Maintenance Tip: Automated Liquid Handling
The signs that you should get your automated liquid handler serviced are fairly obvious. If the system is constantly experiencing glitches or producing inconsistent, unreliable results, it’s probably time to do some maintenance. Mechanical problems are another hint that you may want to call your service technician—these issues can include pipette tips being out of calibration, the deck not being “framed” correctly, belts being worn out, or the pipette stages being out of alignment.
Why is it important to know the typical sample volume being used?
Automated liquid handlers come in a seemingly endless variety of configurations, with many different specifications. An important one to consider is what minimum, or maximum dispensing volume is correct for your processes. If your sample volume is highly variable, getting a more robust station capable of low-range and high-range volume dispensing is worth considering.
Will process type and downstream analysis affect the type or set-up of automated liquid handler required?
With ever-increasing needs for high sample throughput and automation in laboratories, the available options for integrated automated liquid handling systems have increased dramatically. Whether you are looking to automate DNA/RNA preparation, PCR, ELISA tests, next generation sequencing, solid phase extractions, liquid-liquid extractions, or combination systems capable of barcode tracking as well, the possibilities are many in the liquid handling domain.
How does the sensitivity to contamination affect the type of automated liquid handler required?
As the instrumentation used to analyze samples becomes more sensitive, the methods used to transport and prepare the samples must become resistant to contamination to ensure no carryover occurs. In order to combat contamination, vendors have updated systems to use a variety of different materials for sample probes and sample flow areas, along with more proficient rinsing abilities. For low volume samples there are a variety of non-contact options which utilize a variety of different methods.
To learn more about automated liquid handlers, visit www.labmanager.com/ALH