Thermo Scientifics' F5 robot has been developed in conjunction with FANUC Robotics, combining industrial robotic knowhow with the application-driven technology of a traditional Thermo Scientific robot. The robot is an example of technology that has become firmly established within the laboratory environment. Previously, experimental testing that needed to be performed in the drug discovery research lab involved extremely precise, but repetitive, manual handling, mixing and measuring operations. The advent of the robot has ensured these actions are performed consistently while eliminating human error. The F5 features a six-axis design and includes a linear track to service more instrumentation over larger working areas. The robot also integrates servo grippers with grip force control for the precise gripping of all plate types and myriad plate storage and peripheral options. A compact controller, together with integrated lab-oriented software, controls performance and increased speed of movement of any plate type and consumable. The technology benefits from an easy set up with little training needed to improve operational efficiency. "Our collaboration with FANUC Robotics enabled us to improve the way industrial robots are deployed in a laboratory environment and provides many benefits for our customers," said Monette Greenway, president of integrative technologies at Thermo Fisher Scientific. "We're able to provide an exceptional articulated robot that is designed for laboratory automation from a single source, resulting in faster integration and superior long-term performance." The need for precision in scientific experimentation has created an entire new field for robotics and robots produced by Thermo Fisher, PerkinElmer and Beckman-Coulter, have become an essential component to present day experiments. The advance in microcomputers has resulted in robots that feature multi-jointed arms, sophisticated vision and tactile sensors has made laboratory robots essential in hand-eye coordination actions to measure exact quantities of chemicals to one thousands of a millilitre. Scientists can now spend their time on areas that are more important instead of spending hours trying to measure out the exact quantities of reactants, while robots are now entrusted to carry out these precision tasks which are later used to perform complex research experiments. According to figures from the International Federation of Robotics the annual market for industrial robots surged by 30 per cent in 2005, whilst a new ARC Advisory Group study predicts the global robotics market hitting over $5bn by 2010. The F5 articulated robot will be available from 30 April.
Thermo Fisher Scientific aims to make automation in the drug discovery lab a whole lot easier through the development of an articulated robot specifically designed for pharmaceutical applications.