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Applications of an Automated Microplate Stacking Device for HTS and Multi-Instrument InterfaceDownload
February 26, 2004
Authors: Paul Held and Jason Greene, BioTek Instruments, Inc. Winooski, VT 05404
This poster shown at Lab Automation, February 2-4, 2003
Today’s microplate automation spans the range from multi-channel pipettes to large, robotic HTS systems. One popular type of automation is the microplate stacker that allows the unattended loading and unloading of microplates to automated devices for batch processing. Unfortunately, most stacker devices are integrated with each device at the time of manufacture, limiting their utility to that single device. To overcome this limitation, BioTek has developed the Bio-Stack™, a stand-alone microplate stacking device that easily integrates with several different products without factory installation or recalibration. The Bio-Stack interfaces directly with the ELx405™ Series microplate washers, the industry standard in 96- and 384-well automated microplate washing technology, as well as the µFill™, a continuous, rapid reagent dispenser. Several automated microplate readers are also compatible, including the PowerWave™ Series of scanning absorbance spectrophotometers and the Synergy™ HT Series multi-detection readers. This unique stacker can be easily transitioned from one instrument to another in minutes without time-consuming recalibration. The Bio-Stack has been designed around durable and reliable technology, resulting in an extremely small footprint, quiet operation and remarkable speed. It delivers or retrieves a microplate in less than 8 seconds. Each easily removable stack accommodates 30 standard 96- or 384-well microplates. The microplate grippers are spring loaded to prevent dropping plates in the event of an untimely loss of power. During startup, onboard diagnostic routines verify correct positioning of all carriers and motor axes, and during operations, monitors for errors. A PC software interface allows for intuitive programming of reader interface routines, including multiple reading protocols per batch, while the programming of stand-alone devices (e.g., ELx405 washer and µFill dispenser) takes place via the device’s keypad. The Bio-Stack’s diminutive footprint (7' W x 18' L x 25' H) saves precious bench space and fits in most biosafety cabinets or chemical fume hoods.