent, tested subsystems for sample preparation in the Life Sciences field

The pressure on laboratories to process more and more samples in less time is growing, and so is the demand for automation solutions. When requests coming up to develop automated solutions based on customized concepts, system manufacturers can rely on Festo’s extensive expertise in automation right from the start of a project.
This expertise is reflected in the newly developed intelligent subsystems for automated sample preparation.


The degree of automation required by laboratories and laboratory applications differs greatly. With concepts from Festo, manufacturers can adapt their solutions flexibly and gradually to these requirements – from automating an individual process step to linking complex individual processes.


Collaborative engineering

System manufacturers are familiar with their customers' applications and processes. And Festo is the expert when it comes to automating these applications, both in liquid and in sample handling.


In line with the principle of collaborative engineering, Festo uses its experience gained in many Life Sciences projects to respond individually to the specific issues of the task in hand, right from the development of a concept. It also integrates components and devices from third-party manufacturers in order to achieve the best possible solution. This results in intelligent, tested subsystems with perfectly matching components and clear interfaces which can be quickly and seamlessly added to the solution. This expertise is reflected in the newly developed display model for automated sample preparation. The innovative concept was presented for the first time at the Medica in Düsseldorf, Germany, in November 2016.


Quick, precise and intelligent

The latest development from Festo demonstrates how intelligent, automated subsystems can help prepare samples quickly and precisely. All the process steps, from identifying the sample carriers to opening and closing the sample tubes and adding different liquids to microplates, are automated and linked in a very compact space.


The solutions for these intelligent subsystems are based on Festo components. For example, the handling system EXCM and the dispense head VTOE distribute a buffer solution. Components from external manufacturers are also used: a single-channel pipetting system pipettes the samples from the sample tubes into the wells of the microplate. An eight-channel pipetting system produces a serial dilution across the plate and a robot equipped with special gripper fingers transfers the microplates from module to module. The overall control of all subsystems is handled by the intelligent controller CECC-X from Festo.


Can be used immediately and open for the laboratory of the future

The intelligent, tested subsystems from Festo have already been designed to meet the requirements of tomorrow's Smart Lab (Laboratory 4.0). As plug-and-work solutions, they can be parameterised individually while standardised interfaces enable data to be easily exchanged and updated.