Simplify daily tasks with automation technology
Watch this on-demand webinar to learn about a flexible platform that automates your liquid handling tasks to increase your labs’ research output
Michelle Lyons, Principal Scientist at Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies, Mary Trudeau, Consultant Sample Preparation and Automation Scientist at Waters Corporation, and Matthew Champion, Associate Professor at the University of Notre Dame
Time is precious. You only have a certain number of hours in a day, so how can you be more efficient? Would you like to be able to push a button and let a robot do all those tedious but critical pipetting tasks?
In this three-part webinar series, now available on demand, scientists share their experiences and successes with the Andrew+ pipetting robot. This technology uses conventional laboratory pipettes and follows all the steps in software. Learn how to take advantage of automation and use Andrew+ to gain efficiency and future-proof your methods, whatever your lab needs.
Register now to watch the webinar on demand and read highlights from the Q&A discussion moderated by Matthew Champion, Associate Professor at the University of Notre Dame, and Michelle Lyons, Senior Scientist at Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies:
How does this technology compare to other technologies currently available?
CM: These are cost and throughput desires for a particular robot. We really like how the robot behaves like a student in the sense that you use the same kind of plastic, tubes, tips and pipettes as a student.
We have tried several different automation and semi-automated solutions over the years. The cost of what was needed to redevelop workflows on a more traditional bridge-style robot, versus the number of samples we analyze in the lab, was not competitive.
This particular robotics integration is quite competitive, so it is easy to integrate into mid-size labs, university labs, or an industrial environment.
How important and beneficial has the automation component of technology been to your work?
CM: We had a gap in our lab for solid phase extraction type preparations to feed into the instruments, so we looked for an automated solution. The first methods we built from the robot were micro-scale, desalting, and then more macro solid-phase extraction which is more familiar to the non-proteomics crowd.
This is now the default way people in my lab prepare samples on the backend for mass spectrometry. It’s nice to see that they just walk up to the robot, click a few buttons, and walk away.
How much pipetting can be done in one go?
CM: It’s a bit slower than a person, but it doesn’t take a break so that’s really the advantage. The robot also supports multi-channel pipettes, so you can swap eight-channel pipettes as opposed to single-channel pipettes. For our work, it’s more of a serial nature.
The single channel pipettes worked well, although you could scale it to eight channels if you were doing reagent reservoirs or constant addition of samples to a full plate. This would reduce your prep time by a factor of eight.
The robot can support about 16-18 bridge elements. So, depending on the exact number of tubes you were dispensing into, you could probably support 384 samples for many applications without having to change tips. If you did multiple dispenses where you used a tip repeatedly, you could do many, many more samples. If you think of just one tip per type of job where you tip, you could tip 384 without having to switch decks.
What maintenance is required for the system and the pipettes?
ML: There is very little maintenance required. It’s a general cleaning with water and a paper towel. We have found that the most important maintenance is that of the pipettes. They have a cage on them which the arm uses to connect to the robot and pick it up. We find that if we ever lost the Bluetooth connection between the pipette and the robot, if we cleaned the sensors with a cloth soaked in ethanol, it ensured that the connection between the pipette arm and the pipette was working.
How do you control the Andrew+ robot?
ML: We control it from our laptop via Wi-Fi as we use a completely online version of the software called OneLab. Andrew+ itself is plugged into the network switch which you can see outside the hood. Once it’s plugged into your network and you have the online version of the software, you can do everything remotely. If you can’t get that open access, you can get a standalone version of Andrew+ where you have your standard one-computer setup on the side, and everything is wired.
Can the Andrew+ save the steps he has taken?
ML: Yes, the Andrew+ records everything it does. Once your protocol has finished working, there is a part of the software that says exactly what it did electronically.
You can create a PDF of this protocol and save it to your network drive with your results. What is detailed in the report is when the scan started, when it ended, which analyst was controlling the Andrew+ to do this scan, what protocol was used, and any devices they used with serial numbers.
It will also record pipette serial numbers and tell you which reagents have been placed in which wells, or which bottles and the positions of these on the Andrew+. After all this information, he then details exactly what steps he performed when and how long it took. If there were any errors, they would also be detailed there.
To learn more about the Andrew+ pipetting robot, watch the on-demand webinar >>
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