Safely, reliably detect liquids in lab automation
Safe and secure handling of liquids is of utmost importance in laboratory automation. When dealing with a wide variety of liquids, dependability of knowing if the liquid is present and is being processed at the right time is critical to laboratory efficiency. Balluff offers expertise in precisely detecting minute volumes of liquids in pipettes, well plates and even when detecting droplets. With patented sensing technologies, liquids and even micro-bubbles can be reliably, accurately, and repeatedly detected.
Applications to verify proper liquid level in the pipette tip or the dispensing of liquid or that the tip is in the correct position requires a narrow focused light beam in a small housing. Balluff's micro-optic MICROmote photoelectric sensors can easily solve these critical applications. With sensing heads as small as 2mm and "wired fibers" with no minimum bending radius these miniature sensors can easily fit in the smallest of spaces. The remote amplifiers have multiple teach options that can solve the most difficult applications and a variety of outputs that makes integration into control systems quick and easy.
Detecting liquid levels in small containers, especially wells in a microwell plate, can be a daunting task since they must be sensed from above. Clear liquids cannot be sensed with photoelectrics because the light beam will pass through the surface to the bottom of the well. Balluff's miniature block style ultrasonic sensors with a focusing attachment can sense levels through openings as small as 5mm making this sensor the ideal solution. These sensors are extremely versatile, operate independently of color and surface finish, and are not affected by transparent surfaces.
Ensuring that dosing has completed before moving to the next row of wells in a microplate is extremely critical to prevent possible cross contamination. Detection of individual drops from pipettes is possible with Balluff's line of MICROmote micro-optic photoelectric sensors. These sensors can detect a drop of liquid regardless of liquid type or color. Sensing heads are available with beam widths to detect drops within a defined area. In addition, MICROmote light band sensors are available when the defined drop orientation is unknown. The remote amplifiers provide easy setup to teach the sensor to detect liquid droplets.
Positioning of a pipette carriage is extremely critical when pipettes are dispensing liquids into a microplate with as many as 1,536 wells. Balluff's magnetically coded position and angle measurement systems can ensure precise positioning to eliminate possible cross contamination and liquid loss. Available in either linear or rotary configurations, the sensing tape and head are incredibly compact providing versatility in mounting. In addition, output signals are available as either incremental or absolute supporting high dynamic position or angle measurement tasks in real-time systems.
Lab Automation equipment uses different reagents for sample processing and instrument cleaning throughout the various processes. The bottles are interchangeable with unpredictable changing liquid compositions. Cross contamination between reagents must be minimized, which prevents the use of a measurement solution that is in direct contact with the reagents. Balluff's industry leading portfolio of capacitive sensors consistently and reliably detects liquid levels either through the container wall or through a sight glass. In addition, with Balluff's patented hybrid capacitive technology foaming and filming of conductive liquids are ignored.
Spills and leaks of reagents and other liquids are easily detected with Balluff's line of capacitive sensors using standard capacitive technology. Recently redesigned block style capacitive sensors with integral mounting bracket make detecting leaks easy and simple. Many other housing styles are available that will provide other mounting options to quickly detect minute leaks. These sensors are available with either potentiometer or remote teach capabilities for quick easy setup.
Bubble or air-in-line detection is a challenge for lab automation that is easily solved with Balluff's cutting edge technology in micro-optic photoelectric MICROmote sensors. In this type of application it is critical to know whether or not liquid is flowing to ensure safe and proper function in liquid handling processes. Factors that need to be taken into account include tube diameters, tube transparency, types of liquids, and liquid transparency. Balluff's bubble detection sensors were developed with high precision optical components that create a uniform pin-point light distribution through the tube.
Detection of micro-bubbles or free-floating bubbles is critical in lab automation processes. Balluff's micro-optic MICROmote sensors utilize patented technology to solve these difficult applications. These sensors can detect bubbles smaller than the tubes inner diameter, smaller than 10 µm in diameter in capillary tubes, bubbles that are smaller than the human eye can see. The sensor can detect micro-bubbles as they enter a uniform illumination created by a concentrated arrangement of multiple light beams. Couple these sensing heads with remote amplifiers with multiple output options and easy setup to form a reliable detection sensor.