CONSULTANCY | PRODUCT DESIGN | MECHANICAL ENGINEERING | SOURCING | PRODUCTION
Tecnic, a manufacturer of laboratory machines, approached Studio Mango with a request to develop a desktop version of their automated pipetting robots from the ground up. Their standard models were intended for large laboratories and had the size of a small house. The Inobot S was intended for smaller laboratories which run fewer tests and have less space.
Besides needing to be smaller, the costs could only be a fraction of the larger pipetting robots and the working prototype needed to be finished within 6 months. To enable meeting the tight deadline and streamlining the co-operation with the PLC programmers of Tecnic three mechanical engineers from Studio Mango were stationed at the client location to work on this project.
The pipetting robot needed to be a small factory which automates the pipetting process and needed to perform the following tasks in high speed:
- Automated dispensing of PetriFilms (paper pertidish from 3M)
- Picking up pipetting tip
- Drawing and dispensing fluids
- Diluting fluids
- Opening up the PertiFilm
- Dispensing microdrop of fluid in Petrifilm
- Dropping of pippette tip in bin
- Closing and pressing Petrifilm to evenly distribute fluid (5 different pressing heads)
- Printing and labelling Petrifilm
- Picking up and storing of Petrifilms in correct trays
All-in all quite a complex machine with many variations of operation for which standard components and mechanisms were either too small or too expensive to be used. For most mechanical moving mechanisms complete new systems were designed and engineered from scratch: double XYZ mechanisms, moving platforms, label printer applicators, etc.
After 6 months of teamwork, engineering and assembly of over 3.500 components, the first PetriFilm pipetting robot came together and with some iterations during the process it worked flawlessly. Adding to this success story Studio Mango’s engineers were able to engineer the Inobot S pipetting robot in such a way that the bill of material cost was 50% lower as specifified by the client at the start of the project.