Do people use this much?
It’s our workhorse here. Literally the only CE-SDS instrument with it’s kind of throughput (1.5 min per sample). Not amenable to automation at all…You can do the sample prep semi-automated though. The chip and system prep can only be done manually. We tried having it integrated onto our Green Button Go system, but the chips are too finicky and they don’t have any open API, so there’s literally no way to communicate with it. What did you want to know about it?
Yes we use it also for protein work and as it’s often used in robocolumn workflows I was surprised to not see it here but I guess technically a post liquid handler device. I agree with all your points. We have been having robustness and reliability issues recently which is discouraging users, are you noticing this, particularly if you are working with proteins? We are still using HT Protein Express reagents at 40s per sample and havent switched to the newer slightly slower clear assay so wondering if that may be a factor.
Yes. The finicky-ness is a basically a feature of the chips. We can get about 800-1000 samples out of a HT Protein Express chip on a good day. One thing we’ve learned is that the chip reagents have caused us problems in the past. Something about their QC is causing lots of reagents to fail prematurely. I would probably keep several different batch lots of their reagents on hand in-case one goes bad. And keep their tech support on the line to get them to replace failed lots. Track the number of samples you get per chip and also keep track of the time your chip has been sitting on the system. It’s a crapshoot as to when the chip decides to give up on itself. I would love to point you to other technologies, but the Labchip is really the fastest out there.
Agreed, good to know others are exeriencing the same (although obviously not ideal). As we are not at the volume you are, users do move to alternates. I was interested in the Tapestation as an alternative but that only does DNA and RNA and not sure of time per sample. Other CE vendors are increasing parallellisation of samples (SCIEX) or reducing run times (Maurice Turbo)
Ping me in a week and I can give you TapeStation sample times.
Having worked for PE for multiple years and part of my team supporting LabChip GX and GXII (all in a previous life obviously), I can only validate this feedback. It is a great instrument and technology, but the chips and reagents can have quality issues. Record the batches and numbers of samples you can run per chip and do this diligently. If you can provide their tech support with the right data, they’re usually pretty good in sending replacements. On the topic of automating this device - as mentioned before - big nono. Alternatives would indeed be Sciex PA800 if you’re able to compromise on throughput and last I heard, ProteinSimple ( ProteinSimple | Instruments Powering Protein Research | Bio-Techne) was on the rise as well.