Chemspeed Swing Platform Review 2024

Chemspeed, is a Swiss based laboratory equipment provider for both research and industrial level applications. The “flex platform” and the “Swing” (as well as SwingXL) are the hardware supplied by Chemspeed with the latter being the focus of this review. For the purpose of the review we had access to a Swing (similar to pictured) equipped with the gravimetric dispensing unit (GDU), volumetric liquid transfer system with syringe diluters, 2 reactors and transport tools. Also equipped, several vial racks with compatible vials for equipped reactors.

Start-Up and Requirements

The platform is controlled by the interprocess communication (IPC) system, where after the  the required peripheral requirements are operational the power to the platform can be switched on and the machine is active. Here the PC on the control unit starts up and allows access to the Chemspeed provided software package. This is comprised of the application editor, application executor and driver manager. Each respective program has it’s place in daily running of the machine. 

The application editor is the place to generate applications, defining all tasks to be carried out, solid and liquid transfers, reaction macros tasks, etc.. More detail is described below. 

The executor in the new versions of the AutoSuite package, is sort of integrated into the application editor as this is where you launch the executor. Older versions required separate launching of the executor. Within the executor you can intuitively, execute your applications but also simulate them. Again more on this later.

The driver manager where here here is many for configuration of new tool additions and some manual functions e.g. moving the robotic head and opening up the drawers and hood of the reactors for cleaning and maintenance.

Generally the start up and immediate function of the machine is very easy and allows you to begin to create programmes for execution quickly.  


Application Editor

Source: Chemspeed.com

The first step of designing applications on the machine is setting up the ‘zones’ of your platform. This is essentially drag and dropping the particular vial racks and reactor blocks you have in your platform so you can tell the machine where and when to move them. Also you have to define the solids in the solid dispensing vials and the solvent reservoir bottles you have in the machine. We have the 4-needle head, 4- syringe liquid dispensing system and figuring out where to define these zones was a little difficult as it’s not where the bottles of placed its the respective tubing feeding the syringe pump system. 

Once this is finished and all zones assigned you can begin the ‘task editor’ seen in the image above as the ‘T’ marked page in the top tool bar.  Now you can begin to create a ‘Macro’ task, which comprises of several small tasks carried out in the defined sequence by the robotic platform. For example you can see a ‘Transfer Gravimetrically’ task which is dispensing liquid or solid from one source zone to another destination. Then for example, after transferring all necessary reagents, you could transfer vials to and from the reactor you have equipped to carry out a particular reaction. You control and define the heating and other reaction parameters from this editor. Here you define where the vial ends up afterwards and can carry out subsequent work up. This requires some foresight to arrange your platform with separate zones for pre-reaction and workup zones which forgetting to do this causes headache when designing an application, trust us.. 

This application is easy to use with some difficulty in planning the zones, but once you have some experience with the zoning and task logic it becomes much easier. However to fully implement and make the best use of the machine through the editor this is more difficult. For example say you want to carry out some optimisation experiments on a simple reaction. Creating incremental changes to conditions for instance temperature, reagent amounts or time this requires some code to be inputted. And again this means more initial planning and editing on the application side, which is time spent not running the machine. It would be nice if this function of small changes to conditions of subsequent reactions could be done editor without having to delve into variables. 

Application Executor

Once your application is finished and ready to run, the application executor is where it’ll be run and monitored. Simply open the file of your application and wait. When we say wait, it does take some time for the application to load and to initialise the platform. All instrumetns and devices on the platform currently must be initialised before the application is ready to run even if it is not in use. Take the microwave optimisation experiments for example, our MTP pressure block is not in use but will need to be initialised and this takes some time. But once you’ve been to make a coffee and returned it’ll be ready to press that exciting ‘Start’ button for your first run. Seeing the machine spring into life for the first time is rather exciting as the robotic arm moves and collects the right tool for it’s current task. Sometimes it’s programmed movement is a little curious in the way it rotates and positions itself but nevertheless of it goes carrying out those experiments you didn’t want to spend a couple of weeks doing yourself. 

From the executor page you can monitor the progress of reactions and export charts and data to excel for later use. It is enjoyable to come back at regular intervals to see the progress of the machine and to see the needle head liquid handling system carry out those reaction workups that you despise doing yourself. You can place in your application editor a sound to be played once the task has been finished which is highly recommended if you want to watch the worry in your colleagues in the labs when the robot starts talking to them.    

Overview and Review

Chemspeed are market leaders in these automated laboratory tables and the package they have put together shows you why. The editor and execution of tasks requires little programming knowledge and you can easily carry out simple reactions with no problem on these platforms. However anything more complex and consisting of many small steps this might need more training and experience. Of course once purchasing a machine, training and support is provided and they have always been extra helpful in assisting in requests. Although this is a wider issue in lab robotics, it’s relevant here, if a similar time is spent configuring the machine than carrying out the reaction yourself by ‘hand’ then what’s the point in the robot? 

Of course there will still be some things that it is easy to do yourself, but it’s very easy to quickly understand how and when the Chemspeed Swing is the best tool for the job, for instance many similar repetitive tasks which is what these machines were designed for. 



  • Very easy software package to create and run applications
  • Allows multiple sequenced reactions to be run in non-lab working hours
  • Many attachments available to suit your individual needs
  • Helpful support and training system
  • Great data handling and reaction progress monitoring


  • Expensive consumables and parts, making each reaction run a little pricey more so when considering the price of the machine
  • Harder to integrate for complex process
  • Slow initiation and launching of applications (Note: This is improving with recent software updates but these updates do cost)
  • Software sometimes unresponsive and crashes