Automated Imaging of Microtiter Plates
Fraunhofer Life Sciences Engineering Group
- © 2006 Fraunhofer CMI.
Fast, automated microtiter plate loading for luminescent image analysis
In the field of drug discovery, assays must be automated to achieve the required high throughput analysis for screening new drug candidates. A large pharmaceutical company was interested in automating the loading of microtiter plates into a Luminescent Image Analyzer to increase the throughput of their screening assays. In addition, the design was required to have a small footprint to be compatible with the crowded laboratory environment.
The unique system reduces the number of part "handoffs" thereby reducing cycle time and dimensional foot print. The entire load / unload mechanism including the magazine are all attached to what became a new door on the imaging chamber. The load / unload mechanism is attached to the inside of the door. Microtiter plates are then picked from the queue using an arm / gripper assembly that actually holds the plate during imaging (like a CD / DVD load mechanism). Servo motors and pneumatics were utilized to reduce overall system cost. A bar code reader helps ensure traceability and scheduling of hundreds of samples daily.
- Capacity for 50 microtiter plates to be replenished on the fly
- Changeover time of less than 10 seconds
- Two removable cassettes for remote loading
- Unattended operation
- Simple retrofit to existing systems
- Bar code reader reduces errors in identification and data collection