How Automating Elisa Assay Processing Works

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Problem: ELISA assays are a workhorse assay used in pharmaceutical research and molecular diagnostic labs. This assay can be a high-volume service area for contract labs. However, many IVD labs and CROs have difficulty in cost-effectively scaling their ELISA workflow to meet customer demand. This simple assay becomes deceptively complex: time sensitive steps and subtle workflow changes between different tests can be challenging to process as throughput increases. Reagent costs can cut further into tight operating margins. At some point manual processing becomes too challenging from an IVD compliance and operational perspective. Automating the laboratory’s workflow is the answer—but it can seem difficult to implement and expensive.

Microlab ELISA STARlet Workstation.

Solution: One option for dealing with such issues is a new module Hamilton Robotics has launched for the Microlab® STAR workstation that automates an ELISA workflow. The ELISA STARlet module can expand a technician’s productivity by processing up to ten plates with minimal hands-on time, enabling walk away automation and time efficiency.

The Microlab STAR liquid handling system provides one of the simplest and most adaptable solutions for medium to high throughput labs to acquire automation. The ELISA module is a dedicated instrument for fully automated processing of ELISAs. This system is priced favorably to other automation solutions in the same class. Process control for the instrument meets CE-IVD 98/79 directives and is designed for long walk-away times.

The deck layout features an intuitive left to right workflow. On deck are all of the integrated devices needed to process an assay: two ten-position incubator towers, multi-flex carriers, sample tube carriers, reagent reservoir carriers, plate carriers, and nested tip carriers that can hold up to 1,920 tips, a microplate reader, shakers and washers. A clean plate entry and plate exit feature enables plates to exit into a holding space, rather than the waste container. This enables the technician to visually inspect the plate, read the plate on a different instrument or follow any specific directions for plate disposal.

Programming for the VELISA software is driven by GUI– enabled wizards and is easy to program. Application specialists can provide a demo to users’ labs as well as assist with automating their protocols. An assay editor wizard enables users to customize individual plate layouts, replica lanes to a user’s workflow. The run editor enables users to create a run with a single assay or combine assays into batches—a benefit for labs running multiple assays with varying throughput levels.

Run execution is managed seamlessly at each step by the software. Sample loading is accomplished when the autoloader reads the barcodes from the tubes, plates, containers and records lots, liquid levels and checks for the presence of plates. The software calculates and communicates the need for consumables and disposables to the technician. An easy to understand overview is displayed on the monitor outlining where user interaction is needed. Modules like the Microlab ELISA STARlet are designed to maximize efficiency for the high-volume service needs of laboratories at the forefront of biomedical research and clinical testing.

For more information, visit: http://www.hamiltonrobotics.com/ hamilton-robotics/standard-solutions/elisa-star/

Categories: How it Works

Published In

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Herding Cats

Published: July 1, 2013

Cover Story

Herding Cats

Lab managers make no secret of their desire for a bigger serving of commitment and cooperation from their staff scientists and technicians. However, dealing with such highly trained and knowledgeable workers can prove challenging. Managers need to create environments in which their staff can become energized, motivated, cooperative, and committed.

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