PlateCrane EX

PlateCrane EX

The PlateCrane EX is a new-generationcylindrical robot arm that is optimized for handling labware in the “SBS footprint”, including microplates, reservoirs, and disposable tip racks.   The PlateCrane is optimized for loading and unloading microplate-based lab instruments, such as readers, washers and reagent dispensers.

The EX features state-of-the-art controls and a new, rugged design. Never has lab automation been easier or more reliable. Interfaces are available to more than 150 microplate-based instruments, including virtually every reader, washer, dispenser and pipettor commonly used in laboratories today. It has a capacity of up to 450 microplates, and makes it easy to configure a wide range of automation workcells.

The PlateCrane is available in a standard configuration, with 345° of horizontal rotation, and an advanced model, the PlateCrane 360, which offers unlimited rotation.  Also, both models offer a “Random Access” configuration where plates are stacked in shelves for random selection.

The PlateCrane EX™ is supplied with Hudson’s SoftLinx™ laboratory automation software. SoftLinx provides scheduling capability and an easy-to-use icon-based drag and drop Method Editor.

  • Accessories
  • Applications
  • Features
  • Specifications
  • Literature

featuresTeaching Pendant
Allows user to manually direct the arm to positions that can then be saved in memory.



teaching_plateTeaching Plate
Specially -machined PVC plate that simulates the footprint of an SBS microplate, with a standard 12.5mm height. When used for teaching robot positions, the Teaching Plate serves as a standard gauge to allow the PlateCrane to auto-adjust to the exact height of actual plates when operating under SoftLinx control.

stacksUniversal Plate Stack
Enables the loading of up to 30 standard-height microplates, or 9 deep-well plates per stack. Up to 15 stacks can be accessed by one PlateCrane.



random_accessUniversal Stacks
Random-Access Plate Stack – Enables the loading of up to 15 standard-height microplates, or 7 deep-well plates, while allowing the PlateCrane to retrieve/store individual plates in any order desired by the user. Ideal for kinetic assays or varying room-temperature incubations.


stackbaseStack Base
A platform that locks into the base of the PlateCrane and allows the user to mount up to 5 Universal Plate Stacks, or 5 Random-Access Plate Stacks on each Stack Base.



Lid Nest
A specially-machined, robot accessible nest to hold an SBS-compatible microplate lid while the microplate is being processed in an instrument.


Custom-built to meet the needs of any PlateCrane-based workcell. Frees up lab bench space. Comes with optional power-management, computer stand, utility entrance, safety enclosure and communication cable routing.



Control Computer 
Supplied fully loaded with SoftLinx and all the plug-ins needed in the user’s workcell.


barcode_scannerBarcode Scanner
Includes physical stand and communication cabling. Operates seamlessly within a SoftLinx-controlled robot system, enabling users to track and store plate data, including transmitting each plate’s barcode to any plate reader or other instrument that may require an ID for the plate.

Throughout the drug discovery industry, PlateCranes have been used to increase the efficiency of numerous High Throughput Screens involving complex methods, such as FLIPR, Reporter, ELISA and FRET assays. With its built-in plate gripper and on-board controller, the PlateCrane pioneered the concept of a small, microplate robot serving multiple instruments, often from several different instrument manufacturers. PlateCranes give users the ability to use the best instruments available for the scientific task at hand within an easy-to-set-up benchtop workcell.

Many PlateCranes are currently being used to automate the application of barcode labels to microplates. The PlateCrane can be setup to automatically deliver batches of up to 450 microplates to Barcode Print & Apply devices, such as the Computype LAP-4100. In this application, users requiring barcode labels to track the microplates used in their assays can print custom labels on thousands of microplates by just setting up the PlateCrane Workcell with sufficient plates and letting it run unattended. The PlateCrane provides what is easily the most reliable, trouble-free barcode print & apply system for microplates anywhere.

The PlateCrane is also used to move microplates and filter plates in high throughput, automated DNA Plasmid Prep systems. Unlike systems offered by some plasmid prep kit manufacturers, Hudson’s wide array of automated dispensers, shaker nests and automated vacuum nests make PlateCrane-based plasmid prep systems truly walk-away: with no need for human intervention from start to finish, with throughput as high as six 96-well plates (576 samples) per hour.

Hudson also makes private-labelled, OEM PlateCranes for several instrument manufacturers who need a capable, reliable device dedicated to automatically loading and unloading their instruments, providing long “walk away” capability to their instruments.

featuresThe PlateCrane EX provides walkaway automation for simple workcells with a single microplate instrument, or complex workcells with several instruments, multiple processes or even a complete assay. It comes with 4 axes of motion: tower rotation, vertical travel, a telescoping arm and gripper rotation. It includes an optional EasyTeach teaching pendant for easily setting plate positions in your workcell, and the revolutionary AutoTeach machine vision teaching system.

The PlateCrane EX moves labware to and from removable stacks that are mounted on bases located around the arm. These bases are modular to allow flexibility in the configuration of stacks and surrounding instruments.

  • Adds microplate capacity to a single instrument to increase “walkaway” time.
  • Performs complete automated assays by linking multiple instruments with one or more PlateCrane EXs.
  • Moves plates with lids to and from stacks, and can automatically remove the lid from the active plate.
  • Works with 96, 384 and 1536-well microplates, deep well plates, plates with lids, and tip racks.
  • Fits within standard laboratory hoods.
  • Provides random access to stacks with shelves, for room temperature incubation and time-critical kinetic assays.

The PlateCrane EX is supplied with Hudson’s SoftLinx laboratory automation software. SoftLinx provides scheduling capability and an easy-to-use icon-based drag and drop Method Editor. SoftLinx users can access Hudson’s software interfaces for more than 150 microplate-based instruments, including liquid handlers, pipettors, washers, readers, incubators, sealers, bar code labelers, and more.

Plate Capacity: Up to 450 plates without lids or up to 275 plates with lids.
Plate Format: Portrait & Landscape – (Rotary Gripper)
Plate Storage Device: 2 removable stacks (expandable up to 15)
Housing Material: Painted steel covering cast aluminum housing.
Gripper Material: Black anodized aluminum; textured neoprene rubber inserts.
Arm Mechanism: Ball bearing axis with high-speed screw rail; mechanical stops to prevent continuous rotation (345° maximum).
Rotary Travel: 345° ¨
Horizontal Reach: From center of vertical axis: 12″ – 18″ radius
Vertical Reach: Maximum 22.75 in. from table, minimum 4.25 in. from table, total 18.0 in. vertical travel distance.
Size (H x W x D): 27 in. x 19 in. x 27 in.
Weight: about 45 lbs.
Computer Interface: RS-232 serial cable



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