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Fully Automated Ultrasonication Robot for Homogenization of Biomass Samples

Alternative title: Helautomatisert ultrasonisk robot for homogenisering av biologisk prøvemateriale

Awarded: NOK 5.0 mill.

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Project Period:

2022 - 2025

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Probe ultrasonic sonicators are widely used in food, chemical industries and research laboratories for homogenization or disruption of all kinds of biomass samples. Most of the sonicators are still manually handled by skilled technicians as of today. Current robotic solutions are not very attractive to the customers due to the high prices and low automation levels, and much larger market can be reached with a lower cost and more automated solution. The project team has developed a low-cost and fully automated ultrasonication (FABS) robot for sample homogenization. The FABS robot is able to perform more accurate, precise and faster sonication procedure than competing systems. This is due to that it is fully automated and unique in the way it uses machine vision for sample well selection, homogenization quantification and quality control. Further, FABS is much cheaper than competing systems. The project will define the target market segment and the corresponding target product profile (TPP) to guide the development of the FABS robot. The main challenge that needs to be solved is robustness, reliability and versatility of the FABS robot. This application aims to bring the FABS system to a commercial level. This includes improvements in mechatronics and software based on the TPP for the most promising market. We will redesign the hardware parts and electronics, considering versatility, safety, compactness and user friendliness. The system will be designed and tested considering the special environment and the safety requirements in the laboratories. Our two industrial partners Neste Corporation and SINTEF Industry and other potential customers will act as end users to validate the system and to evaluate the extensionality of the FABS system to other commercial-available laboratory robots. This project also aims at developing a realistic go-to-market plan. This includes developing a business model and a commercial strategy based on the TPP.

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