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PlateCrane EX™ & EX360™ 
by Hudson Robotics


The PlateCrane EX

Hudson Robotic's PlateCrane EX is an innovative cylindrical robot arm that can handle microplates, reservoirs, disposable tip racks, and any other labware in the “SBS footprint."
  • Automatically handle plates with over 200 different instruments
  • Compatible with either lidded or unlidded plates
  • Easy benchtop workcell set-up fits into a standard laboratory hood
  • Optional random access stackers for time point assasys and RT incubation
  • Easily add additional plates to active protocols
  • Full version of SoftLinx V scheduling software included
  • SoftLinx lab automation software makes it easy to program and operate work cells

The PlateCrane EX is designed to handle all SBS-formatted plates, and the system can be configured with up to 15 plate stacks, or the new 10-stack carousel. Multiple stack configurations are available to meet almost any need. It is also optimized for loading and unloading microplate-based lab instruments, such as readers, washers, and reagent dispensers.

With 4 axes of motion (tower rotation, vertical travel, a telescoping arm, and gripper rotation), the 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.

Never has lab automation been easier or more reliable with PlateCrane's featured state-of-the-art controls and a new, rugged design. With the capacity of up to 450 microplates, the system makes it easy to configure a wide range of automation workcells. Choose between the PlateCrane EX for standard configuration with 345° of horizontal rotation or an advanced model, the PlateCrane EX360, with unlimited rotation.

Designed for the scientist while maintaining the reliability and flexibility required by automation specialists, the PlateCrane integrates easily with automation-friendly incubators or random access stacks (plates are stacked in shelves for random selection) and Hudson’s LabLinx track-based system.

The PlateCrane EX is supplied with Hudson’s SoftLinx laboratory automation software that 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.

With the optional teach pendant, calibration is almost as easy as pressing a button. While servicing one instrument or an entire workcell, the PlateCrane Ex is the continued choice for laboratory automation solutions.

Ordering Information
PlateCrane EX with rotating gripper and telescoping arm
Model Hudson
Robotics #
Cat. # Price
PlateCrane EX:
Telescoping Arm PlateCrane EX with rotary gripper, 1 base, and 2 standard stacks. Maximum is 3 bases and 15 stacks, for 420 standard microplates.
280200 3030-00 Call TUI
PlateCrane EX:
Telescoping Arm PlateCrane EX with Rotary Gripper (no base/no stacks)
280200A 3030-31 Call TUI
Plate Crane EX360:
Telescoping Arm PlateCrane EX with unlimited R-axis circular motion. Includes rotary gripper, 1 base, and 2 standard stacks. Maximum is 3 bases and 15 stacks, for 420 standard microplates
280400 3030-32 Call TUI


Complex plate-handling problems made easy with Hudson’s automated plate-handling solutions:

  • Moving 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
  • Moving plates with lids to-and-from stacks and can automatically remove the lid from the active plate
  • Creating customized, total solutions that are flexible, scalable, easy to operate, and affordable
  • Providing random access to stacks with shelves for room temperature incubation and time-critical kinetic assays.
  • Flow cytometers—Automate and expand the process of moving plates to the Guava & Intellicyt instruments
  • qPCR—Move plates into-and-out of Roche’s Lightcycler, BioRad’s CFX, or ABI’s 7900 instruments
  • Liquid handlers—quickly and easily expand capabilities of existing liquid-handling systems with the PlateCrane
  • Plate readers—Remove lids, set up time point assays and create multiple instrument workcells


The PlateCrane is available with either a standard gripper or a side gripper for random access applications. Both grippers are rotary for working with either landscape or portrait nest positions.

  • Choose the standard PlateCrane EX or the PlateCrane EX360 for more flexibility and speed.
  • All PlateCrane systems work with lidded plates.
  • The PlateCrane comes standard with 5 stacks. Each stack holds 25 lidded plates, 30 plates without lids, or 9 DW blocks.
  • Optional temperature controlled stacks are available.
Plate Capacity: up to 450 plates without lids
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: block anodized aluminum
textured neoprene rubber inserts
Arm Mechanism: ball bearing axis with high-speed screw rail; mechanical stops to prevent continuous rotation (345° maximum)
Arm Motion (Rotary Travel): the PlateCrane EX model has 345° horizontal rotation.
the PlateCrane 360 model has 360°+ (unlimited) rotation.
Horizontal Reach: 12"–18" radius from centerline
Vertical Reach: minimum 4.25" from table
maximum 22.75" from table
18" total vertical travel distance
Dimensions: 27"H x 19"W x 27"D
Weight: 45 lbs., without stacks
Operating Temperature: 15° to 40°C (59° to 104°F)
Operating Humidity: 0 to 85%, non-condensing
Computer Interface: RS232 serial cable
Power Input: 115/220V AC, 50/60Hz

Additional Information

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.

Many PlateCranes are currently being used to automate the application of barcode labels to microplates. The PlateCrane can be set up to automatically deliver batches of up to 450 microplates to barcode print-and-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-and-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 6 quantity of 96-well plates (576 samples) per hour.

Additional Features
  • optional EasyTeaching pendant makes teaching positions fast and easy and also easily sets plate positions in your workcell
  • optional revolutionary AutoTeach machine vision teaching system.
  • add microplate capacity to a single instrument to increase “walkaway” time
  • perform complete automated assays by linking multiple instruments with one or more PlateCrane EXs
Teaching Pendant—Allows user to manually direct the arm to positions that can then be saved in memory. PlateCrane EX System Teaching Stacks
Teaching 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.
Universal 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-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.
Stack 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.
Worktables—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 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.

File Type File Name Publication Date
Brochure (PDF) PlateCrane EX & EX360 by Hudson Robotics
Information on standard features and design of the PlateCrane EX & EX360 by Hudson Robotics. Product specifications included.
24-hour sales and tech phone support, M - F
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