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Modular robot system automates research tasks

The cartesian robot has a suction cup manipulator to move small parts, a high resolution digital camera to detect flies or openings in the modules and a custom made fly suction cup to pick up and deposit individual flies.

  • What was needed?: precise and automated sorting of fruit flies for research purposes
  • Requirements: precision in sorting, elimination of external lubricants, flexibility of the modules to perform various tests and research tasks
  • Material: drylin® linear guides and customer-specific miniature SLN linear axes for the three up and down axes of the robot, bearing blocks, energy chains 
  • Industry: pharmaceutical industry
  • Success for the customer: modular robot system enables various research tasks and automates tedious manual work during experiments

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Go to the sorting machine:

The MAPLE-PRO robot system from Flysorter automates the sorting of fruit flies for use in research laboratories. In this process, the animals are sucked in between the modules by a suction robot and sorted. Here the company relies on modular automation components from igus. Due to the modular design of the robot system, a variety of tasks can be performed in fruit fly research: behavioural tests, genetic analyses, testing various drug compounds or pesticides for their efficacy, collecting and separating newly hatched flies before mating, and much more.

Maple-Pro robot

The problem

For research in genetics, development, neuroscience, diseases etc., the fruit fly is one of the most popular model organisms with its small size and easy maintenance. Over 75% of human diseases with a genetic basis alone have an analogue in the fly. There are thousands of fly laboratories around the world, yet much of the research work is tedious and expensive manual work. The demand to automate such manual work and save time and costs is very high.
The company Flysorter, was looking for cost-effective automation solutions to overcome the bottleneck in their experimental process: loading the flies into their behavioural arenas.

The solution:

The MAPLE-PRO robot consists of standard components as well as some custom-made 3D printed, laser-cut and CNC-machined parts. For this purpose, igus components are used, such as linear rails, bearing blocks, energy chains and customised SLN carriages for the three up and down axes of the robot.  
The cartesian robot has three main axes of motion: an X/Y linear robot (flat linear robot) covering the working area of 1000mm x 300mm and three independent Z-axes with lead screw, which move up and down.  


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The terms "igus", "Apiro", "CFRIP", "chainflex", "conprotect", "CTD", "drygear", "drylin", "dryspin", "dry-tech", "easy chain", "e-chain", "e-chain systems", "e-loop", "e-ketten", "e-kettensysteme", "e-spool", "e-skin", "flizz", "ibow", "igear", "iglidur", "igubal", "kineKIT", "manus", "motion plastics", "pikchain", "plastics for longer life", "print2mold", "readycable", "readychain", "ReBeL", "robolink", "speedigus", "tribofilament", "triflex", "xirodur" and "xiros" are legally protected trademarks of the igus® GmbH/Cologne in the Federal Republic of Germany, and, where applicable, in some foreign countries. igus® GmbH points out that it does not sell any products of the companies Allen Bradley, B&R, Baumüller, Beckhoff, Lahr, Control Techniques, Danaher Motion, ELAU, FAGOR, FANUC, Festo, Heidenhain, Jetter, Lenze, LinMot, LTi DRiVES, Mitsubishi, NUM, Parker, Bosh Rexroth, SEW, Siemens, Stöber and all other drive manufacturers mentioned on this website. The products offered by igus® are those of igus® GmbH.