Hamilton's sample preparation system for veterinary immuno-assays
In veterinary laboratories, Hamilton's sample preparation system automates the following two independent process steps for immuno-assays:
1. Registration of Samples in the LIMS System and Transfer of Samples into Deep Well Plates (DWP) for Storage.
This process consists of the following steps: The sample tubes are automatically loaded onto the deck of the MICROLAB STAR. During this process, the barcodes on the tubes are read and the information is transferred to the LIMS system. The samples are then transferred into barcode labelled DWP's. The MICROLAB SWAP plate handler transfers the DWP's for storage into high capacity storage systems. A number of special features have been implemented for increased process safety and ease of use:
- The system is constantly in "standby" mode - continuously checking for new samples on the sample loading tray. When a user has prepared new samples, they are loaded automatically onto the deck and the process starts. When finished, the tubes are automatically unloaded.
- Before transferring the sample to the DWP's, the STAR checks the quality of each sample. Thus samples that cannot be pipetted (e.g. due to clots) are detected by the STAR's proprietary pressure liquid level detection (pLLD).
- The quality of each pipetting action is tracked and the data are transferred to the LIMS system.
- Optimized methods are provided for blood from both cattle and pigs.
The system processes up to 2,500 samples per working day.
2. Preparation of Immuno-Assay Plates from Stored DWP's The user can choose from up to 25 different immuno-assays which have been pre-analyzed by the system.
The system calculates the most economical method by considering these parameters:
- Optimal number of samples per test
- Minimum plate movements required
- Early processing of prioritized samples
Based on the selected method, the system loads all required samples, reagents, target plates etc. onto the deck. The samples that have been selected for a test are then transferred from the DWP's to the target plates. This process is very fast, because the STAR can aspirate samples from 5 DWP's simultaneously due to two of HAMILTON's innovative technologies:
- Independent spreading of the channels allows free movement of the channels in the Y-axis and the Z-axis
- The sequence-oriented software is not restricted to processing only one plate at a time - it allows flexible hit-picking from several source plates
Processed plates are continuously placed in a dedicated output position, allowing the user to start the downstream processes in parallel.
A data output file is created for each target plate containing all relevant information. The file is then sent to the LIMS.
- Automated checking of sample quality using proprietary pressure liquid level detection
- Full sample tracking throughout the entire process and a link to the LIMS guarantees high process security and lossless data management
- Continuous loading of samples increases flexibility and throughput
- Advanced method selection tool allows economical method selection
- Fast hit-picking thanks to independent channel spread and flexible software
- Fully automated and redundant system concept guarantees high throughput and a high level of process security and stability
- Two MICROLAB STAR 8 channels with autoload option and barcode scanner
- Wash station for high volume needles • iSWAP for internal plate handling
- MICROLAB SWAP 1400 for external plate handling • LICONIC StoreX 500 cooled plate storage system for 500 DWP’s
- LICONIC MPH 189 plate hotel for loading empty DWP’s into the system and unloading processed DWP’s from the system
- Labware-specific carriers (e.g. Petri dish)
- Datalogic GRYPHON M100 hand barcode scanner to scan Petri dish barcodes
- MICROLOGIC MS7120 barcode scanner to scan DWP barcodes using the MICROLAB SWAP
- APC Matrix-UPS to allow the controlled shut down of the system and to prevent data loss during power failures