The fully automated laboratory is reality: liquid handling with Andrew Alliance

Pipetting is one of the most monotonous tasks in research laboratories, so it makes sense to automate these processes. Andrew Alliance SA is a leading innovator in this specialist field and is breaking new ground with articulated robots.

The story that leads to the Swiss high-tech company Andrew Alliance SA actually goes back to the 19th century when the French chemist and pioneering microbiologist Louis Pasteur invented one of the first pipettes for transferring liquids. Even so, the potentially dangerous practice of mouth pipetting was still widely used until well into the 20th century. Luckily for laboratory staff, this was eventually replaced by bulb pipettes and their basic function has hardly changed since then.

Automated pipetting

However, a quantum leap in the handling of pipettes has occurred in recent years. Robots were introduced to research laboratories of the life science industry and the automation of liquid handling began. If a lab technician can manually process around 60 samples per week, a robot can handle up to 7,400 samples in the same time.

Success with articulated robots and unique software

Andrew Alliance is an innovator in laboratory automation and, unlike most competitors, uses articulated-arm robots with a concept derived from human ergonomics. The automation specialist produces systems for serial dilution, filling microwell plates and transferring liquids into reaction vessels. The handling, analysis and evaluation of the samples is fully automated.

Knickarm Roboter
Precision and efficiency thanks to THK cross roller bearings.
Andrew Alliance
Julien Pache, Production Manager

Unique user friendliness

The robots are controlled by the OneRobot software developed by Andrew Alliance for efficiently creating and executing laboratory protocols. The cloud-based software is extremely user-friendly and has a connected environment concept that allows almost unrestricted network connection to other laboratory tools via Bluetooth® or WiFi.

Hardware excellence with Bachofen

The software is the brain of the Andrew Alliance systems. But the precision and efficiency of the processes also depend to a great degree on the physical elements. Only the most reliable, cost-effective and environmentally sound components are good enough for the company’s designers. These include the THK linear guides and THK cross roller bearings from Bachofen. «Choosing the right supplier is crucial for achieving our goals in terms of quantity and quality,» explains production manager Julien Pache. He values the Bachofen team’s constant availability and its quick and uncomplicated response when production issues arise. «Bachofen provides expert support in finding solutions and is absolutely committed to preventing delivery bottlenecks.»

With constant software updates inspired by customer feedback and high quality standards, Andrew Alliance will continue to set milestones in automated pipetting in future. Louis Pasteur would have loved it.