What is high throughput laboratory automation?
This is not an easy question to answer, because there is no straightforward definition of high throughput. Off course the numbers of samples are an important factor, but this is quite relative. A pharma company can screen over 150.000 data points per day, where a blood bank may isolate DNA out of 96 sampler per day. Both examples can be classified as high throughput laboratory automation. This is because of another important factor, the complexity of the assay. When an assay will contain less steps, it is easier to increase your throughput. On the other hand, waiting times within your process can decrease your throughput. This doesn’t have to be a big issue, the software for a high throughput laboratory system can use this time to process other steps or start with the preparation of new samples.
Types of High Throughput Laboratory Automation
If we look at the two examples in the previous paragraph, we can conclude that high throughput can come in many forms. This means that the solution for an automated laboratory process also results in different platforms. The blood bank in the example above will probably need a liquid handling platform with a large deck size to fit all the tubes, plates and pipetting tips, like the Lynx from Dynamic Devices. The pharma company on the contrary will work in very small volumes and needs (third party) equipment to automate the entire workflow in an automation platform like the Bionex Hive. This platform has a vertical design to facilitate the integration of a large number of instruments and storage in a relatively small footprint.
Storage on your high throughput automation system
One of the important accessories to consider is the storage of your consumables. When working with a lot of micro titer plates (like in the example of the pharma company in the first paragraph), it can be wise to add a storage compartment to your high throughput platform. This allows plates to be loaded and unloaded during runs, eliminating traditional deck resetting time.
Needs, wishes and future goals of your high throughput automation system
Depending on your application(s) the configuration of the high throughput automation system will vary. A high throughput automation system will be configured to match your needs and wishes. We always advise to not only think of your present applications, but also consider future needs and wishes. In most cases it will be possible to change your high throughput automation system, but this can be expensive and complex.
Service and Support on your high throughput automation system
An investment as large as needed for the purchase of a high throughput laboratory automation system needs to be maintained properly. After all, when buying a car, maintenance is a big part of the prolonged operation of the vehicle. To make sure your system lasts as long as possible, we can offer the proper service level. This is depending on the daily use and the complexity of the application. The preventive maintenance is performed by a certified engineer. As the high throughput laboratory automation system is customized, so can the maintenance subscription be customized.
High throughput laboratory automation can come in many forms. Depending on your application(s) different types of platforms are available. Don’t forget to think ahead about future goals, to ensure that your high throughput automation system will still fit your need and wishes. Another consideration is the footprint of a system. How much lab space do you have available for a high throughput automation system? As customization is a big part of the configuration, it can also be applied to the service and support.
When you are not sure which platform is the best fit with your situation, please contact us to go through your specifications. Together we will be able to find the best solution for you.