The carrier opening robot is a highly effective system for receiving, opening, emptying, and transporting carriers to and from the pneumatic tube system. All handling is performed without human interference. The system is dimensioned for approximately 180 carriers per hour.
Incoming tube system will receive the carrier horizontally from the pneumatic tube system. The carrier is fed forward to a position where the carrier is erected to an upright position and the position of the lid is identified. By reading the transponder, which is mounted inside the lid of the carrier, the system will be able to tell if the actual sample is what we call an emergency sample, or not.
The robot will then fetch the carrier and place it against one of the opening stations. The carriers’ contents will be emptied by a brush that will go through the length of the carrier. The samples will be placed on one of three conveyor systems.
The samples will be transported towards a bench where the laboratory personnel can collect the samples in an ergonomically and very comfortable working position. If the sample is an emergency sample, a signalling lamp will be switched on to attract the personnel’s attention.
After emptying the carriers, the robot will move the carrier to a leaving position where both of the carriers’ lids will be shut and the carrier will be transported back to the pneumatic tube system. This conveyor system will also work as a buffer system which is able to store approximately 10 empty carriers, if the system has come to a halt or if there is a queue on the outgoing tube line.
If the robot is in service mode or if any fault has occurred, the carriers will be pushed out on a ramp where they can be collected manually to prevent stops in the system.
The conveyor system is controlled by a Mitsubishi PLC (FX) and the robot by a supplementing standard system. The communication between the post tube system and the PLC controlled system is performed by digital I/O:s.
We have great experience of robot applications with our own portable robots as well as integrated solutions with other manufacturers.
Source: Lamson, the Netherlands