In lab automation, optimized mechatronic solutions play a major role. The requirements that need to be met are high precision and reliability with very limited installation space.
Sensors for the conveyor line
Standardized sensors are mostly used for the conveying path of samples, since the applications are similar to classic automation solutions, only with reduced dimensions. The requirements concerning the sensor technology therefore include a focus on miniaturization.
Inductive sensors are very popular to be used for position monitoring. First, they have a very precise switching behavior, and second, they are easy to integrate into the application. When selecting sensors with an external thread, the user can set up the switching point in an easy manner. Sensors with a smooth housing are usually mounted by using clamping devices.
Sensors for lab equipment
In lab equipment, the space requirement plays an extremely important role. This results in a demand for a compact design of the sensors. Another important criterion when selecting the sensor technology is the high precision of the sensor behavior, also over the entire service life. The selected sensor must have a high functional reserve in the application. In other words: It has to do its job precisely and reliably even with certain disturbance variables.
Miniaturized optoelectronic sensors, which manage the balancing act between standardized production and specialized areas of application, are the “go-to products” for such fields of application.
Typically, modular sensor concepts offer advantages in this field. Engineers combine mechatronic sensor element modules with standardized but flexible and adjustable signal amplifier boxes. It is important that the signal path between the sensor element and the evaluation is robust.
A modular concept consisting of a sensor element and an additional amplifier is also advantageous for capacitive sensors:
This way, the user can select the optimal sensor for the application from a large number, even for extreme requirements such as high temperature, pressure resistance or chemical resistance.
Position measuring and camera systems
Magnetic encoder position measuring systems are very frugal in limited space conditions and therefore easily fit into compact devices:
The mechanical decoupling of the measuring tape and the sensor head enables a simple and wear-free “design-in”.
Magnetic encoder position measuring systems have a very good ratio between the measuring length and the total length of the measuring system.
Camera systems are increasingly used in laboratory automation. For sample analysis they recognize colors in sample liquids and optical scanners identify objects that are marked with barcodes or data matrix codes.
Lab automation has made tremendous technological advances in recent years. The digital transformation will be another growth driver for this topic.