Have you ever wondered how your medical laboratory blood or urine tests are completed so quickly and accurately? Thanks to automated liquid handling equipment, laboratories can turn around tests and get results into your hands within a few hours!
Robotic mechanisms called liquid handling machines are the workhorse of laboratory test equipment. These multi-axis gantry machines perform dozens of tasks traditionally done manually by laboratory technicians at a much slower rate.
They perform time-consuming and precision-oriented tasks flawlessly and repeatably. They are indispensable to modern laboratory testing methods.
Let’s dive in to discover why these machines are so important.
What is Liquid Handling Technology and How Is It Used
Liquid handling machines are robotic equipment engineered to automate the handling and processing of liquid samples and components in a laboratory environment. Furthermore, “liquid handling” is a broad term applied to machines with many functionalities. Still, the critical function performed by these machines involves the delivery of chemical reagents to samples.
A chemical reagent is a fancy name for a chemical added to a sample to catalyze a specific reaction. The sample can then be identified using various laboratory techniques depending on the test by examining the underlying reaction and the examination of what occurs after the reagent is added.
Liquid handling machines are typically outfitted with numerous tubes and pipettes that efficiently dispense the liquid in precise quantities every time as needed for each application.
Because it’s a robotic process, these machines are used in high throughput applications as the operations can be performed quickly and efficiently. Robotic automation reduces the risk of errors and liquid contamination as the workflow can be carefully planned and considered.
Liquid handling protocols and machine tools are used for many advanced biological mechanisms and methods, such as RNA or DNA purification, cellular culture, and PCR/Sequencing. Liquid Handling is also used extensively in all aspects of drug discovery and genomic research. Liquid handling equipment helps to minimize or nearly eradicate contamination in testing inconsistencies.
Commonly Used Components
Liquid handling systems are engineered to key design parameters to meet functional laboratory requirements. These include the number of samples to be processed daily, available laboratory footprint space, capital equipment budget, and reconfigurability.
Simple operations like pipetting and liquid dispensing can be performed on smaller, lower throughput machines, while larger, more expensive machines can perform complex functions simultaneously.
You may not have realized that these compact machines comprise dozens of configurable machine components. Some of the most common components include:
- Roller Slide Rails
- Aluminum Extrusion
- Shaft Collars
- Indexing Plungers
- Belt-Driven Actuators
- Linear Shafts
- Rotary Shafts
- Fulcrum Pins
- Cam Followers
Notable Manufacturers of Liquid Handling Technology
It is also important to highlight some names you will see with liquid handling on the market today. Manufacturers include the following:
- Perkin Elmer
- Beckman Coulter
MISUMI partners with engineers in the medical lab and automation industry to speed up design builds without compromising quality. MISUMI offers a configurable model that provides over 80 Sextillion configurations and partners with renowned third-party brands, creating a one-stop shop for all your needs. Click here to learn more.