It can be difficult to find the right robot to invest in when looking for automating your pipetting tasks. This is why we have collected 7 tips for buying a liquid handling robot you might consider so you find the right fit for your laboratory.
When you decide to buy a new liquid handling station, the task may seem daunting. The number of robots offered by different producers is already overwhelming, now if you add to that the differences between each and one of them, you start to think that maybe manual pipetting was not so bad after all. Well even though the process of choosing what is the best robot for your lab is not an easy task it is definitely worth it.
Here are 7 tips on buying a liquid handling robot, that will hopefully make the process a little bit easier for you.
1. Make a list of your pipetting applications in your lab.
We recommend creating a list of the various applications of your liquid handling in your lab. Now this would serve as a checklist of tasks that are required for the robot to perform.
If the robot you liked so far does not automate some of the processes on the list, think how important that task is for you and your research.
If you can live without it being automated, great, if not move on there is really a lot of robots available on the automated pipetting market.
2. Watch out for all the hidden costs.
There is a great variety of liquid handlers available right now. When you look at price, however, remember to take into account what are the side costs of using the robot. Namely, some liquid handling systems are working only with components of the same producer. You’ve probably already
guessed it; these are usually very overpriced in comparison to the alternatives on the market. In a situation like this you might be buying a cheaper robot, but as you start using it you realize components cost so much that it becomes too expensive to use the robot on a regular basis. Of course, if you are not planning on using the pipetting robot very often, you might be okay with overpaying for components.
It all depends on your plans and needs regarding the robot. Another checklist of what components and pipette tips you are already using can be a good idea.
The list will help you find the system that already fits your needs.
3. Plan how crucial will it be to your work processes.
A rule of thumb would be, the more crucial it is, the more reliable it has to be. If you came across technical issues how costly would it be to temporarily switch to manual pipetting or stop the workflow. That being said, it is always more favorable for a robot to not create technical problems in the first place.
Lastly, what does the procedure look like for getting help in solving the technical issues.
4. Automated liquid-handler – Enormous help or a waste of time and nerves…
Although automated liquid handling solutions are becoming more and more oriented around their consumers, user-friendliness is still a huge aspect to look out for. Even if your lab already introduced a lot of automation, always make sure that the robot you are considering buying will not create problems for its everyday users.
After all your return on investment depends on how much the robot will help you and save you time and money.
5. Reviews, reviews, reviews!
Can’t put too much pressure on this aspect. Always try and look for testimonials of past users of the given fluid handling robot. When it comes to buying products that are very interactive with the user it is crucial to read what past users have thought of the
product. After all, why would you take the risk of trying the liquid handler yourself if somebody else already did it for you?
Exactly there is no point, so if there are testimonials available read them and take into consideration.
6. Do not rush your decision.
This tip seems obvious but, it is easier said, than done. When choosing a pipetting robot, it is of utmost importance to spend a lot of time on research and process of selecting the best liquid handler for your lab. Do not ever go and buy the first product, that comes in your hands.
List the robots you consider buying and compare them together, read their testimonials and then select what is the best option for you.
7. Reach out to learn more.
When you’ve just reached a point where you find it daunting anyway to find the right system for your lab, then reach out to the manufacturer of the robot.
In fact, there is no rule here. Whether you’ve researched the entire Google Display Network for liquid handling robots, or you’ve stumbled upon only two liquid handlers, you can always contact the manufacturer. There are no dumb questions and there are never too many questions.
Finding the right liquid handler for you and your team is important and it can take time and effort. Thus, you should request whatever information is needed for you to make the right decision.
A quick sum-up: Do not buy the first product, that comes into your hands. Make a list of the robots you consider buying and compare them to eachother. Read customer testimonials and select what is the best option for you.
Book a meeting with one of our specialists and let us help you with the process of choosing the right robot.
At Flow Robotics we are always happy to chat with you. Just get in touch.