A new era for automated liquid handling 

Laboratories across the biotech and pharmaceutical industries are increasingly automating their liquid handling and dispensing capabilities with versatile, scalable, and affordable instruments that cater to a range of applications. This paid-for advertorial by SPT Labtech appeared in the DDW / SLAS supplement in DDW Volume 23, Issue 1 – Winter 2021/22. 

The main benefits of automated systems over manual or semi-manual pipetting are often clear: increased throughput, greater accuracy, and better workflows that deliver substantial time and cost savings. Until recently, however, various factors – large one-off purchase costs, necessary automation expertise, and complex multi-component installations focused on bespoke applications – have prevented labs from investing in more fully automated workflows across application areas. 

Accessible automation with a new type of benchtop pipettor 

The arrival of a new class of accessible liquid handlers has opened up a raft of possibilities for many labs to streamline and automate their manual or semi-manual pipetting processes across a variety of applications. Robust, compact benchtop pipettors enable labs to benefit from more advanced inbuilt automation capabilities that allow them to achieve workflow efficiencies and improvements in data quality while staying within budget. 

These new types of benchtop pipetting systems, used for copying, aliquoting, pooling, mixing and the serial dilution of liquids, are not only having a significant impact, helping to standardize and enhance the repeatability of results for different liquid types and volume ranges, but are also generating substantial productivity gains across a wide variety of workflows. Given that manual pipetting activities can take up more than 80% of the workday for certain laboratory employees, it’s no surprise that many labs currently using manual or semi-manual pipettors are now looking to take full advantage of accessible solutions that give them more advanced functionality for an affordable price. 

4-in-1 dual-core pipetting technology for walk-away capability 

A leading vendor of liquid handling instruments, SPT Labtech has brought many decades of expertise developing low-volume pipetting and dispensing solutions for highly dedicated applications (across genomics, drug discovery and structural biology) to a more versatile range of automated liquid handlers. At SLAS 2022 in Boston, the company plans to launch its groundbreaking apricot DC1 automated benchtop pipettor, a highly accessible liquid-handling platform offering walk-away capability at a price that’s within the reach of most lab budgets.  

The apricot DC1 can be put to general use by any member of a lab team without the need for lengthy setup periods or trained automation specialists, thanks partly to its intuitive, user-friendly software, which allows labs to benefit quickly from increased throughput, reliable standardization, and enhanced data quality.  

Designed for versatility and compatibility with a large choice of labware, the compact apricot DC1 stands out for its 4-in-1 dual core. The unique dual-core system integrates four separate pipetting tools within the one affordable instrument, combining the functionality of a high-volume multichannel pipette, a high-volume single-channel pipette, a low-volume multichannel pipette, and a low-volume single-channel pipette – as Anne Hammerstein, Product Manager at SPT Labtech explains: 

“A liquid handler with unique dual-core pipetting technology, the apricot DC1 offers the equivalent of four pipetting tools within one accessible instrument at an affordable price. This single and multichannel pipettor handles the full µL-to-mL volume range across a 9-position deck to provide outstanding versatility across a variety of applications – from simple pipetting tasks all the way through to automated PCR/qPCR setups.” 

By offering exceptional value for money, the apricot DC promises to open up a new era for many labs to run more advanced and versatile out-of-the-box automation tasks without the need for costly automation experts or further investment in additional application-specific functionality. 

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