Lynx Platform Technology 2016-11-21T17:53:17+00:00

Dynamic Devices SM Solid Mandrel Tip Loading

96VVP solid mandrels nice shot w blue lighting_KBK9018 crop

ELIMINATING WEAR & SERVICE PARTS…

Dynamic Devices offers CLEAR disposable tips for use with the Lynx Liquid Handling Robotic Platform.  The Lynx uses a new SM, Solid Mandrel, tip load system with solid stainless steel tip adapters eliminating any service/wear parts, like O-rings.  With the sturdy frame design of the Lynx, SM tip loading across the entire deck is realized.  Therefore, we now deliver tips in their own stand alone SBS microplate footprint automation LYNX BLUE box to fit in any microplate locator on our decks eliminating dedicated racks that continually need to swapped out for each method.

With the implementation of our award winning Volume Verified Pipetting (VVP) technology it is now possible to liquid level sense with clear tips in our 96 VVP Head, f8 and i8 Independent Spreadable Tip Arm. With 1250, 1000, 300, 200, new 50 and 10 µL size robotic disposable tips, it is now possible to optimize and record every liquid aspirate/dispense liquid transfer.

With the Lynx SM (Solid Mandrel) tip attachment technology, it is possible to share the same tips across every 96 channel or 8 tip pipetting head that we offer. Whether the 96 VVP Head, our 96 Standard Heads (LV/SV/HV) or our f8 Fixed-8 VVP 8 Tip Arm; the same CLEAR disposable tips are used.

No longer is it necessary for ploy-carbonate black tips to detect liquid levels in tubes or plates. It is now possible to detect liquid levels in both tubes and plates using CLEAR tips and our VVP technology. By using our VVP flow sensors, we can lightly expel air until the flow stops by hitting the liquid meniscus. Bubbles and foam are now accommodated for by the increased flow rate of the air over an actual liquid meniscus, no more false liquid levels.

Dynamic Devices Solid Cabinet Design

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BUILT LIKE A TANK…

We built the sturdy frame design of the Lynx to be able to load 384 format tips in any standard location across the deck using solid steel mandrels.  By eliminating the need for tip loading/crushing on deck devices and the time consuming steps of loading and un-load the tip attachment modules, the Lynx out performs most liquid handling platforms on the market.

Now that the Lynx has the ability to load 384 format tips, it is now realized that the 8 and 96 format tips may also be loaded with solid steel mandrels placing the wear part in the disposable eliminating the need to change out wear parts, like O-rings, every 3 or 6 months.  This eliminates the main wear part that continually needs to be maintained and services also reducing service costs.

The solid frame design also performs double functions by giving the frame rigidity leading to accurate positioning taking full advantage on the linear motor 10 micron accuracy.

Dynamic Devices Warp Series Motion Controller

Motion controller angle view_KBK9117 crop

MOVING AT WARP SPEED…

Warp3 Servo Controller
The Warp3 Servo System is a state-of-the-art motion control package that was designed primarily for the OEM instrument developer with reliability, modularity and flexibility in mind. The integrated package provides full & flexible control of both rotary and linear brushless motors for any motion control application. The system also includes extensive I/O capabilities for the control of options & peripherals to further advance application versatility. The adaptable system allows almost any front-end communication interface to be used and converted to the full duplex system utilized by the controllers. 15 axes of motion can be networked together on a single front-end interface, at which point a second interface can be utilized to control more axes. The powerful Warp3-Servo system has been implemented into all of the current Dynamic Devices products to provide the consistency and sophisticated features demanded by the laboratory automation market. This standardization greatly improves our capability to provide product reliability and effective end user service & support.

Magnetic Linear Motor Technology

linear motor track showing dual drive_KBK9010

Linear Motors

The Advantages of Linear Motors:

The main advantage of any linear motor is that it totally eliminates
the need, cost and limitations of mechanical rotation-to-translation
mechanisms such as racks and pinions or belts and pulley, sources
of elasticity and backlash. This way the complexity of the mechanical
system is drastically reduced.

High Speeds: The maximum speed of a linear motor is limited only by the bus voltage and the speed of the control electronics. Typical speeds for linear motors are 3 meters per second with 1 micron resolution and over 5 meters per second, 200ips, with coarser resolution.

High Precision: The accuracy, resolution, and repeatability of a linear motor driven device is controlled by the feed back device. With the wide range of linear feedback devices available, resolution and accuracy are primarily limited to budget and control system bandwidth.

Fast Response: The response rate of a linear motor driven device can be over 100 times that of a mechanical transmission. This means faster accelerations and settling times, thus more throughput.

Stiffness: Because there is no mechanical linkage, increasing the stiffness is simply a matter of gain and current. The spring rate of a linear motor driven system can be many times that of a ball screw driven device. However it must be noted that this is limited by the motors peak force, the current available and the resolution of the feedback.

Zero Backlash: Without mechanical transmission components, there is no backlash. Resolution considerations do exist. That is, the linear motor must be displaced by 1 feedback count before it will begin to correct its position.

Maintenance Free Operation: Because the linear motors of today have no contacting parts there is no wear.

In The Past:
In most liquid handling robots available on the market today, servo motors with belts are the primary drive systems used to move pipetting and gripper arms within the platform. Usually these types of drive systems were developed in-house between 10 and 20 years ago using fully custom PCB boards and custom firmware to drive each axis. With this kind of system configuration, each arm with each axis needs to continually be initialized to find a ‘home’ position and then counts ‘steps’ from this position. When a collision or enough movements are realized, the system needs to physically go back ‘home’ to reset the positioning calibrations or the system starts to ‘drift.’ If a collision or ‘step loss’ should happen during a run, the entire run must be aborted, all the plate in process must be trashed, the system needs to be completely be cleaned out and the entire run needs to be re-setup to start from the beginning again because the arms will need a complete re-initialization which cannot be accomplished while a method is running.

Dynamic Devices Today:
With the advances in the semiconductor industry, robotics standardization has progressed to a point where industry standard motion controllers may now be used instead of custom developed PCB boards running custom firmware. These motion controllers carry all the knowledge to run motors and years of firmware are no longer needed for basic motor control. Even customizing movements on-the-fly is now available without full software re-validation. Combine these industry standard motion controllers with new magnetic drive linear motors with absolute encoding and a highly accurate and easy to program system is realized.

Why isn’t everyone implementing these types of systems: cost. With these robotic control systems having manufacturing costs 4-10 times that of an in-house developed drive system it is difficult for most companies to implement higher manufacturing cost structures while maintaining expensive R&D departments.

The Ability to ‘press’ CONTINUE …

With the ever increasing usage of laboratory robotics, the ability to recuperate from a ‘crash’ is key. In this engineering video, we have removed the covers from a LM Series (Linear Motor) for easy access to the robotic pipetting head to show the ease of arm recovery.

Have you ever misplaced a tip rack? Forgot to fill reservoirs? Placed a deepwell where a microplate should have been? Lost communications with a peripheral device? All these operator or communication errors lead to system crashes. How does your system handle positional errors?

Dynamic Devices:
With our dramatic cost savings in R&D for robotic systems development from ‘day one’ of the company, we can implement the latest technology with the higher manufacturing cost and still be competitive in the life science robotic market. The LM Series (Linear Motor) liquid handlers represent the state-of-the-art electronics and motion control giving each axis the ability of ‘absolute encoding’ so that each axis always know where it is at any time, even during and error or complete crash. By just removing or correcting the error, the system may be re-started without complete re-initialization.
Review:

Save time and money in R&D allows the implementation of the latest technology.
The latest technology usually corrects for the problems of the past.
The latest technology allows for advances within the platform… watch for our new VISION system implementation.
Allow for re-starts after what was considered a ‘fatal’ error.
Allow for re-starts after peripherals loose communications.
Allow the customer to create ‘custom’ movements without compete software re-validation (used to be required when changed firmware commands.)
Allow customers to ‘talk’ to the systems right down to to motion controller using standard software like C# (C Sharp) or Visual Basic.
Engineering Video – Demonstration of the ability to press “CONTINUE”
** Do not try this – we never recommend anyone interfere with a working robot. **

Again, this was an engineering video and not meant to be tried in your laboratory. Please operate every robotic system safely using good laboratory practices.

Linear Motors Complement Today’s Linear Motion Technologies

Today’s linear motion applications are more demanding than ever before. Faster throughput, more exact positioning, longer life, less maintenance, fewer moving parts, the list is never ending. Motion control companies strive to meet and exceed these requirements by continual technological advancement. Less than a decade ago, it was a difficult task to find a commercially available linear bearing that could travel 5 meters per second with straightness, load capacity and stiffness. Today there are many linear bearings with these attributes and they are fairly cost effective.

Advancements in linear encoder technology allow higher speed operation too. Today’s linear encoders and other devices are able to meet this challenge, are less noise susceptible, and cost less.
The Linear Motor Concept

The idea is simple enough. Take a conventional rotary servo motor and unwrap it. So now what was the stator is now a forcer and the rotor becomes a coil or magnet rail. With this design, the load is connected directly to the motor. Direct linear motion is achieved without any rotary to linear transmission devices. Linear motor technology is not new. Step motor and brushed linear motor products have been available for quite some time. Brushless technology is becoming increasingly popular as applications take advantage of its technology. Brushed linear had the coils in the linear rail and the magnets were in the forcer. Commutation was accomplished by a linear commutation bar that ran the length of the motor with brushes in the forcer. This method was both expensive and limited. The cost of winding feet after feet of linear motor rail was time and material intensive. High speed operation was limited due to commutation bar and brushes. Linear step motors have both windings and permanent magnets within the forcer. It travels along a rail having an etched tooth structure. While maintaining the step motor advantage of open loop operation, the technology does have some limitation in speed and available force.

With brushless servo motor technology and the supporting electronics to drive them, the above limitations have been eliminated. The forcer is now a set of windings while the stator is a rail of magnets. Commutation is done electronically either by Halleffect sensors or sinusoidal. Hall effect sensors located within the forcer are activated by the magnets on the rail. The amplifier translates these signals into appropriate phase currents. Sine commutation is accomplished using the linear encoder signals back to the controller. A common technique is the use of Hall-effect initially and then switching to sinusoidal commutation. In any case, the speed of commutation is not the limiting factor.

The force generated by the same size motor is greater than brush motor technology due to improved magnet materials.

Reference:
Jack Barret, Tim Hamed, Jim Monnich. Linear Motion Basics. Parker Hannifin Corporation. 1 July 2009. <http://www.parkermotion.com/whitepages/linearmotorarticle.pdf>.
David Kaiser. Fundamentals of Servo Motion Control. Parker Compumotor. 1 July 2009 <http://www.parkermotion.com/whitepages/ServoFundamentals.pdf>.

Motion Control & Controllers

Motion Control

From our history, we had worked with and evaluated several Linear Motor technologies before standardizing on the system we utilized today in the Oasis & NanoPrint products. This linear motor system is a modular and flexible system that is portable to new developments and various configurations. It also is especially cost effective for multi arm systems. Our past experiences encompass a wide use of other standard hardware & electronics technologies including several commercially available stepper & servo systems when this technology accomplishes the specific tasks at hand.

Currently, we offer the most advanced and industry standard motion controllers offering our OEM customer base, giving them the ability to rapidly develop new systems without the cumbersome antiquated processes of multiple board design and firmware development. Also, as new technologies become more widely available, quick implementation into standard products is possible.

Rapid Prototyping

With this ‘latest technology’ engineering mindset, it is possible to mix and match any of our base systems, arms, pipetting heads, gripping tools and components to assemble a new configuration and have it up and running in our standard software in a mater of days. The base system combination of motion controllers and linear drive systems do not require firmware as other automation instruments contain and therefore can be scaled and sized with no adverse effects as a pulley and belt system. This makes it possible to design the instrument to the exact size of the customer or OEM requirement, whether if be to fit in the smallest space possible, to fit into a biologic / chemical hood or even a need to be free standing with its own integration cabinet. Once the deck layout and workflow are defined, the size of the instrument can be optimized and made as compact as possible. Each pipetting and/or gripping tool options can then be added onto arms and system programming can begin. With our standard Method Manager software package make the development of complex methods easy and fast allowing users to immediately start programming even a custom configured platform.

Electronic Board Design

Examples range from challenging tasks such as the WARP1 – Servo development to simpler designs such as a wash station control board. Most recently we have completed a project to develop a Universal Accessory Board (UAB) to standardize a control board for all of our electronic accessories across all of our instrument series. This will allow us to utilize a single USB communication board by only changing the programming of the on-board microprocessor specific to each accessory function. Typically the initial board design is completed and tested in house before a board shop is identified for long term production.

Laboratory Robotics
Robotic Arm Integration

Based on the last 15 years of offering services in the integrated systems market, we have worked with many different robotic arms & types as well as their software architectures for implementation. In addition, we have developed many robotic arm accessories such as gripper systems, storage units, carousels and de-lidding stations to complete the total application solutions delivered as our end product. Perhaps, more significant is the software architecture, drivers and tools that we assembled to implement a large list of non-compatible third party devices into cohesive systems.

Conveyor Technology

The conveyor technology utilized in the Quick Deck product line is a modular and flexible system that can be easily modified to handle any combination of laboratory disposables. It is a bi-directional system that can support the transport of a single micro plate directly without the use of tray or machined part. Alternatively, it can be utilized to transport any batch size of disposables that is desired.

The friction based power roller system is superior to other technologies previously applied to laboratory automation as it allows one item to be gently held on the conveyor without excessive vibration while others are transported. Another important feature is the capability to pass disposables from one Quick Deck section to another while spanning an opening. This allows disposables or cassettes to be passed from one instrument to another without any physical connection of the instruments. The length of the Quick Deck module is flexible to fit the application, but a set of specific lengths are more desirable based on the availability of standard belt lengths to power the rollers.

Elevator Technology

The elevator technology utilized in the T-Rx System is portable to other configurations or applications where a vertical storage system is desired. The bi-directional capability allows for greater versatility allowing the module to be an in-line system instead of only an end point. This alone provides the capability for unlimited connection to additional instruments within the line by simply adding an additional elevator module. Furthermore, this allows for the dual sided storage doubling the capacity for each elevator module within the automation line.