From Clark Hamilton’s Microliter® Syringe to Leading Laboratory Automation Technology, Hamilton’s expertise in liquid handling goes back to the development of the revolutionary Microliter® syringe in 1947 by the company founder Clark Hamilton. The strategy of the company has been to grow through innovations based on its core competence in liquid handling and to favor high quality products over short-term profits. The advent of automation in the laboratory was anticipated early. In 1970, Hamilton had already introduced the first semi-automated diluter. The first fully automated workstation for sample preparation followed in 1980. Today’s STAR line instruments represent the latest development in a series of innovative liquid handling workstations. Thousands of Hamilton liquid handling workstations are serving customers in laboratories all over the world, some of the instruments with a track record of over 15 years.
The HAMILTON Family
Flat hierarchies and openness have kept the innovative spirit and a familiar atmosphere among the approximately 1000 employees in the USA and Europe. Hamilton coexists in Reno, NV, USA and Bonaduz, Switzerland. The decentralized R&D organization benefits both production and marketing, and allows Hamilton to stay close to the local markets and respond quickly to market needs. We regard the quality of our employees as one of the key elements at Hamilton. Our qualified staff is continually trained to keep up with advancing technologies. In the assembly of the instrument, every technician is responsible for one instrument throughout the entire process. Signing off “their” instrument before final testing is not only part of our quality management procedure, but also a symbol of the pride our staff takes in their work.
Quality Thinking in Research, Development & Manufacturing
Over the lifetime of an instrument, each component needs to withstand mechanical stress. Particularly, each of the STAR’s pipetting channels goes through 500,000 to 1 million cycles in its lifetime. To evaluate the reliability of the design, the pipetting channels were tested for 10 million cycles in our research and development departments. In order to be in complete control of the quality of our instruments, the most important components are manufactured in-house, particularly complex mechanic parts. These parts are manufactured to the tightest tolerances in our own precision machine shops. Our philosophy for building instruments of the highest reliability is to test each module with criteria that are stricter than those for the whole instrument. Instrument testing is fully automated to avoid any variances due to human interaction. Once the instrument has passed all tests successfully, it is configured with the specific modules and accessories for the customer’s application and has to pass yet another test. Because we also manufacturer life support equipment, Hamilton is compliance with ISO 9001, GMP and FDA.