Lab work is a delicate job, but robots are proving that they have the gentle touch that’s needed. From sorting to cell culturing, automation helps satisfy the demanding nature of developing medical work. Robotics Online’s contributing editor Bennett Brumson explores the recent trends in various industries that require lab work and how robots are meeting the challenge.
Robots in the Lab
by Bennett Brumson
Henry Loos, Application Engineer with Applied Robotics Inc. (Glenville, New York) says “Laboratory, life science and pharmaceutical robots perform many mundane and error-prone tacks such as mixing, picking, placing and sampling. More importantly, robots perform tasks in environments hazardous to humans, either biologically or pharmacologically.”
Error-proofing is also on the mind of Stäubli’s David Arceneaux, who says, “Humans can make mistakes. Taking the human element out of the equation and utilizing robotic automation is a viable solution” to preventing errors in medical device and pharmaceutical production.
The inherent flexibility of robotics lends itself to pharmaceutical, biomedical and life science applications, says, Joseph Fox, Vice President of Marketing and Sales at Systematix Inc. (Waterloo, Ontario, Canada).
“Flexibility, the ability to use capital over again for different kinds of elements in a product family or different products all together, is the biggest trend in laboratory, pharmaceutical and life science applications. In the next three years, the robotics industry will build on that flexibility,” says Fox. “Flexible systems are the norm not the exception in life sciences, pharmaceutical, biomedical applications. The ability to reuse capital equipment has become much more important. Manufacturing costs in the life sciences business are more focused on mutual manufacturing activity.”
Flexibility of capital equipment has become vital in the life sciences industry, Fox says. “Flexibility is necessary, especially in medical device manufacturing because those devices have become more complicated, smaller and utilize very sophisticated materials that have very precise requirements. The industry continually drives towards flexibility, to spread costs of robots over many different kinds of products.”
Read the full article at Robotics Online. What other extra-care-required applications do you see robotics growing into?