There are a lot of peripheral devices for pipetting robots and all of them have a few things in common. In this post, I want to list a few of them, without going to much into detail. I know this is a huge field, and there are different ways of looking onto this topic. I`ll try my best…
A shoe box is always better than a moving box. If you need more space, build your device in the height rather than to block the whole worktable.
Size does not matter:
If your device is too big to be inside of a robot anyway, make it reachable for an internal gripping arm. This can be a great help if you don`t want someone to waste money for a separate robotic arm or labware transport.
Most of the time your device will do things inside or outside of your robot, you know. Make sure it`s usable with different labware type like Microtiter Plates from different suppliers (calculate some buffer). Have the device accessible for the transporting arm and make sure the labware is aligned the same way every time the labware gets unloaded from the device.
Make your device easily mountable to the worktable. Once positioned it should not be able to be moved. Millimeters can screw things up in worst-case.
Interface / Software / Firmware / Drivers / Server:
I am not going to write a lot about software because this topic could fill a book I guess. But connectivity is most important at this point. The device must be reachable for the main control software at any time. Nothing makes your day after a connectivity problem which caused unacceptable trouble. SILA is a good invention and soon it is going to be better hopefully. Plug and Play would be great.
And don`t forget the LEDs, as no one will buy your product without these anymore 🙂
A few things besides:
- Cable positioning
- Connection indicators
- Easy servicing
- Parameters tracking
- Who knows more?