Custom project

PCR tube reformatter

A high throughput system for reformatting PCR tubes from standard well plates to custom 16 and 32 position magazines.
Labman custom system: Pcr tube reformatter

Key features

SCARA robot armHigh speed high accuracy robot arm
Peltier chillersChilled output trolley for PCR tube temporary storage
Interchangeable consumablesDifferent types of magazines can be loaded with scope for future styles to be added
Barcode readerBarcode reader to check for correct loading of magazines
Tube transfer optimisationAlgorithmic pick and place optimisation for PCR tubes
Image analysisPCR Tube placement quality control check
System layout and accessInnovative system layout to allow for 24/7 robot operation


The Tube Reformatting system is a free standing robot, designed to eliminate a repetitive step in the manufacturing process of PCR test kits. It used 4 separate axis to move full well plates and empty magazines to a transfer area under an Epson SCARA robot arm. The tubes are popped from the well plate and transferred to the magazines using a custom vacuum gripper. The magazines are then moved under a QC camera and machine vision is used to confirm the required positions have been filled. Magazines are then transferred to a conveyor and either deposited into a chilled output trolley or rejected into a chute at the back of the system. Empty well plates are transferred back to the user loading area to be replaced.

To make the system as easy to operate as possible it uses light curtains which remove power from the actuators when a user breaks the curtain. It does however maintain communications to ensure it can be quickly restarted once the next set of samples are loaded. This is combined with the multiple axis to ensure a very high throughput resulting in 64 samples being processed in 7 minutes.



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