MULA, an affordable framework for multifunctional liquid automation in natural- and life sciences with a focus on hardware design, setup, modularity and validation

Published: 9 July 2024| Version 2 | DOI: 10.17632/3m3t4f9ft3.2
, Alexander Imhof,


The implementation of automation has already had a considerable impact on chemical and pharmaceutical industrial laboratories. However, academic laboratories have often been more reluctant in adapting such a technology due to the high cost of commercial liquid handling systems. We present here a detailed description of the setup, validation, and utilization of a multifunctional liquid automation (MULA) system that can be used to automate various chemical and biological tasks. Considering that such a setup must be highly customizable, we also designed MULA with respect to modularity, providing detailed insight as far as possible. Including all 3D-printed parts and the used Hamilton gastight micro syringe, the total construction cost is approximately 700 €. This allows us to achieve a highly reliable and accurate system that exceeds the precision of a classical air displacement pipette while still retaining the ability to use closed vial (septa) setups. To encourage other groups to adapt this setup, detailed instructions and tips for every step of the process are provided, along with the complete CAD design of MULA and control code, which are freely available for download under the CC BY NC 3.0 license.



Technische Universitat Munchen


Chemistry, Catalysis, Cell Biology, Micromanipulation Handling System, Low-Cost Automation