As long as there are symptoms of cough, fever, headache or muscle pain, people will worry about whether they are infected with novel coronavirus, but they may just have the common cold or the common influenza in winter. In order to get the results as soon as possible, the medical staff need to sample the patients with swabs. Then there are two test methods. One is to send samples to large laboratories for inspection, and the other is to use the so-called point of care. Although the applications are different, both detection methods need to use the faulthaber driver to ensure reliable results.
Not only the detection of novel coronavirus, but also other tests need to obtain results as soon as possible. Whether in ICU, hospital outpatient service or doctor’s clinic, important test values of patients must be mastered before starting treatment plan. The so-called real-time detection (POC) has good mobility, flexibility and fast detection speed, so it can play a great role. The results will be available in less than 15 minutes. As the name suggests, “instant test” is a test conducted around the patient, which is directly related to the determination of his treatment plan.
Before surgery or drug treatment, POC analysis equipment is used to determine the patient’s blood parameters, coagulation value, blood gas value, electrolyte and other important indicators, and to check whether they are infected with infectious diseases, such as influenza. Fluorescence detection, polymerase chain reaction and microfluidic detection can be used. They played an important role in coping with the COVID-19. PCR is the most reliable method to detect novel coronavirus.
The real-time analyzer operates almost automatically. By using the test strip or test package, the tester only needs to perform a few operating steps. According to the specific analysis process, the micro drive device is used for the arrangement of samples, the mixing of reagents, and the rotation, vibration or labeling of test tubes. At the same time, POC equipment must be compact, easy to transport and carry, and must save space. If battery powered equipment is used, the driving device must have efficient characteristics to ensure long enough working time.
Therefore, the driving device applied to these instruments should be as compact as possible, while ensuring the fastest speed. Faulthaber stepping motor and DC micro motor with carbon brush or precious metal brush are good choices because of their small size, high efficiency and high power to weight ratio. In addition, they have the advantages of high reliability, long service life, long product life cycle and low maintenance.
Significance of rapid diagnosis
In the clinic or hospital outpatient service, the polymerase chain reaction test must be used to quickly and accurately check whether the patients are infected with COVID-19, influenza and other infectious diseases. Patients with suspicious symptoms can also know whether they are infected with novel coronavirus or influenza virus as soon as possible. Only in this way can the contact population of patients be identified as soon as possible, and isolation measures be taken in time to prevent the further spread of the epidemic. PCR is a commonly used molecular biological detection method, which completes hundreds of millions of replications of specific rna/dna samples in a very short time by heating cycle.
Analysis in a large laboratory
Compared with the central laboratory automation scheme requiring pre analysis and post analysis, POC real-time detection is more cost-effective, simpler and faster, and the reliability of detection results is relatively high. The training requirements for testing personnel are also relatively low. Because POC can only detect one sample at a time, its overall detection volume is limited, which is greatly insufficient compared with large laboratories. If a large number of standardized testing tasks need to be performed, such as in response to the COVID-19, it is inevitable to adopt large-scale laboratory automated testing methods.
The advantages of automation are self-evident: it can ensure the reliability of results while ensuring large-scale inspection and measurement. Compared with POC instrument detection, it can also reduce the error rate and labor cost. Therefore, over the years, automated solutions have become indispensable for in vitro diagnosis (IVD), that is, the analysis of medical samples such as blood, urine and tissue. The application of laboratory automation process in the field of chemistry and food technology is becoming more and more extensive. This includes performing individual tests on a single instrument or performing fully automated sample analysis in a complex system.
The automation process begins when the color test tube is used to collect the prepared samples. A scanner is used to detect the analysis to be performed on the corresponding sample. According to the requirements, a centrifuge can be used to decompose the components of the sample. Then a sample holder will transfer the samples to different analysis stations through a conveyor belt or a small trolley driven by a belt roller. When the trolley is used, although only one sample can be transmitted each time, the remaining hundreds of samples can be fully automated in the system, and each sample can be processed separately.
Numerous drive requirements
The drives used in the laboratory must perform many different drive operations. The smooth operation of each individual step can only be ensured through high dynamics and accuracy. For example, each sample must first be accurately identified by a bar code, and then the cover is opened to sample by volume. Especially in the field of COVID-19 detection and vaccine research and development, it is necessary to ensure that enough samples are retained for retesting in the future. When preparing samples, small servo drives are required as components of moving parts, which are used to complete the longitudinal and rotational positioning of samples. On the contrary, the conveyor belt used to transport the sample holder requires a high-power drive.
In the subsequent steps of transferring the Petri dish or test plate to the reactor, it is necessary to complete a variety of different movements such as suction, mixing, stirring and liquid treatment, so the requirements for driving technology are higher. The repeated walk and stop movement requires the system to have high dynamic performance and extremely accurate positioning. At the same time, the speed of grasping and drawing operation is equally important. The clamping arm and suction head moving up and down are usually located in the moving parts, so their driving devices must be extremely compact and lightweight.
1524sr and 2224sr series DC micro motors are especially suitable for this application. They have no iron case and are lighter and smaller than other driving devices under the same performance. Combined with ieh2 series encoders, they can give full play to their high dynamic characteristics, because the total length of the drive unit is only increased by two millimeters.