Problem: As laboratory budgets tighten and laboratory automation purchases come under scrutiny, R&D efforts are still expected to function efficiently and with increased data quality. With this threshold of effectiveness raised, laboratories are often asked to repurpose instruments rather than migrate to state-of-the-art technology, which may have a new learning curve.
Scaling up also typically involves running more units in parallel; however, instruments can take up valuable space, making the surrounding workspaces noisy and crowded
Solution: Instruments such as Hamilton’s new platform, the Hamilton VANTAGE™, address many lab automation challenges, saving labor costs while eliminating outdated bulky systems.
“This single system can easily replace four to six other pipetting robots, offering more functionality," says Alvaro Cuevas, VANTAGE senior product manager. "Users can build process redundancy with a second robot at the same price.”
The Hamilton VANTAGE, in particular, offers users a spaceconscious, vertically integrated liquid handler with multiple technological advances to improve performance and flexibility.
The new NanoPulse™ technology provides contact-free pipetting over a wide volume range of 100 nL to 1 mL within a single channel, eliminating the need to change hardware between varying applications. The platform’s linear motors increase pipetting speed while decreasing noise, heat and vibration, allowing users to work in close proximity to the instrument and decreasing maintenance costs. Finally, the on-deck camera enhances traceability by identifying and verifying all labware on the system and even detecting nonbarcoded labware.
Flexibility extends past the technology to include the expandable nature of the platform. Labs can upgrade their single benchtop pipettor at any time with a Logistics Cabinet and its accessories. Upgrades may include innovative tip and plate shuttling from below the pipetting deck, a telescopic plate gripper, and sensors that control the customizable waste containers. The VANTAGE can accommodate 96-, 384- or 1,536-well plates to satisfy a variety of throughput needs.
To increase the productivity of lab personnel, the instrument can be remotely monitored from any mobile device, increasing walk-away time for technicians and offering lab managers remote visibility into project status.
The system's INSTINCT V software brings intelligence to laboratory automation to meet both simple and complex pipetting needs. From automatic labware transportation to advanced collision control, the system intelligently handles all robotic movements automatically, without programming. For increased efficiency, the Dynamic Scheduler optimizes run times of the same or different assays in parallel. The new CARE technology (Contamination Avoidance Response) also keeps track of all liquids, including those specified as contaminating substances, and will either warn the user or change tips automatically.
Pipetting and device integration using software like INSTINCT V is easy to execute, even for users with little or no automation experience. Drag-and-drop editors graphically display the plate processing workflow while automatically pre-programming robot movements behind the scenes. Once assays are written, 3D simulations offer additional opportunity for optimization before running the actual instrument.
Overall, platforms such as the Hamilton VANTAGE offer users a novel path to integration and automation intelligence in an affordable, user-friendly package, with the ability to meet application needs in the future.
For more information, visit www.hamiltonrobotics.com