Anyone here who’d like to share their experience in working with the Hamilton MLP? Seems like it would be a very different user experience in terms of software compared to other liquid handlers. Will the streamlined experience make any common tasks problematic? And are the labware-definitions limiting? If I’d put in a 96-slot tube-box that is similar-but-not-identical to a box that is defined, is that likely to cause problems?
My lab will take its first step into automation with either a 2010 tecan Evo (hand me down that requires some refurbishment), or a new machine. We will only do serum transfers from blood sample tubes to 96 slot boxes for the forseeable future(<10 boxes a day). Often according to a worklist, sometimes with pooling defined by said worklist. Since we don’t require high throughput, the MLP seems appealing at its price point and size. I’m gonna ask our local Hamilton rep ofc, but i’d love to hear any thoughts from users as well
Hi & welcome! I’ve used the Prep for a year or so and I’m a huge fan of the system. I’ve also used the EVO and that instrument is a total workhorse - if there’s one quick takeaway to learn here, it’s that you have two great options and you can’t really go wrong.
The ML Prep is much newer and has sophisticated scripting that is oriented towards ease of use while the EVO has some old school scripting that definitely has a higher ceiling than the Prep capabilities but require more development. That being said, there are some limitations to the Prep scripting environment that enable the user-friendly GUI, but it sounds like it wouldn’t slow down your work too much and you would likely benefit greatly from the ease of access.
TL:DR I’d recommend the Prep if you expect to do simple tasks and want your instrument to be accessible to your lab to learn and contribute with. The EVO would be a nice instrument if you have an experienced user with the software but you’d certainly need a “power user” to take over method development and process improvement. Also paging @Michael_Vuke to rep the Prep. He can answer your specific questions like about the labware library better than anyone else
Hey @Harambe (first, love the name!) – I’m the team lead for the ML PREP at Hamilton.
For the labware definition piece, we do free custom definitions, so I would recommend doing that vs. “lying” to the system. Want to avoid crashes and such. Would want to know more about what the labware was so I could confirm that it works in our space though.
I’m very biased, but I love the PREP! My email is michael.vuke @ hamiltoncompany . com – shoot me an email and I can get you plugged in with your local PREP specialist to talk through those nuances, let you play with the software, etc. : )
Thank you, and i appreciate the thorough answer! Glad to hear that both are great machines. I ran into and had a chat with the previous user of our Evo. He also called it a workhorse, high praise! He said it came with the TouchTools software, which seems to turn it into a pretty accessible machine. Probably a bargain when we can get it up and running for ~6k $ (12k $ if we want to update software to run on win 10, currently win 7).
Still, kinda scary to go for a old machine. It was actually delivered in 2005, with last service in 2012. It’s not seen significant use since then though, and has been properly stored. So it’s probably not a major issue, and at a 6k cost it wouldn’t need to last forever.
That being said, I might prefer if we could make a Prep work for this. The tiny footprint is a major boon for our relatively small lab. We also have other labs at my institute that could benefit from cheap and easy automation, for which the Prep appears to be uniquely suited. So experience with it could be invaluable!
Hey Michael, thanks Seems like i stumbled onto someone uniquely qualified!
That’s neat. Would we ship your offices a sample of the labware we use, or do product specs and pictures suffice? We use a couple of different tubes in like 4 different boxes, some from LVL and some from micronix iirc. Which box/tube depends if it’s going into into our Hamilton BiOS or not, we will often have two different boxes in a protocol, where one is for analysis and one for biobanking. All boxes are more or less equal in footprint.
The LVL-boxes look like this: https://www.biolab.com.sg/content/uploads/LVL-Kit-Rack-400x400.jpg.webp
Thanks alot for the offer! I’ve just started contact with our local Hamilton salesman (Hamilton Nordic), I’ll ask specifically about the Prep and hopefully he gets me some useful info. Btw, is there a simulator available for the Prep?
As I said to evwolfson, would be lovely to give the Prep a shot!
I’m glad to help! Since you’re working with the Nordic team, I’m going to defer to them on the process, because I’m not sure how the EU side of things handles labware definitions. In the US, you mail in the labware to Reno and we’ll do the definitions, take the pictures, etc. The EU side of Hamilton sometimes does things slightly differently than the US side, so I can’t speak to that with 100% certainty.
Looking at the boxes, it generally seems like those would work!