Life science, liquid handling
Life science, liquid handling

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.

Application examples

  • Detect Liquids in Pipettes

    High accuracy with minimal space required

    The solution

    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.

    The features

    • Sensor heads with small footprint for space limited applications
    • Precise switch points for high accuracy
    • Focused narrow light beams
    Life science, liquid handling, detecting fluids in pipettes
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  • Level detection in microplates

    Precise level detection regardless of liquid type

    The solution

    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.

    The features

    • Ultrasonic sensors can be used with most liquids
    • Tightly bundled sound field is focused on the area to be measured
    • Blind zone lies within the focusing attachment making the measurement directly in front of the outlet

     

    Life science, liquid handling, contact-free detection of fill levels in microtiter plates
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  • Detecting droplets

    Reliable dispensing without loss of liquid and cross contamination

    The solution

    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.

    The features

    • Detect drops regardless of liquid or color
    • Focused light beam for precise detection
    • Light band sensor for undefined drop orientation
    Life science, liquid handling, detecting drops
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  • Monitor pipette systems

    Positioning and monitoring pipette carriages perfectly in real time

    The solution

    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.

    The features

    • Very accurate, up to ± 7 µm with resolutions down to 1 µm
    • Very fast, speeds up to 20 m/sec
    • Location is always known with absolute output signal
    Life science, liquid handling, monitoring positions of pipetting devices
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  • Accurate noninvasive point level detection

    Reliable level detection through a container wall or sight glass

    The solution

    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.

    The features

    • Industry leading product portfolio and capability
    • Patented hybrid technology ignores foaming, filming and material buildup
    • Indirect or noninvasive sensing provides versatility in mounting
    Life science, liquid handling, precisely measuring levels in containers and bypass tubes
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  • Monitor leakage
  • Bubble and flow detection

    Non-invasive detection of fluids and air pockets in tubes

    The solution

    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.

    The features

    • Utilizes either light refraction or absorption to provide precise water to air transitions
    • Multiple tube diameter sensors, as small as 1.6 mm
    • High repeatability and accuracy
    Life science, liquid handling, monitoring positions of pipetting devices
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  • Detect micro-bubbles

    Precision tube sensors designed to detect free-floating bubbles

    The solution

    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.

    The features

    • Accurately detect free-floating bubbles smaller than 10 µm
    • Patented technology
    Life science, liquid handling, detecting micro-bubbles
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