The use of mobile modular automation to improve the efficiency of sample handling and laboratory analysis

Principal investigator: Gregory Foy

University: York College of Pennsylvania

Industry partners: MRG Laboratories, Airline Hydraulics

MRG Laboratories is a provider of analytical instrumentation and consumables for machinery lubricant analysis. Using York College of Pennsylvania Chemistry Laboratory instrumentation, MRG Laboratories previously developed modular automation solutions yielding deliverables such as a “grease screening mini-lab” and sampling handling and testing. Industry growth is limited by the manual nature of these tests, which slows the analysis process. MRG Laboratories has partnered with York College to design and develop collaborative robots (cobots) and modular automation to enhance the performance of repetitive tasks and better leverage the capabilities of experienced chemists. These demonstrated capabilities can be further leveraged to expand the versatility of modular cobot systems. A new project goal builds on previous grant work to develop a mobile, self-propelled solution. A mobile solution adds new development challenges in creating a safe and reliable solution that can operate continuously with minimal technician interaction. Our collaboration team proposes to build on past grant-developed solutions by expanding the modularity of the automation solution, in turn lowering the costs of performing tests in the production environment. We anticipate the applications for the developed solution will extend beyond grease analysis itself to other testing environments and to other manufacturing automation challenges.