Being known as the automation firm that companies come to when others find the task too challenging, Labman was up for the task. “We already had experience working with Universal Robots,” says Rob Hodgson, Instrument Developer Manager, Labman Automation, who started looking into integrating the collaborative robot arms with the Mettler Toledo powder dispensing platform. “We thought we could develop a solution better than those available to our customers.”
The MultiDose solution is designed around a collaborative UR3e robot arm from Universal Robots equipped with the UR+ certified Hand-E gripper from Robotiq, which is combined with the Mettler Toledo XPR powder feeder and Labman’s software for efficient, accurate and reproducible dispensing.
A key part of the system required a collaborative robot arm. Labman looked at a number of different cobots, but chose the UR3e because it had already used it in several other applications, including for an Agrichem company and a major cosmetics company. The cobot makes the system highly flexible, which allows multiple users to operate the system and enables easy integration into an established lab process, without compromising safety. “Having a trusted partner such as Universal Robots helped us shape and finesse the product and ultimately means the MultiDose is the best it can possibly be,” says Ian Riley, Technical Director, Labman Automation. “The Universal Robots arm works out of the box – we trust it entirely as a solution – and the resulting instrument developed is now being used like any other piece of lab equipment, helping our customers get the best out of their lab professionals by freeing them up to use their time more effectively.”
“The combination of the Universal Robots cobot arm and the Mettler Toledo powder dosing system has created an automated dosing platform that hasn’t been matched on the UK pharmaceuticals market and has significantly sped up lab experiments too,” says Matthew Smith, MultiDose Project Lead, Labman Automation.