Liquid-handling robots are becoming valuable tools for almost any researcher or technician working in a biological or chemical laboratory. Traditional fluid-handling techniques are manual, labor-intensive and time-consuming. They impair productivity, cost-efficiency and throughput. Liquid-handling robots are being used more often because they drastically improve workflows. Moreover, they allow for efficient and repeatable processing.
Two major factors in both the design and programming of a liquid-handling robot are the positions at which the robot needs to stop and the trajectory to move from position to position. A common mistake made by individuals with limited experience in robotics or control theory is fine tuning each of the robot’s axes independently to desired position and speed criteria instead of tuning each axis with respect to the others. Lack of coordination between the axes could result in tainting of samples, as well as costly damage to the equipment. To eliminate these issues, MapleSim, Maplesoft’s system-level multidomain simulation tool, can be used to verify the path of a liquid dispensing robot as it dispenses fluid to a sequence of wells on a microtiter plate.
With MapleSim, an engineer can design an accurate model of the liquid handling system, import the data path in Maple to analyze how accurately the path is being followed and create an animation to visualize and interpret the results.
In the example from the MapleSim Model Gallery
, the analysis shows that the initial tuning of the handler is not calibrated properly. Independently, each axis follows the desired path, but when all paths are to be followed simultaneously, the overall accuracy is not acceptable. Now that the problem has been identified, the controller can be retuned before the robot is used in a live setting, thus avoiding contaminated tests and costly repairs.
Contact Maplesoft to learn how MapleSim can be used in your projects.