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Custom Automation for Imaging of Microtiter Plates

Fraunhofer CMI - Center for Manufacturing Innovation

Fraunhofer CMI | Custom Automation | Automated Loader for Luminescence Imaging
© Fraunhofer CMI.

Custom Automated microtiter plate loading/unloading and logging for luminescent image analysis


A large pharmaceutical company


In the field of drug discovery, assays must be custom automated to achieve the required high throughput analysis for screening new drug candidates. A large pharmaceutical company contracted Fraunhofer CMI to develop custom automation for the loading/unloading, handling, and data logging of microtiter plates into a commercial Luminescent Image Analyzer in order to increase the throughput of their screening assays. In addition, a primary design requirement necessitated a very small footprint to be compatible with the crowded and expensive laboratory environment.

Technical Summary:

The unique custom automation system reduced the number of part "handoffs" thereby increasing reliability while reducing cycle time. The entire load/unload mechanism, including the storage magazine, were all attached to what became a new door on the imaging chamber. Microtiter plates are then picked up from the storage magazine using the integral load/unload mechanism. This mechanism also holds the plate during imaging, similar to a CD / DVD drive, thereby reducing the number of handoffs. The imaging results are logged by the control computer and a bar code reader helps ensure traceability and scheduling of hundreds of samples daily.


  • Capacity for 50 microtiter plates that can be replenished on the fly
  • Changeover time of less than 10 seconds
  • Two removable storage magazines for remote loading
  • Unattended operation
  • Simple retrofit to existing systems
  • Bar code reader reduces errors in identification and data collection
  • No increase in footprint.
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Portrait of Bill Mosolgo

Bill Mosolgo

Business Development

Fraunhofer CMI - Center for Manufacturing Innovation


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