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Inside-our-Rapid-Automated-Materials-and-Processing-Centre

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[Music plays and CSIRO logo and text appears on screen: RAMP: Rapid Automated Materials and Processing]

[Images flash through of scientists at work in the RAMP Centre, the Chemspeed robot, some gauges on the side of the robot, a sign reading “Nanoparticle Handling Lab” and then the camera zooms in on different angles of the Flowrence machine]

Ben Muir: So the Rapid Automated Materials and Processing Centre is a state of the art laboratory which helps fast track chemicals, materials and formulation research. 

[Image changes to show scientists at work in the RAMP centre and the camera pans along the room as one of the scientists walks away from the camera]

The RAMP Centre is part of the CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency and we’re open to working with people from all over the globe.  

[Image changes to show Ben Muir looking at the camera]

Hi, I’m Ben Muir and I manage the RAMP Centre within CSIRO. 

[Images changes to show the Chemspeed robot and then the camera zooms in on the arm of the robot screwing on the lid of a specimen jar]

One of the main benefits of using our laboratory is the fact that we use robotics to automate our research which means that we can do research much faster than is commonly done by traditional means.  

[Image changes to show Ben Muir talking to the camera and then the image changes to show the Chemspeed robot]

The big benefit of the robots is they’re much safer to use and they’re also automated and so you don’t have to have a scientist that’s standing next to a fume hood the whole time. 

[Image changes to show the arm of the robot adding liquid to specimen jars]

They can actually set up an experiment and then leave and just let the robot do the experiment. 

[Camera zooms in on a specimen jar being filled and then the image changes to show Ben Muir talking to the camera]

 

You could come in on a Friday, set an experiment up, let it run over the weekend, come in on Monday and you’ve got 100 polymers that you can go away and test. 

[Image changes to show computer screens displaying the robots in the lab]

One of the great advantages of our system is that we can check the robots remotely. 

[Image changes to show Ben Muir talking to the camera and then the image changes to show the Chemspeed robot again and then the camera zooms in on a microscope slide]

Within Australasia, we’re the only laboratory which has the capability to do all the different types of formulation and chemical reactions and characterisation. So we’re a very unique facility. 

[Image changes to show Ben Muir talking to the camera and then images flash through of a scientist looking at a computer screen and scientists in the laboratory]

A great example of research which was conducted within RAMP is a project we had with a company making catalysts and when they did that research we were able to conduct five years worth of research in six months which was absolutely amazing and fantastic for the company to get the outcome so rapidly. 

[Images continue to flash through of scientists in the laboratory]

If that company had have conducted that research using traditional methods it would have taken them many more years with a much greater expense. 

[Camera zooms in on two of the scientists faces in turn]

They wouldn’t have discovered the range of materials that we discovered. 

[Image changes to show scientists looking at a computer screen]

They wouldn’t have had a strong intellectual platform from what we discovered as well. 

[Image changes to show Ben Muir talking to the camera]

So we have a number of robots located within the RAMP Centre. 

[Image changes to show the Chemspeed robot and the camera pans around the robot and then the camera zooms in on the arm moving along a series of numbered containers]

The two biggest robots are called Chemspeed Robots and they have an arm which goes around and picks up different tools and so that arm can do different tasks. 

[Image changes to show the Chemspeed robot adding liquid to a multi cube plastic tray]

It can dispense solids or liquids. 

[Images flash through of the Chemspeed robot]

It can homogenise, sonify, we can do reactions at high temperature, low temperature and even centrifuge within the robots. 

[Images flash through of the Flowrence unit and text appears on the side of the unit “Air, High Purity Nitrogen, High Purity Helium, High-Throughput Catalysis]

We have a catalyst unit called a Flowrence, that’s able to do 48 catalytic reactions in one go and analyse the products which are formed

[Image changes to show the “Biodot” sign on the side of the Dotbot robot and then the image zooms in on the arm of the robot putting spots on to microscope slides]

and we also have a Dotbot robot so we can spot materials onto surfaces and we can spot thousands and then analyse those materials and the effects they have on different parameters. 

[Image changes to show Ben Muir talking to the camera]

Our main customers that we work with are companies based overseas and within Australia in various manufacturing industries. 

[Images flash through of scientists working in the RAMP Centre]

So we work with companies that make paints, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, catalysts. 

[Camera zooms in on one of the scientists and then the camera zooms out to show the computer screen he is looking at]

We work with companies doing formulation, recycling.  We work with food companies and even nutraceutical companies. 

[Image changes to show Ben Muir talking to the camera]

We’ve had a project recently in RAMP where we’ve been working with an industry partner to develop new paints and new polymer formulations and so the idea being if we can get the polymers right we can have a paint which can be painted on the wall and if it gets dirty you can easily clean it.  So it makes it easy for everyone in the house if your walls get grubby. 

[Image changes to show a female scientist working with the Chemspeed robot and then the camera zooms in on the scientist’s face and then the camera zooms in on the box of specimen jars she is holding and then the image changes to show specimen jars in the Chemspeed robot]

This particular week we’re working on some different polymerisation methods, where we’re using CSIRO’s RAFT technology which allows you to make very defined polymers with controlled molecular weights and chemistries and we recently made a polymer that had 17 different blocks in it. 

[Images changes to show another part of the robot and then the image changes to show Ben Muir talking to the camera]

Traditionally when you make a block polymer you might have two or three blocks and using the robots we can make polymers with really amazing and different architectures.  The best thing about working with RAMP is working with the scientists and conducting the research and just finding amazing discoveries for our customers.

[Images flash through of scientists talking and a scientist looking at a microscope slide]

Within the RAMP Centre we’ve got scientists with a range of expertise.  We have scientists with expertise in chemistry and material science.

[Image changes to show a female scientists looking at a sample in a test tube] 

We have a statistician who allows us to do design of experiments to ensure that we’re looking at a full sample space when we’re doing experiments. 

[Image changes to show a scientist looking at a computer screen and then the camera zooms in on the computer screen and then the image changes to show Ben Muir talking to the camera]

We also have scientists with expertise in data analysis and characterisation of materials to really enable the whole work flow when people do experiments in RAMP to be utilised. 

[Images flash through of the Chemspeed robot]

Looking forwards to the future, a big opportunity within RAMP is to help companies with their formulation. 

[Images flash through of scientists at work]

We have a lot of expertise within the laboratory to develop new products and use the formulation and characterisation expertise that we have. 

[Image changes to show Ben Muir talking to the camera]

We really would like to get new industry projects in and we’re really excited about engaging with new companies.  If you’re a business just get in touch with us via the website and we’re more than happy to host you, show you the lab and hopefully discuss some new projects with you.

[Music plays and CSIRO logo and text appears: Big ideas start here, www.csiro.au/ramp] 

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