What are your favorite washers and dispensers for integration and why?
Would you rather go with separate instruments or an all-in-one?
And finally, do you see any reason to keep a liquid handler in the system or are modern washer/dispenser flexible enough for e.g. cell-based assays?
Hi, Just sharing my opinion. Biotek are really nice and easy to integrate, we’ve been working a lot with the 406 washer. The cons are that the washer get easily clogged (depending on what you are washing/dispensing) and it can become a nightmare to clean.
I’ve started looking at the C.Wash instrument that looks like a great replacement (using centrifugation to wash it can’t get clogged), I’ll be testing it in the following months and probably post once it’s tested.
We’ve been taking a peak at possibly getting a C.Wash or a Bluewasher. We have someone with experience with a Bluewasher and everyone they have spoken to about it says its a gamechanger in writing workflows, especially for ELISAs and magbeads. While talking to the sales rep for the C.Wash, they told me the centrifuge mechanism is from the same manufacturer as the Bluewasher, so if anything they should behave at least the same. Both systems are a smidge under $100 with accessories I think the C.Wash being cheaper at about $80k, probably because its newer and early adopters are the guinea pigs.
I think there are many great options on the market. My go to for washer/dispensers would be Biotek. I really like the Multiflow for reagent additions and the ELx405 and ELx406 for washing/dispensing. The bluecat washer and C. Wash as others have said can be a real game changer in ELISA based workflows. As others have mentioned the clogging can be an issue with the bluecat.
I think traditional liquid handers still have a place if the workflow has any unique plate maps, but I can see a case for an automated cell culture system without a traditional liquid handler.
Thanks @ehung, that is even pricier than I remembered! I can see that the Bluewasher is already on the drivers list from standard integrators while the CWash is not (yet), so you are probably right in the guinea pig aspect.
Thanks @DerekDulek, that pretty much sums up my feeling on this topic as well. I might just go with an EL405 for now and consider a centrifuge-based washer if the clogging becomes unbearable (I assume you meant clogging issues with the 405/406 and not the Bluewasher?!)
With regards to dispensing of unique plate maps, do you have any experience with the integration of more flexible dispensers such as the Certus Flex, Mantis/Tempest or Echo? My hope is that I could replace the liquid handler with one of them and forget about tips once and for all.
@csthauer The clogging issue can be found on both the 405/406 and the BlueCat depending on the sample matrix being washed. I have seen protein build up from serum samples and I historically worked on a Hamilton ELISA method that tested for DOA in Meconium. We encountered tip clogging issues with that system, but it is a very challenging matrix. I think the clogging issue can be managed with finding the right maintenance period to keep the heads clear. I think getting models that have built in sonication or routinely flushing head with solvent would help ensure the system is robust.
As far as integrating the Certus Flex, Mantis/Tempest, or Echo we have drivers for all the devices listed and have integrated them onto workcells. I have not personally seen the Certus Flex in action but have seen the rest. All are relatively integration friendly with the right scheduler software. I think what you are striving for is achievable on some applications.
C.WASH is cheaper, list price is around 60K. But that includes dispense heads for 96 and 384. Couple of feature are not present, such as the dispensing of 1536, but C.WASH has great advantage, such as the active pump inside the drum. It is also easier to program custom protocols (can be handy for assay development, and transfer to production line to other instruments).
C.WASH is also more present in several territories, that ease the installation and customer support.