Liquid handling is a critical element in laboratories, especially those that deal with sub-microliter or even smaller volumes of material. Precision is especially important in the stages of aspiration or pipetting (drawing the liquid into the delivery vessel) and dispensation (delivering the liquid into the receiving vessel), as small amounts of liquid are more difficult to measure than bigger amounts. One may draw the exact amount of liquid at the aspiration stage but may end up delivering a slightly varied amount due to external factors.
Consider the consequences of improper liquid handling to a drug that is under- or overdosed with the active ingredient. Such a product may not be able to deliver the promised effect. This is why automatic and precision liquid handling is extremely beneficial.
Accuracy and Precision
These two are the primary discernible benefits of precision liquid handling. Accuracy measures how close a calculated value is to a standard value, while precision measures how close these calculated values are with each other.
While no measurement is actually perfect, you can get as close to it as possible with precision liquid handling systems. Automating liquid handling can also help ensure that the liquids you draw and deliver are both accurate and precise, especially when dealing with extremely small amounts of liquid.
Eliminating Motion Issues
Another important step in handling liquids is motion, or moving the liquids from one place to another for the purpose of transferring to a new container or mixing with other components. However, factors like excessive tilt, slight but sudden movements, and the appearance of air bubbles can affect accuracy and precision. Linear stages for liquid handling equipment can help address these movement and position concerns and be able to deliver the correct amount each and every time.
Increased Throughput, Efficiency, and Savings
Errors in samples used in experiments can lead to research result errors. Apart from preventing the domino effect of even just one inconsistency caused by manual aspiration, precision liquid handling also helps increase throughput, as manual aspiration is rather slow and prone to human error. You’ll also be able to free up time for your personnel as manual pipetting can be labor-intensive.
Precision liquid handling also saves on costs, especially when working with expensive reagents and other materials. By making sure that the exact amount of liquid is drawn and dispensed every time, you eliminate the chances of wastage.
All things considered, precision liquid handling improves quality and confidence on the final product — whether it be data, research, or actual consumable products. Precision liquid handling also ensures that test results are reliable and production processes go smoothly. Most importantly, precision liquid handling can help you make certain that both your facility and internal procedures meet regulatory compliance requirements.
Once you’ve decided on automating the liquid handling systems in your laboratory or manufacturing line, you can then take into consideration the capacity, ways of operation, and maintenance requirements, among others. You can also think about other capabilities or features that you want to add, like a shaker or tip wash, as precision liquid handling systems can also perform other related tasks when coupled with other relevant technologies.