Does this sound familiar?
- Manual data recording is time consuming and details can be missed.
How can I record everything automatically?
- Must I stay late to finish off this long experiment?
Why can’t the equipment just control itself?
- I am part of a team of chemists at different sites.
How can my data be more easily shared and experiments reproduced?
- It would be useful if different pieces of equipment could interact.
Is that even possible?
- My reaction is exothermic?
How can I ensure my chemistry is safe, even when I am not there?
Lab control software may be the the answer
With the right lab control software you can automatically record data; write schedules for unattended operation; link devices together for additional functionality; set safety alarms and triggers; share results; automatically write reports and much more. Saving you time, money and making for a safer and more productive lab
In this blog post, we would like to tell you a little about our AVA Lab Control Software and how it may be able to help chemists who are facing some or all of these challenges.
What equipment can the software control?
Our AVA lab control software is designed make life easy and will control a wide range of devices including:
- Circulators – Huber, Julabo and Lauda
- Overhead stirrers – Heidolph, Radleys and IKA
- Stirring hotplates – Heidolph, Radleys and IKA
- Balances – A&D, Denver, Mettler, Ohaus, Precisa and Sartorius
- pH meters – Knick
- Vacuum pumps – Vaccubrand
- Peristaltic pumps – Watson-Marlow and Ismatec
- Syringe pumps – Harvard, WPI and New Era
- Gas flow controllers – Bronkhorst
If your device is not listed, don’t worry, we can probably configure it for you. The most important point is that the device must have an RS232 interface. The AVA software will actually control and log up to 16 x RS232 devices simultaneously.
How can I make controlled additions to my reaction?
A common set-up is ‘gravimetric additions’ – using a peristaltic pump together with a balance. You run tubing from your reactant bottle on the balance, through the peristaltic pump and into your reaction vessel. You can link the two devices together within the software and add a specific mass in a specified time.
You can even use AVA to link the addition step to another sensor, such as a temperature probe, for added safety. Indeed if the addition is generating an exothermic reaction, you can automatically pause the addition when the temperature rises and then restart it once a safe temperature is restored. A simple and easy way to make safe, controlled and precise additions, even when you experiment is unattended.
An alternative method of making automated additions is by using a syringe pump, to add a specified volume. The image below shows you how this might look in the AVA control software.
How can I control pH?
AVA can also control a peristaltic pump based on a pH sensor reading. By linking a peristaltic pump to a pH meter and pH probe, the software allows you to add acid or base to your vessel to follow a specific pH profile.
How does control software make my chemistry safer?
We have already seen an example of the clever safety feedback loops possible in AVA, but there are other options. When you are setting up equipment in AVA, you can put in user determined device safety limits, e.g. for a circulator you may want to restrict the temperature range to protect your chemistry and/or thermofluid.
AVA also allows you to define conditions which put all devices into a user-defined ‘safe state’ (for example, the circulator cools and pump stops), if for example the temperature goes above a chosen value.
What can I do in the free demo version of AVA?
If you are curious about AVA, why not download it, and test out the ‘Demo Version’ for free?
The Demo Version can do pretty much everything except for physically connect to devices – you can still explore all the features and run experiments with simulated data.
You can analyse real experimental data in the Demo Version too – so you only need to purchase one licence for your AVA laptop in the lab, as you can review your results or edit schedules on other computers in the Demo Version. You can even share AVA experiment files between different sites.