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2014-15 Product Resource Guide: Microplate Handlers and Readers

Get fun facts about microplate technology, lists of questions to ask when buying microplate handlers and readers, the most recent microplate handler and reader releases, and an updated microplate handler and reader manufacturer's list in this section.

Top 4 Things You May Not Know About Microplate Technology

1. In 1951, Dr. Gyula Takátsy created the first microplate by constructing 6 rows of 12 wells into a block of acrylic, which were used in place of test tubes. During the same timeframe, Dr. Takátsy also developed the first form of a microplate automation tool, a loop that mixed and transferred a pre-defined volume from one well to another. This was used in serial dilution testing.

2. While working at NIH (National Institutes of Health) Dr. John Sever saw the need to mechanize the loop system being used for serial dilution in order to keep up with the demands of the Rubella vaccine program being launched by NIH. He teamed up with Cooke Engineering to begin manufacturing a more automated loop system. With the help of Frank Cooke, they introduced the first manufactured screw machines loops and droppers called the Microtiter®. Lab technicians held between 8 and 12 loops in their hands while twirling them and moving them from row to row in a plate. While this was still a manual process, it provided a vast improvement in throughput and accuracy.

3. Perhaps one of the most common applications for microplates started to take form when the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in London began using microplates for ELISA (Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay) diagnostics and quality control techniques in 1974.

4. One of the most important evolutions of the microplate was led by the SBS (Society for Bimolecular Screening) and a key group of manufacturers who set out to establish standards that all microplates would meet going forward. The standardization in 1998 led to an increased ability to develop automation equipment to move, sort and wash plates in future instruments. All microplate manufacturers at this time modified their production equipment to the exact specifications of the new microplate standards.

For the Top 6 Questions You Should Ask When Buying a Microplate Handler and the Top 8 Questions You Should Ask When Buying a Microplate Reader, click here.

Need more help in finding the right microplate reader for you? Check out our Microplate Readers Product Finder.

Recently Released Microplate Handlers & Readers

Multiskan GO Microplate Spectrophotometer

  • Reads microplates, cuvettes and Thermo Scientific μDrop™ plates in microliter-scale measurements
  • Can easily be connected to automated systems
  • A broad wavelength range including UV as well as pathlength correction and fast reading speed make it suited for any photometric research application, including DNA/RNA and protein analysis
  • Can be controlled as a stand-alone instrument

Thermo Fisher Scientific 

LabElite I.D. Reader Barcode Reading Device

  • Offers users a reliable device for tracking samples in the laboratory
  • Automatically decodes 2-D barcoded tubes on all common tube racks, including honeycomb-shaped racks, providing complete sample tracking during sample processing
  • Features automated rack type detection and integrated 1-D barcode reading
  • Provides efficiency, flexibility and ease-of-use for the user

Hamilton Storage Technologies 

EMax Plus Microplate Reader

  • Designed for labs just starting up or looking to extend capabilities with affordable, yet reliable instrumentation
  • Measures 96-well plates and comes with eight standard filter modes to cover the entire visible range
  • Includes multiple licenses to the SoftMax® Pro software for endpoint and kinetic analysis of microplate data

Molecular Devices 

MultiFlo FX Multi-Mode Dispenser

  • Now available with optional RAD™ (Random Access Dispense) technology to further extend its application range and flexibility
  • RAD technology offers single-channel dispensing to random individual microplate wells along with rapid reagent dispensing into large volume wells of 6- to 24- well microplates
  • Can also be separately configured with an optional wash module for 6- to 384-well plates


Microplate Handler & Reader Manufacturers


Applied Biosystems 

Beckman Coulter 

Berthold Technologies 






Douglas Scientific 

Hamilton Storage Technologies 

Hudson Robotics 

Molecular Devices 


Phenix Research Products 

Tecan Trading AG  

Thermo Fisher Scientific