Automation has been increasingly prevalent in laboratories of all kinds, helping to improve efficiency at every step along the way. Many new products being introduced in 2022 and the last quarter of 2021 share the same goal, even without automated aspects. With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to impact in-person work in many places, time-saving and automation are perhaps more important than ever before.
In-person events are still going ahead in some cases, such as the annual Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening (SLAS) International Conference and Exhibition taking place February 5th-9th in Boston. Here we explore some of the new products being featured at the conference that share the time-saving theme.
The new μPULSE-TFF system from Formulatrix, which has been nominated for the new product award at SLAS2022, presents an alternative to traditional centrifuges for sample concentration and diafiltration. A fully-automated system, the μPULSE uses tangential flow filtration (TFF) to concentrate samples up to 2.5x faster than dead-end filtration in centrifuges, alongside an option to conduct diafiltration to facilitate buffer exchange or desalting processes. With the ability to handle starting volumes from 2 – 100 mL, this system offers much more flexibility than centrifugal concentrators and traditional TFF systems.
Easy to set up and easy to maintain, the μPULSE uses disposable filter chips that make it easy to keep the system clean and prevent any cross-contamination, but can also be reused up to hundreds of mL (although this depends on sample and cutoff sizes used). Samples are recirculated through the system with the built-in diaphragm pump so they start and end in the original tube. Your samples can also be remotely monitored and controlled through a web-based application, so you can simply set your parameters and walk away to work on other things. With its faster concentration times and reliable automation, the μPULSE is sure to be a time-saver in many labs.
Another new alternative to traditional methods, the EMnetik 24 system from Beckman Coulter, a bead-based DNA cleanup system that semi-automates workflows while drastically reducing the amount of time required to achieve a PCR cleanup. Built using electromagnets, the system and its accompanying EMnetik PCR Cleanup Kit and EMnetik Plasmid Purification Kit uses revolutionary magnetic bead-based technology to clean nucleic acids in a stationary device.
With the EMnetik 24 system, touchpoints to complete PCR cleanup are significantly reduced by up to 80%, slashing 300 touchpoints to just 50. Alongside the reduced touchpoints, the streamlined cleanup process and semi-automation also help to eliminate the potential for errors. The small yet powerful benchtop instrument can run 1-24 samples at a time, making it quite versatile. PCR cleanup can also be achieved in 16 minutes, down from 30 minutes expediting and improving bead mixing and separation. Replacing your typical time-consuming column cleanup steps with the EMnetik system will help bring your PCR cleanup and plasmid prep into the 21st century.
Pipettes are a true lab essential, and also a time consuming pain point for a lot of labs. As such, many companies are coming out with new products designed to save time by increasing efficiency and reducing errors. Integra Biosciences has just released their own cost-effective answer to this pain point in the form of the MINI 96, a compact, semi-automated 96 channel electronic pipette.
With a footprint about the size of a 96 well plate, the MINI 96 fits on any bench space in any lab. It is also extremely light weight, allowing for easy portability if required. Operation of the system is also highly intuitive with no formal training required — simply turn on and start pipetting, guided by the logical menu navigation. The most affordable 96 channel option currently on the market, it enables simultaneous whole plate pipetting — as well as partial plate filling — to ensure that your lab’s productivity skyrockets compared to 8 and 12 channel pipettes.
Corning Life Sciences has also announced a new affordable semi-automated benchtop pipettor, to be released later this quarter. The Lambda™ EliteMax will be able to support a variety of activities, from simple plate fillings to complex protocol requirements. This new liquid handler will be one of the products featured by Corning at SLAS2022, so tune in to learn more.
Time-saving through automation and increased efficiency will continue to be a theme throughout 2022 and beyond. Many companies have been shifting focus to this area, for lab essentials and more. Keep an eye out for new innovations, featured here on LabX and at the in-person and virtual conferences throughout the year.