Motion systems are machine components that have been made possible by modern engineering. As part of industrial machine systems, they have become valuable in a variety of fields, including manufacturing and production, as well as material handling and packaging.
In addition to their usefulness in industrial applications, however, motion systems are also important in helping us make sense of our own biology and of the living and material world around us. This is because motion systems are being incorporated into vital instruments used in fields like medicine, life sciences, and physical sciences.
Typically, these motion systems use a set of either linear stages or rotary stages. The difference between these main types of stages is that linear stages move loads in straight lines along the X, Y, and Z axes, while rotary stages allow for rotational motion. As will be discussed below, this movement requires optimum precision and, often, high speed and reliability to ensure desired throughput in certain conditions.
The following are examples of how motion systems are being used in the sciences and are making people’s lives better.
Medicine and Diagnostics
One good example of how motion systems are being used in medicine, diagnostics, and laboratory procedures is their incorporation into automated liquid handling instruments. Because liquid handling in diagnostics and laboratory settings require accuracy and high throughput, automation is often necessary.
The use of robotic liquid handling equipment does not only free laboratory personnel from the laborious and repetitive task of pipetting, it also makes the procedure more efficient and reliable. This is because motion systems are able to combine elements like high speed for increased throughout, jerk control for the prevention of spillage, and precision for the accurate aspiration, movement, and dispensing of even minute amounts of liquids.
The applications of automated liquid handling include drug screenings, genomic DNA sample preparations, immunoassays and processing and aliquoting of blood specimens.
Motion systems are also universally employed in microscopes, which use translation stages in order to adjust the distance between the optical device and the specimens being observed.
As you probably already know, the microscope is employed in various life sciences, including histology, cell biology, microbiology, pathology, botany, and so many others. The use of this instrument—a branch of science known as microscopy—allows researchers to study objects that cannot be visualized by the naked eye alone. This, of course, has led to numerous breakthroughs that have benefited public health and have tremendously increased our understanding of the biological world.
Microscopes are also used in physical sciences like chemistry and the different earth sciences. On top of microscopes, however, many fields of study like photonics and optics also use instruments with integrated motion systems. Photonics is the branch of science concerned with the study of light in general, while optics, a closely related field, is a branch of physics that studies the properties and behavior of light.
The researchers in these fields are responsible for an array of discoveries and innovations that we in the modern world enjoy today. These advances include medical screening and treatment equipment, fiber optic technologies and the Internet itself, defense and safety technologies, and various consumer goods that are designed to provide entertainment or improve people’s quality of life.
Motion systems are an integral part of modern machinery. With the help of these components, fields like medicine, life sciences, physical sciences, and an array of industrial disciplines are able to take advantage of machines that make the impossible possible.