Interesting use of Planar Motors for Dispense

Link to the brief clip in the video

Is this the future of deckless setups? Any other use cases you can imagine? In general, thoughts?

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Really like this. Seems like the best example use of planar dispensing.

The idea of less moving part on a liquid handling arm sounds like really good user case for less maintenance but note sure if you are offsetting maintenance elsewhere.

I also have not figure out whether planar deck saves space or make it more flexible space management, compared to a fixed deck position.

I think planar worktable partially solve parallelisation issues in workflows but makes tip box management more challenging.

It still feels like we still need a moving asp/disp arm and a planar that assembles into something that looks like a fixed deck to make efficient workflows.

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I always wanted to setup this kind of workflow, mixing has always been a blocker.

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not sure if you are offsetting maintenance elsewhere

Good question, I think as a whole it may allow liquid handlers to be constructed so they’re far more plug & play. Less awkward install angles and maybe a lot more maintenance can be performed off deck as the pipette heads/channels become more like modules you can quickly swap.

have not figure out whether planar deck saves space or make it more flexible space management

Yeah there’s actually a lot of dead space on systems now that arms can’t reach. There’s also all kinds of vertical geometries with carriers and labware that we engineers need to configure correctly in order to minimize collisions. This may eliminate a lot of that guess work but also this kind of setup may allow you to expand your deck on a whim. More time focused on building the tools you need to analyze data or proper development.

a moving asp/disp arm and a planar that assembles into something that looks like a fixed deck to make efficient workflows.

Definitely… imagine something like a modified BioTek, DragonFly or a Mantis that can quick dispense but now you have more freedom because the whole table becomes the deck. I think that’s were liquid handlers can evolve a bit since they’re potentially free of some of those constraints.

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This would make mixing super interesting

I like the idea of keeping the dispense heads of a traditional liquid handler static (z-movements only?). Reducing deck traversal / plate handling time could go a long way towards making things faster for established processes.

If you can feed consumables from stackers (like a pez dispenser onto the pucks), and add in a cluster of modified accessory equipment that could accept plates from the pucks (or just the pucks and plates themselves), you’d be able to fit stuff in a pretty compact space.

Lot of cool movement ideas with elevators and small conveyer belts.

Here are a few fun demos on their videos page including my favorite, 4kg of raw meat:


The ONLY way to transfer meat in my book :rofl:

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Does anyone have any information about what the programming environment for these are?

For those specific one’s,

Planar Motor Systems support all major industry standard communication interface, such as
PROFINET RT/IRT, EtherCAT, POWERLINK, and EtherNet/IP. We support all control platforms
whenever possible. Our customers can use the controller hardware/software that they are
most comfortable with, and there is no need to learn or adapt to a new programming

It looks like the controller supports Python but IDK.

This Beckhoff version uses TwinCAT.

There are also similar products from other companies but those are the two main one’s I know of.

That video of the 1 micron and 5 micron moves brings it into perspective. These things are way more useful than just a conveyer system. I didn’t realize they had that sort of accuracy, very impressive.

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If anyone is actually interested Biosero did demo an XPlanar system at SLAS this last year. Pretty cool stuff in my opinion. Excited to see what kind of applications people would like to see with this tech. Among the dispensing head, you can do things like spin/mix on the systems.

Was it only transferring plates from location to location?

I think Xplaner offers a lot of potential. At the heart, yes, it is a transportation mechanism, which can be used like how currently existing hardware can move plates between integrated workcells. I see the technology as having additional flexibility like unique transportation paths, rotation, and unique movements that we have not seen with other transportation mechanisms. I think there are some opportunities to elevate the paradigm of laboratory automation. I am personally working on a few exciting opportunities that really open the door to how Xplaner are used in laboratory automation. I know how ambiguous this statement is, but I am looking forward to what this new product offers to the tool kit in laboratory automation.



I’m looking forward to it!

On that note, I believe the LINQ by Automata uses it to move plates around underneath the table.

The cost must be insane.

Hi Luis,
Not sure of the cost of the LINQ system, but the Xplaner seems to be cost competitive with other widely used Transporation mechanisms on this scale. I am sure it won’t be the right solution for everyone, but I am also excited to see the potential.

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The Automata LINQ benches seem to use a different approach. There is a hidden arm underneath the bench that moves their ‘pucks’ around. It’s a little more limited compared to the XPlaner system as only one plate can be moved at a time (per bench).

Festo presented something like this a couple of decades ago at the old Palm Springs lab automation show:

We made the argument then that it was more sensible to move microplates around than all sorts of fluids, and that a design like this could be much higher throughput than typical desktop instruments. Unfortunately, the design we used was expensive (200K just for the 800mmx800mm plate), cumbersome (each “puck” needs an umbilical with air and power) and lacking any sort of integration software. It generated a lot of interest, but we still have the very awesome demo somewhere in storage in Germany, unsold.

It looks to me like Planar Motor has solved the shortcomings of this system. The pucks need no connections, speed and precision is far beyond most lab application requirements, the base table can be easily cleaned, and the cost, while not cheap, is very realistic. I’ve seen the demo of the software; it is excellent for most motion control applications, and support seems very good. I hope we see more of this in the coming years.


BioSero posted a vid (Link)