Laboratory automation
Laboratory automation

At the core of your processes

Automated laboratory technology for transporting and processing samples in very confined spaces is essential. And it must work in perfect interaction between optical and other sensor technology, miniaturized electronics and precision mechanical components. Progress cannot be stopped in this classic application field of mechatronics. All the more important that Balluff provides you with optimal solutions for a wide range of application in laboratory automation. Whether you want to detect and track objects or focus on efficient liquid handling, our sensors will get you ahead – as important components of automated sample feeding and removal, as well as the dosing of sample material, or analysis liquids.

Application examples

  • Detecting samples

    BOH photoelectric Micromote sensors

    The solution

    Various transparency properties and very small objects place high demands on laboratory automation. Sensor technology must be able to adapt flexibly to applications and be suitable for extremely confined spaces and moving machine elements. This is the case with our photoelectric Micromote sensors. Their modular system, from which you assemble the sensor head and sensor amplifier separately, allows you to choose from a wide range of combination options and, thus, ensures maximum individual design freedom.

    The features

    • Highest precision with transparent objects
    • Automated material flow for optimum throughput
    • Easy sensor integration through miniaturization
    • Select sensor head and sensor amplifier separately
    Detecting samples
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  • Control stack heights

    BCS capacitive sensors

    The solution

    To ensure a fast sample throughput, sufficient racks or microtiter plates must always be available. Our sensors support you by detecting when the buffer stock falls below the required level. Depending on the application, you can use capacitive or optical sensors for this purpose. And their miniaturized designs let you solve tight installation situations.

    The features

    • Reliably detect many different surfaces and materials
    • Also suitable for transparent objects
    • Suitable for many applications thanks to the variety of housing shapes and sizes
    Control stack heights

    Capacitive sensors

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    Micromote Sensors

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  • Detecting sample slides

    BOH photoelectric Micromote sensors

    The solution

    Detecting stacked slides is a challenge due to their transparency and surface variance at the edges. Due to their exact optical beam guidance, our micromote sensors detect the individual slides reliably and precisely.

    The features

    • Reflection effects in the slides are randomly suppressed
    • Simple sensor integration due to miniaturization
    • Exact switching behavior due to extremely small aperture angle of the light beam
    Detecting sample slides
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  • Identifying samples

    BVS SmartCamera identification

    The solution

    Your medical laboratory must ensure 100 % traceability of the individual samples and the individual processes performed. To cope with the increasing number of samples, reduce operating costs and eliminate manual sources of error, these controls can be automated using optical codes or RFID. Our SmartCamera for identification is designed for this purpose and supports a wide range of barcode and 2D code types. And our BIS M RFID system masters even large volumes of data at high transmission speeds.

    The features

    • Unambiguous identification and data assignment
    • Accelerated process flow due to flexible selection of inspection stations
    • Laboratory-specific content on RFID data carriers possible
    Identifying samples

    SmartCamera Identification

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    BIS M HF (13.56 MHz)

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  • Flap and closure monitoring

    BES inductive sensors

    The solution

    Many laboratory devices start processes only after flaps, doors or interlocks are closed. Our inductive sensors take over this reliable flap and lock monitoring. The robust, contactless and wear-free sensors ensure the correct sequence and prevent contamination.

    The features

    • Contactless and therefore wear-free function
    • Precise switching due to inductive sensor principle
    • Also available in miniaturized design, high-temperature resistant and safety-rated designs
    Flap and closure monitoring
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  • Detecting liquids in pipettes

    BOH photoelectric Micromote sensors

    The solution

    To minimize the time liquid remains in the prefill containers, the volume in pipettes is kept as small as possible. Nevertheless, the pipettes must always contain sufficient liquid. Micromote optical sensors can detect, with high precision and a small footprint, whether this requirement is met.

    The features

    • Small footprint
    • Highest accuracy
    • Can be integrated into pipetting robots
    Detecting liquids in pipettes
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  • Contact-free detection of fill levels in microplates

    BUS ultrasonic sensors

    The solution

    Ultrasonic sensors allow you to detect fill levels even when the color of the sample liquid changes – contact-free and extremely precisely. This is because the focusing of the ultrasonic waves ensures that they function even at short distances. And fog, dirt or dust in the environment are no problem for ultrasound.

    The features

    • High precision due to high resolution and small blind zones
    • No contamination, since they operate completely contact-free
    • Especially suitable for narrow containers
    Contact-free detection of  fill levels in microplates

    Ultrasonic sensors with analog output

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    Optics: Diaphragms, filters, lenses, deflectors

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  • Detecting droplets

    BOH photoelectric Micromote sensors

    The solution

    Liquids used in laboratory applications are often only available in small quantities and are usually very expensive. This makes their precise dosing all the more important. Our Micromote optical sensors ensure maximum process reliability. They are extremely precise and fit into the tightest installation spaces, as their electronics are housed in a separate sensor amplifier.

    The features

    • Individual drops can be reliably detected
    • No loss of liquid and no cross-contamination
    • Particularly compact design
    Detecting droplets
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  • Monitoring the positions of pipetting devices

    BML magnetic encoder system

    The solution

    Because they can be integrated without additional hardware and software, our magnetic encoded linear position measuring sensors record position values in real time and transmit them very quickly to the drive control system. They can be integrated without additional hardware or software. They can ensure precise positioning to eliminate cross contamination and liquid loss. Choose between incremental systems with homing or absolute systems for immediate availability of the position value right after switch-on.

    The features

    • Outstanding accuracy even at high speeds
    • Absolute measuring principle – easy to set up and configuration-free
    • Diagnostic LED and extended set-up and diagnostic capabilities
    Monitoring the positions of pipetting devices
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  • Analyzing samples

    BVS industrial cameras

    The solution

    In diagnostic laboratories, samples are examined fully automatically in large quantities using cameras. This leads to fast and reliable throughput. During sample analysis, centrifuging results are evaluated optically, for example based on the color of blood components such as blood plasma and red blood cells. Our industrial cameras detect even the smallest color differences and also detect and check the correct position of the caps.

    The features

    • Reliable detection of the smallest color difference
    • Precise detection of various blood components thanks to high camera resolution
    • Customized adaptation thanks to modular construction
    Analyzing samples
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  • Monitoring centrifuge closure

    BES inductive sensors

    The solution

    To prevent operating errors, it must be ensured that centrifuges are actually closed before the rotating part starts moving. Our inductive mini-sensors monitor the closing mechanism. Rotation can only be started when the lid is cleanly locked.

    The features

    • Inductive measuring principle which is insensitive to contamination
    • Miniaturized M5 design for easy integration, even in narrow centrifuge housing
    • Precise switching behavior reliably detects the locking mechanism
    Monitoring centrifuge closure
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  • Monitoring leakages

    BCS capacitive sensors

    The solution

    Leakages endanger the availability of your machines and plants, their efficiency and the safety of the entire operation. To limit the damage, capacitive leakage sensors monitor puddle formation. Mounted on a spacer, they reliably detect when liquid accumulates on the floor, so you are always on the safe side.

    The features

    • Detect leaks in tanks and in machines at an early stage
    • Practical mounting for correct installation on a wide variety of substrates
    Monitoring leakages
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  • Non-contact level measurement

    BCW self-adhesive capacitive sensor heads

    The solution

    Self-adhesive capacitive sensor heads are suitable for non-contact level measurement on tanks or pipe walls. Since there is no float in the tank, safety for hygienic processes is increased. The separate amplifier allows you to continuously monitor reliable output values – either via an analog output or via IO-Link.

    The features

    • Free to cut (min. 108 mm)
    • Large detection range, up to 850 mm
    • Flexible sensor area
    Non-contact level measurement

    Capacitive sensors with special properties

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    Amplifiers for capacitive sensor heads

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  • Detect bubbles and determine flow rate

    BOH photoelectric Micromote sensors

    The solution

    Do you want to control your plant down to the last angle? Very fine light beams enable you to make highly precise measurements even in thin pipes and tubes. Our photoelectric Micromote sensors use common physics effects for this purpose. Depending on light refraction and attenuation, liquid quantities and conditions can be determined indirectly and the correct dosing volumes can be determined. Simply clamp on the sensor and the signal can be evaluated with a suitable standard amplifier or your own evaluation electronics.

    The features

    • Can be installed in tubes and thin pipes
    • Prevents the waste of expensive liquids
    • Available for all common tube sizes
    Detect bubbles and determine flow rate
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  • Detect microbubbles

    BOH photoelectric Micromote sensors

    The solution

    Optical Micromote sensors can even detect microbubbles in liquids. And they do so more economically than ultrasonic sensors. They can be optimally adapted to life science applications by optimal selection of the light wavelength and suitable arrangement of transmitting and receiving optics. Our modular principle consisting of various sensor elements and a selection of signal amplifiers makes it possible to implement solutions perfectly tailored to your specific needs.

    The features

    • High-precision microbubble detection
    • Developed for life science applications
    Detect microbubbles
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