Re:Build DAPR Engineering was tasked with creating an automated biotech testing laboratory. This case study explores the work done on the elevator, catwalk, and airlock subsystem of this automated diagnostic line.

Location: Boston, MA

Product: Automated Biotech Testing Laboratory – Elevator Subsystem

Industry: Healthcare

Timeframe: 9-10 months


A customer contracted Re:Build DAPR to create an automated biotech testing laboratory. An important subsystem of this automated lab included the elevator station. The elevator was designed to be an automated system for transferring tube racks between Pre-PCR and Post-PCR labs while ensuring environmental isolation. DAPR’s innovative solution, featuring a six-axis robot and a HEPA-filtered airlock, not only met technical specifications but also transformed the labs into a biosafety-rated facility. The success of the machine is evident in its reliable and contamination-free performance, eliminating manual intervention, and reducing the risk of errors.

Challenges & Solutions

  • Structural Alignment Challenge. The elevator had to span a hallway, requiring separate setups for the catwalk and both sides of the elevato, demanding precise alignment between the Magnemotion track and components. DAPR’s design and engineering ensured precise alignment. Custom-designed 304 stainless steel structures, including the elevator frame and catwalk, were welded together. The use of 2270mm belt-driven Macron Dynamic actuators provided reliable lifting capabilities, addressing the alignment challenge of the Magnemotion track within millimeters.
  • Enclosed Design Complexity. The entire elevator and airlock design had to be enclosed to prevent environmental contamination. A custom-designed see-through EPDM insulated panels enclosed the elevator, with gaskets bolted to the elevator and catwalk provided a solution to the enclosure complexity.
  • Precision Locator Adaptation Solution. Adapting the precision locator for corner locating labware due to space constraints in the airlock. The team created a custom-designed precision locating mechanism featuring an L-shaped push plate machined for attachment to pneaumatic precision actuators. This design facilitated labware positioning against hard stops, enabling the 6-axis collaborative robot to pick up the labware reliably.


This integrated elevator and airlock system successfully transferred tube racks between Pre-PCR and Post-PCR labs, maintaining environmental isolation. The precision locator adaptation and structural design enhancements ensured reliable labware handling and precise alignment. As a result, the system achieved significant throughput gains, eliminating the need for manual intervention, and minimizing the risk of errors. The optimized design and automation led to enhanced operational efficiency, streamlining the laboratory workflow, and contributing to a more robust and reliable testing process.