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Press Release

Novel software increases the throughput of sample weighing system

Aitken Scientific Ltd has created a novel software solution for a new sample weighing system developed in association with GlaxoSmithKline's Technology Development Department (GSK, TDC) and the University of Warwick. The new system is in use in the Centre of Excellence for Drug Discovery at GSK in Stevenage, where it is taking care of the repetitive and time- consuming weighing of compounds and providing a throughput of more than twice that of a traditional weighing system.

Aitken developed the software from its highly modular A-S Automate package and has included a customised user interface specifically designed to be very easy to use. The user need only load the bar coded vial holders and press a button for the system to automatically weigh every vial and record the results in the appropriate folder. Aitken is able to create customised solutions like this from its A-S Automate package in a very short space of time because it is extremely flexible and separate modules control each item of hardware.

The weighing system consists of an industrial robot, a rugged balance, a bar code reader with 2D capability and a novel sensor, which detects the type of vial holder by its physical features. Together with the software, these features mean that the whole system runs quickly and all possible collisions and errors are avoided.

Dr Alan Stanley from GSK, TDC commented: "Introducing automation into this kind of environment presents a set of demands different to the ones found in traditional manufacturing environments. We are very pleased with the results of our collaboration with Aitken and Warwick".