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Image of microplate and SOLO arm for article on auto plate loading.
Published On: July 13th, 2021

Microplate robots have advanced the availability of automated qPCR and ELISA and many other applications and assays in laboratories that rely on studying genetics, nucleic acids, and antibodies rapidly and accurately in the animal, plant, and microorganism cells.These microplate handling systems can incorporate a wide array of peripheral devices including a 96 well plate dispenser, a microplate washer, and a microplate reader to perform all the steps of the qPCR process without the need for significant technician intervention.

The primary barrier to automated laboratories used to be the need for a programmer to teach the robots to perform the procedures correctly, in the right order, with the proper reagents, and in the correct amounts. With the advancement of more advanced drag-and-drop icon based methods development, it is now easy for a laboratory scientist to configure microplate robot methods without any specialized education or advanced training. The scientist can easily change the tool based on the desired gene number, size, number of samples, and other variables.

Read on to learn how to maximize the return on your investment in automated laboratory equipment.

Microplate Robots

Microplate robots are automatic machines that move microplates around a workspace so that processes can occur, such as liquid addition or transfer with microplate washers, specialized incubators, and microplate readers, which obtain your results by measuring fluorescence, absorbance, or luminescence after biological, chemical, biochemical, or physical reactions occurring in the well. Other possible results include fluorescence polarization and time-resolved fluorescence. In short, microplate handling systems are tremendously versatile, with the microplate robots capable of performing all of the functions done by technicians.

Functions of Microplate Robots

There are a plethora of potential uses for a microplate robot. These include moving microplates from stacks or nests and into:.

  • Incubators
  • A microplate washer where microplate robots ensure consistent and perfect washes;
  • microplate readers, which detect the end result of assays or other means of quantitation providing consistently precise and accurate results.

Return on Investment for Microplate Handling Systems

In the short term, adding any piece of robotic equipment to your laboratory is going to be costly.

Beyond the cost of the equipment itself, you may need to modify your physical lab configuration, add electrical circuits, and adjust how space is currently being used in your lab.

In addition, the cost of electricity, supplies, and maintenance of the microplate robots can initially stretch budgets.

However, over and over again, laboratories that have invested in automated technology with robots have found their investment return more than outweighs the initial costs and inconveniences.

Automatic microplate-loading benefits include:

  • More throughput – by running extended, unattended hours, the throughput of your lab can dramatically increase, for example, the throughput for running extended hours for a ELISA assay can be increased by 2 – 3 times through automation of ELISA assays.
  • The costs of performing any analysis using microplate robots is minimal compared with standard techniques performed by technicians.
  • The sample size required for reproducible testing can be decreased.
  • The risk to technicians of contact and harm from contact with biological or biochemical hazards decreases as automation increases.
  • Overall, staff satisfaction is greater with more automation.
  • With common 96 well microplates, scores of samples and/or various experiments can be performed simultaneously, saving countless hours and the cost of supplies.
  • The reproducibility of tests (defined by precision and accuracy measurements) is significantly more consistent with a microplate handling system versus technician-performed tests.

Contact Hudson Robotics today to request a consultation, learn more about our Microplate Robots, or see how we can help you with a host of automation options to meet all of your laboratory needs.