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Development Of An Automated Liquid Handling System For Science Lab Automation

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Design of Lab Experiments

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.467.1 - 10.467.9



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Paper Authors

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Yasuhisa Komura

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Tien-I Liu

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Stefan Setiadharma

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Akihiko Kumagai

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Development of an Automated Liquid Handling System for Science Lab Automation

Akihiko Kumagai, Tien-I Liu, Stefan Setiadharma, Yasuhisa Komura

Department of Mechanical Engineering California State University, Sacramento Sacramento, CA 95819-6031


In recent years, various automation technologies developed in engineering fields have been gaining attention from scientists and researchers to improve productivity, accuracy and quality of work in their science labs. This paper presents a unique case study of a private company sponsored project to develop a prototype of an automated liquid handling system for science labs. The device is especially intended for applications such as proteomics, oligonucleotides and high throughput screening. The system is composed of assembled syringes, pneumatic devices, linear drive, stepper motor, PLC and other miscellaneous devices. Two graduate students were involved in this project to satisfy the master’s project requirement of our Mechanical Engineering curriculum. The development of the prototype was divided into two major stages. The first major stage conducted by the first graduate student consisted of requirement definition, conceptual design, modeling and simulation. The second stage conducted by the second graduate student consisted of design reviews, prototype fabrication, and testing. The project provided the students with an excellent opportunity for exposure to mechatronics technologies as well as the experience of being a part of a real-world engineering product development.


In engineering education, it is essential for both students and faculty members to experience solving real world technical problems through industry sponsored projects. The key for developing successful industry-sponsored projects is to identify clear mutual benefits for both the educational institution and sponsoring companies1,9,11. This paper describes the activities at the Computer Integrated Manufacturing (CIM) Laboratory at California State University, Sacramento for generating industry-sponsored student projects especially for master’s degree students. The most of those projects have been mechatronics and manufacturing automation in nature. For sponsoring companies, working with a lab such as ours is a very cost effective way to solve technical problems. For students, those projects provide excellent opportunities to experience a wide variety of real world challenges in technical issues, communications, and time management. As an example of our projects, a project of developing an automated liquid handling system for science labs is described in details.

Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education

Komura, Y., & Liu, T., & Setiadharma, S., & Kumagai, A. (2005, June), Development Of An Automated Liquid Handling System For Science Lab Automation Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--15117

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