A robot arm in life science

A state-of-the-art Life Science company asked Actemium to help reduce the pressure of work on its laboratory assistants using collaborative robotics.

The challenge and the solution

The lab assistants’ task consisted of manually filling PET flasks with test media, followed by weighing the flasks and closing them with a specific screw cap.

Actemium improved and automated the filling and weighing process with the introduction of a flexible robot arm, so the assistance of the operator is now limited to the supply of empty flasks and their removal following filling. This robot solution minimises the risk of contamination between the operator and the media and reduces the probability of human error.

The production environment is extremely rigorous, hygienic and dynamic (with an LAF table in use) while there is a high level of interaction between the robot and the operators. Safety, technological complexity and a tight design were therefore all demanding features of this project.
The system was also programmed to deliver long-term logging of order parameters.

The robot

The project consists of a 6-axis robot with a carefully positioned filler needle to maximise flow and two clever screw motors capable of automatically opening and closing the caps with the required torque. All parameters are automatically recorded with an audit trail on a digitalisation and recipe platform  in compliance with FDA and GMP standards.

Together we built up a robot cell with a range of tasks:

  • Unscrewing caps from a wide range of types and sizes of PET flasks;
  • Filling the flasks with fertility fluids of different densities and volumes using a peristaltic pump;
  • Closing the flasks with verified caps;
  • Weighing the filled flasks using highly accurate scales.