The Challenges of Manual Data Recording in Lab Processes

Many chemistry lab processes involve the use of manual data recording – a time-consuming approach that is prone to human error.

A significant portion of these processes can benefit from the use of automatic data logging and automated instrument control. This is particularly beneficial for teams of chemists working across different sites, sharing data and aiming to reproduce experiments consistently.

In an ideal world, different pieces of equipment would be able to interact to ensure safe chemistry (including exothermic reactions), even when users are not present.

In all of these circumstances, the use of lab control software may provide an ideal solution.

Using appropriate lab control software enables data to be automatically recorded with scheduled recipes in place to enable unattended operation.

Devices can be linked together to enable additional functionality, share results, set triggers and safety alarms, automatically write reports and more. These features allow laboratories to save time and money while ensuring a safer and more productive working environment.

This article outlines the features and benefits of Radleys’ AVA Lab Control Software, showcasing how this innovative software package can help chemists address all these challenges.

Compatible Equipment

The AVA lab control software has been designed to control a wide range of devices, allowing processes to be automated and streamlined. These include:

  • Circulators (Julabo, Huber and Lauda)
  • Overhead stirrers (Radleys, Heidolph and IKA)
  • Stirring hotplates (Radleys, Heidolph, and IKA)
  • Balances (A&D, Ohaus, Precisa, Denver, Mettler and Sartorius)
  • pH meters (Knick)
  • Vacuum pumps (Vacuubrand)
  • Peristaltic pumps (Ismatec and Watson-Marlow)
  • Syringe pumps (New Era, Harvard and WPI)
  • Gas flow controllers (Bronkhorst)

Custom configurations can be provided for almost any device with an RS232 interface - the AVA software is able to control and log up to 16 x RS232 devices simultaneously.

Making Controlled Additions to a Reaction

One of the most common setups involves performing ‘gravimetric additions’ with a peristaltic pump and a balance.

Tubing is run from the reagent bottle on the balance via a peristaltic pump and into the reaction vessel. The two devices can be linked together via the software, allowing users to add a specific mass in a pre-determined time.

AVA can also be used to link the addition step to a further sensor for added safety, for example, a temperature probe.

If the addition generates an exothermic reaction, the software can automatically pause the addition when the temperature rises and then restart it once a safe temperature has been restored.

This example setup enables safe, precise and controlled additions, even when the experiment is taking place unattended.

It is also possible to make automated additions by using a syringe pump to add a specified volume. The image below provides an example of how this could be displayed in the AVA control software.

Using Lab Control Software to Streamline Chemistry Lab Processes

Image Credit: Radleys

Controlling pH

The AVA software allows users to control a peristaltic pump based on readings from a pH sensor.

This is achieved by linking a peristaltic pump to a compatible pH meter and pH probe. The software enables the addition of acid or base to the vessel according to a specific pH profile.

Using Lab Control Software to Streamline Chemistry Lab Processes

Image Credit: Radleys

Using Control Software to Improve Chemistry Safety

A number of other safety feedback loops are possible in the AVA software, as well as those outlined already.

It is possible to provide user-determined device safety limits when setting up equipment in AVA; for example, when setting up a circulator, a user may opt to restrict the temperature range to protect the overall chemistry and/or thermofluid.

AVA also allows users to specify conditions that prompt all devices to enter a user-defined ‘safe state.’ For example, a circulator could be prompted to cool, and the pump may stop if the temperature rises above a defined value.

The Free Demo Version of AVA

Potential users who may be curious about AVA are advised to download and explore the free demo version of the software.

This demo version is fully featured and offers full capabilities other than the ability to physically connect to devices. Users can explore the software’s features and run experiments using simulated data.

It is also possible to analyse real experimental data in the demo version, meaning that users are only required to obtain one license for an AVA laptop in the lab to review results or edit schedules on other computers.

AVA experiment files can be shared between different sites with ease.

 

AVA Lab Control Software - automate your lab reaction system

Video Credit: Radleys

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Radleys.

For more information on this source, please visit Radleys.

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