Around 60 international experts on microfluidics took the opportunity to network and share the latest trends at IVAM’s established symposium ΣYSTEMS INTEGRATION. Held on June 17, 2014 in Almelo, the Netherlands and hosted by WWINN BV, its key topic was ‘Automation in the production and application of microfluidic devices in chemistry and biology’.
Microfluidic components are already in use in analytics, medical diagnostics or chemical manufacturing with great success. Even so, microfluidic hardware always requires automated control technology.
Dr. Thomas R. Dietrich (IVAM) and Gerard Huiberts (WWINN)
In his keynote Gerard Huiberts of WWINN was able to impressively illustrate his robots’ capabilities at the manufacture of microtechnological components: Even most complex production stages are entirely automated and can be achieved with great cost-effectiveness.
Automation is essential not only in manufacture, but also in the application of microfluidic components. Richard Bijlard of Invenios (USA) introduced the integration of sensors and actuators on a microfluidic chip and was backed by Dr. Hans van den Vlekkert of LioniX (NL) who focused on optical sensors. ”
Professor Volker Hessel of Eindhoven UT illustrated a host of applications from chemistry that would not be possible without microfluidic components. The fact that these components then need to be integrated into larger systems presents another challenge for automation engineering. Ronny van’t Oever of micronit microfluidics (NL) argued in favor of standardizing the micro-macro-interface.
The event was rounded out by Professor Han Gardeniers with a tour of Enschede’s renowned MESA+ Institute. Professor Gardeniers pointed out the advantages of microfluidic systems for analysis – especially of very small sample sizes – e.g. in forensics.
ΣYSTEMS INTEGRATION is an annual conference focused on the processing and integration of micro-components. Next year, ΣYSTEMS INTEGRATION will be held at VTT, Finland’s largest research facility, and will focus on ‘3D printing’.
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