Custom project

The collaborative formulator

An open, collaborative platform designed to intuitively formulate coloured products.
Labman custom system: The collaborative formulator

Key features

Smart consumable loadingAutomatic detection of what has been loaded onto the platform bed using advanced object detection and NFC technology.
CappingSecure capping before DAC mixing, with inbuilt detection for defective caps.
Data managementBarcode scanning and automatic transfer of data to LIMS.
Automatic material calibrationQuickly load up to eight separate dispensers. Dispense parameters are automatically calibrated and adapted during a run.
MixingHomogenous mixing in a Dual Asymmetric Centrifuge (DAC).
Easy-to-operateQuick login using NFC and secure access codes, easy-to-operate touchscreen with an intuitive user interface.
Adaptive liquid dispensingAdvanced dispense algorithms with integrated steps for fast, clean, accurate dispensing.
Image analysisAutomatic robot position validation and adjustment.
CollaborativeRobot arm slowdown and pause for safe interaction and live, in-run vial transfer. Colour rings for quick glance awareness of vial status.

Overview

A fully collaborative platform that is designed to work alongside operators to formulate coloured products from up to 8 liquid dispensers. The platform consists of an unenclosed workstation fitted with a collaborative robotic arm (cobot). It has capacity for 60 formulation pots, which are loaded into ‘smart racks’ developed by Labman. The rack positions automatically identify and display the status of each pot. The caps are loaded into two removable stacks. A material cartridge is loaded into a dispenser using a quick release connector. The dispensers are easily loaded onto the platform and automatically engaged. An NFC label, that is applied onto the cartridge, is read and the material is identified by the platform. A software algorithm is used to automatically calibrate the dispense parameters for each material. The materials are gravimetrically dispensed. Once all materials have been dispensed, the pot is securely capped and automatically placed into a Dual Asymmetric Centrifuge (DAC) to homogenously mix the product.

While the platform is running, pots may be removed or added to the platform. The platform is controlled from an easy-to-use touchscreen with an intuitive, custom user interface. Run data is automatically uploaded to a Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS). Safety force limits and height constraints on the collaborative arm, paired with SICK safety scanners that are installed underneath the platform, ensure safe working between the user and the machine. Image analysis is used to; automatically check and adjust the robot positions and identify consumables around the platform.

“As a service/maintenance engineer myself, I know what I should expect and you guys go above and beyond my expectations. This gives me a sense of security, knowing when a problem occurs and I get stuck, I can contact you immediately. With great team work and communication a solution is never far away. Our uptimes remain high and is a bonus to our business.”
— Tony CravenGroup Operations Manager
a glass bottle full of milk next to a glass full of milk sitting on a wooden table next to a linen cloth

Images

Person wearing white lab coat and blue glove is working on the collaborative formulator
Close-up of the collaborative formulator screen showing software
Man wearing a lab coat loading vials into Collaborative formulator
Collaborative Formulator smart rack with vials in
Man wearing lab coat and blue gloves standing at collaborative formulator loading vials into the rack
Vial caps being stored
Smart rack on collaborative formulator showing blue lights where there are no vials and green lights where a vial is placed
Robot arm
Collaborative Formulator smart rack with vials in
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