Sunday, May 8, 2011

Tuneups and a small (but important) improvement

The observant readers of the blog would have notice that conspicuous pink block of hard foam showed up at some point. We used it to stabilize the handoff position of the incubator. The problem was that the incubator is shaking (to aerate the plates inside). These vibrations are then transferred to the attached rail. Since that rail is long, it amplifies the vibrations, leading to unstable pickup by the robotic arm.

Sticking a block of foam beneath the rail damped the vibrations. However, the good people at Neotec, where not happy with it as a long term solution. So today they replaced it with a proper support, that is both sturdy and professional.

More than that, Yoram and Moshe also realigned the "LiHa" arm that has individual pipettes. We have been using the four fixed pipettes a lot, but haven't used the four disposable ones that much. These were haven't been properly tuned yet, and now that we started working with 384 well plates this has become an issue.

It turned out that this tuneup required disassembling part of the fixed tips. Aligning the disposable ones, and then realigning the fixed ones relative to the alignment of the disposable ones. 

The alignment involved a special pin that replaces the tip and has to align to a specific point on the work table.

Once the head is aligned, the actual tips are aligned to be straight down. This requires examining from all possible angles and adjusting the small screws at their base.

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