New Rack Mounting Concept for Pipette Tips Increases Productivity
Twelve Shots instead of Six
An innovative removal and buffering concept provides manufacturers of pipette tips and a wide range of other disposable medical products with clear gains in productivity as well as reducing space requirements, according to Hekuma GmbH, Eching, Germany. In 2012 and 2013, the specialist in high-performance automation commissioned two systems for a renowned end customer in the field of medical technology, and combined part removal from 64-cavity injection molds with subsequent mounting of finished part mounting in cavity-specific subgroups in workpiece racks. From removal, via 100 % inline camera controls, and replacement of reject parts with acceptable parts, through to removal in packaged combination racks, the system performance is manifested as high availability and productivity and extremely short cycle times.
In a second generation of units, Hekuma has now succeeded in further developing the removal and mounting concept. Instead of buffering the parts in subgroups according to cavity, the newly developed method provides for a compressed buffering of the removed parts in blocks. The removal gripper of the linear robot is capable of removing the pipette tips, disposed in circles of 8 each, from a 64-cavity mold within 0.4 s. It subsequently passes the tips in two steps to a transfer station. As the transfer station swings down, the 64 tips are packed together and the complete block is mounted in the workpiece holder.
Another advantage is that, due to this form of arrangement, twelve instead of six shots can be mounted on one workpiece holder, allowing the buffer to be doubled in capacity for the same area. Despite this gain, the entire system footprint can be reduced from 106 to 85 m2. Due to the overall more compact configuration of the system components, it was possible, for example, to simplify the quality testing processes, since fewer camera systems, on the whole, can perform the same 100 % quality control.
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