production performance for tomorrow

Laboratory & Pharmaceuticals

 

MILK TEST NEW ZEALAND CASE STUDY


BACKGROUND

The New Zealand dairy industry processes around 15 billion litres of milk every year from approximately 11,000 dairy herds.
Every day, from every collection point, samples of milk are taken and sent to MilkTestNZ, the New Zealand dairy industry’s independent laboratory, for raw milk testing.

KEY CHALLENGE
Handling samples of this quantity manually is very time consuming, highly labour intensive, and has a greater capacity for human error.
 
COMPLEX PROCESS
The process displayed a number of opportunities for automation: 



In addition to milk supply testing, the laboratory performs a range of chemical and microbiological raw milk testing for dairy companies and other dairy industry groups including government agencies.
 
-Upon receiving them, samples need to be sorted according to a testing regime database
 
-RFID chip technology replaced barcode technology meaning there was absolutely no human readable data on the vials
 
-Vial samples may be required for up to seven different tests. So many samples needed to be split
 
-The difficult to open tamper evident vials all need to be opened and closed at various stages in the process
 
-High volume sample transferring is required into micro plates or pipette dishes


“We have found RML to be a professional automation solutions provider dedicated to developing, building and maintaining our sophisticated equipment. Their open and honest approach and their willingness to work closely with the MilkTestNZ team has resulted in very positive outcomes for us.”
 
  Margaret Malloch - General Manager - MilkTestNZ
 
 

 

OUR SOLUTIONS

 
 
Reliability and consistency are paramount in lab testing. To automate several aspects of these labour intensive laboratory processes we developed tailor made software and customised robotic and automation solutions to create a faster, more reliable and efficient testing process. All this now puts MilkTestNZ at the forefront of their industry worldwide. 
 
s350 Vial Sorter
At the heart of the process, a high speed robotic sorting system receives up to 22,000 vials per day, reads each individual RFID tag and compares the data against a testing database. The robot then proceeds to sort all the vials into their allocated destinations.
 


RML s300 Manual  Vial Opener
 s300 Manual Vial Opener


 
s310 Vial Preparation Module




 
RML s300 Manual Vial Opener
s330 Vial Preparation Machine

s300 Manual Vial Openers
 
To deal with the high number of vials to be opened RML developed a number of manual and automatic vial opening systems. The s300 portable bench mounted press opener which was manually operated opens ten vials in one rack.

s310 Vial Preparation Modules 

The Vial Preparation Module, mounted upstream of each Foss Analyser, is manually loaded with a rack. Once the door is closed by the operator, it starts the automatic cycle of mixing the samples, opening the samples and then finally ejecting the rack to the Foss conveyor. When the cycle is complete, the door will automatically open ready to receive the next rack.

s320 Vial Closing Modules


A radical concept of driving the racks with vials through a roller tunnel was developed. We now have at least seven of these units installed at the lab.


s330 Micro Plating Robot Loading and Unloading System

A machine was designed and built which would be coupled to the loading face of the micro pipetting robot. It could be loaded with a full tray of 150 samples and subsequently prepare and automatically present racks of vials at the required speed to the robot. 



s340 Vial Splitting System
 
When samples need multiple tests, they are first passed through a splitting system. This machine mixes and opens the donor vials and decants some of the sample into additional prepared vials, as well as cloning the RFID data to the subsequent vials. Finally this machine returns each rack into its carrier tray. 


 

A GREAT ECONOMIC OUTCOME

 
Our solutions allowed MilkTestNZ to:
 
•Reduce their overall labour requirement
•Eliminate repetitive tasks and associated  RSI injuries
•Dramatically reduce the potential for human errors
•Lower the cost of testing for farmers
  


You may have a unique problem, but we love and embrace challenges. Let us convert your bottlenecks and inefficiencies into a success. 

 

 
Phone
New Zealand
+64 7 849 3215
Australia
1300 060 407
   
Post
New Zealand
PO Box 20414
Te Rapa
Hamilton 3241
 
Australia
PO Box 425
Altona North
Victoria 3025
 
Visit Us
New Zealand
66 Norris Avenue
Te Rapa
Hamilton 3200
 
Australia
30 Fulton Drive
Derrimut
Victoria 3030