Innomech develops innovative test station for Fluidic Analytics

Automation consultancy GB Innomech Ltd (Innomech) has designed and developed an innovative new test station for Fluidic Analytics – the Cambridge-based protein analysis company – as a labor-saving R&D tool to help process multiple test samples and to ensure product quality.

Innomech has designed and developed an automated test station for Fluidic Analytics to process and analyze up to 96 protein samples in a single run and without any operator involvement. The protein samples ready for testing are in the wells shown above on the left, with the stack of 96 disposable chips on the right.

The new test station which works alongside the company’s Fluidity systems for protein sizing and quantification will be used for on-going R&D studies targeting new protein characterization applications and for product development. It will also be used to improve the efficiency of final performance testing of production units before shipping them to customers.

The new station automates a series of time-consuming and repetitive liquid handling and sample processing steps that are required when analyzing multiple protein samples. The automated system, which is based around a Tecan Cavro Omni Flex liquid-handling robot, is programed to sample a protein solution into a disposable chip before transferring it into a reader. The robot then waits for the analysis to complete before returning the chip to its original location.

“Innomech’s new test station will be invaluable in helping Fluidic Analytics to expand and improve the operational efficiency of its in-house R&D, as well as streamlining final performance testing of our production units. The Innomech team has provided us with excellent design and engineering support for this automation project: they have worked closely to help define our requirements and to advise on the fastest and most cost-effective way of delivering them,” said Andrew Lynn, CEO at Fluidic Analytics.

The automated test station has been designed to process up to 96 protein samples in a single run, without any operator involvement and to ensure sample handling errors are avoided throughout. The system can also run over 24 hours enabling samples to be processed overnight which will help Fluidic Analytics to expand its R&D at minimal cost and to accelerate the development of new chip designs or instrument features for more advanced applications.

The new test station will also be used to process and analyze multiple standard samples to determine instrument performance and as one of a number of final performance checks on production units.

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