Frequently Asked Questions
Got any pressing questions about Automata or our lab automation solution, Automata LINQ? Check out our FAQs or contact us to speak to a member of our automation team.
Automata LINQ: Hardware
Yes, storage solutions are available in the LINQ bench system.
Within the LINQ bench system, every bench comes standard with a number of safety features making the system safe for use within laboratory environments, and without the need for enclosures or additional safety interlocks.
A shuttle is the special transport vehicle that holds labware when it is moved across the transport layer.
The transport layer works with a magnetic end effector to move the shuttle and labware between benches.
The system includes integrated LED lighting around the perimeter of the benchtop, alerting users to the status of the system. Furthermore, the LINQ software will provide notifications to the user.
Re-configuring of bench unit orientation, position or assembly topology is provided by the Automata service team, simply contact us and we will do the rest.
Automata estimate an average installation pace of two benches per day, however, accelerated schedules can be accommodated.
The bench system as standard only requires electrical and ethernet connections to the laboratory infrastructure.
Electrical requirements are 1x 32 amp electrical connection for every 12 benches, and 1x Ethernet connection for each workcell.
Most instruments can work effectively with our robotics. Automata application engineers can recommend any alternatives should there be any integration issues with your existing instruments.
The bench system can handle a wide range of labware. Our application engineers will work with you directly to develop a workcell that fits your needs.
Every bench has an integrated barcode reader allowing the user to track labware at every step of the automation process.
The bench system can readily accommodate floor standing and oversized devices.
The LINQ bench system is designed to replace your existing lab benches on a 1-2-1 basis and can be configured in the same shapes. Bench workcells can be configured to be in a straight line, to wrap around internal and external corners, or in back-to-back island formations.
Automata provide fixing plates that constrain the feet of the instruments on the benchtop.
The LINQ bench system has been designed specifically to be resistant to chemical reactions. Enquire with Automata for further details.
Automata LINQ: Software
The system includes integrated LED lighting around the perimeter of the benchtop, alerting users to the status of the system. Meanwhile, LINQ Cloud will provide notifications to the user.
LINQ Cloud provides the user with detailed information related to every error and task required by the operator.
An integrated barcode scanner or camera in the LINQ bench system can be linked to LINQ Cloud which can then track the labware coming in or out of the system.
Yes. Since our system is cloud-based, all you need is a browser to access it.
We have an extensive list of instrument integrations already on our platform. However, we also develop integrations for our customers as part of projects if we don’t already have them. Talk to our solution consultants to find out more.
This will be determined on a case-by-case basis by solutions architects in the production team.
However, LINQ can integrate with any system that has a readily available API to enable data transfer to external systems.
Yes. LINQ Cloud has data ports on every bench that allows you to gather the data from all of your instruments and directly pass it on to an integrated LIMS, ELN system, or laboratory database.
Our platform enables our customers to be compliant with 21CFR-11 through audit logs, security requirements, and e-sign and approvals.
Automata adopts the ISO 9000 Quality Management System standards.
Applications: Cell culture
Human or animal-derived adherent and suspension cells (although we also work with systems for bacteria and yeast culture).
Capacity is typically defined by the size of the incubators, and the systems can be expanded in a modular way to add greater capacity. The smallest unit is designed to accommodate 42 96-well plates or 34 6-well plates. The top-end capacity is mostly limited by space and system bottlenecks and will be established as part of the development process.
Yes. In the simplest form, settled suspension cells growing in 96-well plates can be handled with the addition of a centrifuge. At larger scales, shaking incubators can be integrated to facilitate the use of shaken cultures.
It is possible to build your own specific analytical capabilities around the central cell maintenance functions by adding required devices in a modular way. This can be expanded as required.
Media can be loaded in bottles or bags into a refrigerator. This means that the system can be specified to handle larger volumes of media, if required. Media is pumped to the deck of the system and warmed just in time for use.
All labware must be SBS footprint. Typical labware for this application are 96-, 48-, 24-, 6- and 1-well plates. It is also possible to run Greiner Autoflasks.
At the core of all Automata cell biology platforms is the capabilities for media exchange – the most consistent set of processes in maintaining cell lines. This can be a simple configuration for just this activity, both in and out of working hours, giving immediate support for keeping cell cultures happy.
The platform can then easily be expanded with additional capabilities as and when required to extend out the possible workflows.
Automation within a laboratory setting simply refers to systems where machines do the majority of the work vs. humans. It can come in many forms and levels of advancement, from none – where all tasks are conducted manually – to full automation.
LINQ facilitates fully automated end-to-end workflows, which means full cell culture workflows can be conducted using digital and robotic connections. With this method, human interactions are significantly reduced, with scientists often only needing to prepare and load consumables and reagents before leaving the system to complete the workflow.
In cell culture benchtop automation is common. For example, filling and dispensing cell suspensions with machines like the Sartorius Fill-It.
LINQ can connect fully workflows and have them operate automatically, going steps beyond simple benchtop automation.
Automation is the quickest way for cell culture labs to free scientists from labour-intensive tasks and antisocial working hours.
Automated workflows can operate without restriction or breaks, increasing throughput while allowing scientists walkway time for more value-added tasks.
It’s also the best way to scale cell biology labs as it allows for improved consistency, repeatability and traceability.
Automated cell culture labs allow instruments to work independently or with minimal human interaction, but the extent to which you choose to automate is up to you.
Individual workcells or entire workflows can be automated with LINQ.
When you work with us we’ll discuss your goals, your current and desired set-up, and any future aspirations or considerations that could affect your automation journey. From there, we’ll design the system you want – for any or many workcells, or full workflows.
With LINQ lab instrumentation can work in parallel, equipment isn’t lost to automation (use it how and when you need) and space is maximised.
The repetitive passaging, monitoring for health and growth, and maintenance of appropriate culture conditions can be extremely tedious, often requiring skilled scientists to be in the lab during the evening or over the weekend.
Automated tissue/cell culture systems are gaining popularity because they have the potential to overcome the drawbacks of manual cell culture by improving reliability and scalability, and by enabling the redeployment of skilled staff.
There are five techniques widely employed for culturing single cells:
- Filter–paper raft nurse
- Petri dish planting
- Nurse callus
- Micro droplet
Cell culture refers to the removal of cells from an animal or plant and their subsequent growth in a favourable artificial environment. The cells may be removed from tissue directly and disaggregated by enzymatic or mechanical means before cultivation, or they may be derived from a cell line or cell strain that has already been established.
Automation within a laboratory setting simply refers to systems where machines do the majority of the work vs. humans.
Automation features in both genomics and cell biology labs.
In cytology and cytopathology, things like slide preparation, image acquisition and image analysis can be automated.
Get in touch if you have a cytology/cytopathology lab that could benefit from automation.
The solutions that we have showcased on our website for sample extraction, quality control, and library preparation are what we’ve built for specific customers with their needs in mind.
The beauty of the Automata platform is that we are not locked down and are vendor agnostic. We can integrate third party devices, and propose a solution for your lab based on your needs and the problems you are trying to solve.
We create solutions for genomics workflows that can start with integrating laboratory equipment-specific workflow steps (like workcells for library preparation, or quality control) to reduce manual steps, and save time.
Alternatively, we can also integrate multiple workcells together to combine entire workflows depending on the needs of your lab. The journey to automation can take time, so we can start where you would like to start and grow as your labs grow. We understand that labs also change the instruments they use, so we can always adapt the layouts of our platform as your needs change.
This depends on your SOPs, and your regulatory and quality considerations. If you want a true walkaway lab, we can work with you to combine your pre- and post-PCR workflows.
If you are currently doing this manually, we would work with you and our instrument partners to ensure the right benchtop instruments for the job and work with you on integrating the process.
Our system has been designed to be compatible with all SBS microplates format.
Automata LINQ can be placed in your lab for specific steps within genomics workflows – for example, you can start with a QC workcell or an extraction workcell to gain benefits from our system. Compared to current manual solutions, there are still huge gains made from starting with a single workcell.
The Automata system doesn’t necessarily work faster than a person could handle tasks, but through parallelisation and complete hands-off time, the system can run independently of human interaction, thereby increasing ability to scale.
Our use cases, in-silico and physical builds are capability showcases for our platform to give you an idea of what the LINQ could do in your lab. We will work with your lab to ensure integration with your specific SOPs.
Anything we’ve not covered here? Contact us to find out more about Automata LINQ and how we work with you to unlock true walkaway time in your lab.