Innovative Biochip Production Systems
Full text: Microarray-based biochips are very powerful and useful tools in labs. For the production of biochips, different arraying systems are available on the market. But as they can only produce up to a few hundred biochips per day, they are useful for R&D applications and for research labs only. With the increasing demand of users in labs, biochips have to be produced in a high throughput manner, meeting the specific quality requirements. Our department for Industrial Engineering and Biotechnological Applications at the Fraunhofer IPA developed and realized, together with many partners from the pharmaceutical and biotechnological industry, various systems for the high throughput production of Microarray-based biochips. In this presentation specific requirements such as 100% quality assurance, liquid handling of smallest volumes, traceability etc. are outlined. Some features of systems realized in the past will be described as well as new concepts to produce and process biochips. Central element of our approach is a modular production platform with standardized interfaces for energy, information and media. The miniaturized process modules can be mounted onto the platform very easily. Material flow function is realized by a modular transportation system which can be adopted to specific applications and process combinations. Innovative solutions will be pointed out and trends and future challenges for miniaturized, automated systems for pharmaceutical and biotechnological applications indicated.