Applications: Compound Delivery: 9-Sided MicroStar

Tube and Plate Processing

1 x Rbt Staubli Robot   1 x Bpa Print and Apply Station
4 x Mcd MicroDock   2 x Pip Liquid Handler
1 x Knf HighRes MicroBlast   2 x Car HighRes AmbiStore D
1 x Cfg Automated Plate Centrifuge   2 x Car HighRes MicroServe
1 x Slr Automated Heat Sealer   1 x Mix Acoustic Mixer
2 x Cap Tube Capper/Decapper   1 x Rdr Tube Auditor
1 x Bcr Barcode Reader          


This system is a 9-sided HighRes MicroStar configured for tube and plate processing. This larger system would typically form the hub of a compound management group’s operations. Equipped with classical liquid handlers, it is capable of performing tube reformatting/dilution tasks, and also plate to plate stamping to generate source plates for distribution to screening teams. The system can be tooled for use with specific storage technologies, e.g. Remp consumables, depending on the company’s legacy equipment.

       System Key Advantages  |   Cellario Protocol Design  |   Options for Data Integration  |   Cellario Key Advantages

System Key Advantages

Reconfigurable - Modify the format you are working with by docking in a different liquid handler cart - swap from disposable tip to septum piercing instruments as processing requirements alter

Efficient - Use the MicroDocks to implement "hot spare" carts. These carts, fitted with an identical device and methods, can be swapped into the system mid-run to replace a failed device and allow uninterrupted processing.

Flexible - Use MicroCarts to transfer carousels full of cherry-picked tube racks from an offline compound store to this replication platform. Transfer carousels full of prepared plates from this platform to a separate HighRes screening system.

Cellario Protocol Design

Cellario is HighRes Biosolutions’ dynamic scheduling software package. We use it to control all our integrated systems, from the compact NanoCell to larger multi-robot MicroStar systems.

Starting from the hardware layout for this 9-sided MicroStar, we can build a Cellario protocol to see how each of the instruments on the system could be used.

The screen shots to the right show a protocol to create two plate copies from a source tube rack. The source racks are centrifuged, audited (for volume/precipitate) and then de-capped prior to a liquid transfer, performed on a pair of pooled disposable-tip instruments. The two destination plates are cleaned in the MicroBlast before the liquid transfer. Post transfer, destination plates are heat sealed and then labelled.

Key Design Elements:
  • Cellario supports multi-threaded protocol design; for this protocol one thread is used for source tube racks, one for destination plates, and one for disposable tip boxes
  • The two destination copies are merged into one Cellario thread, as they are identical replicates. If the copies were different in some way (e.g. label type), they could be split out into separate threads and the relevant device operation parameters adjusted accordingly.
  • The Transfer operation is used to merge the three threads together – bringing one source tube rack, two destination plates and one tip box to the liquid handler and then executing a defined method. The “times used” parameter gives control over re-use of labware – in this example each new tip box will be used for 5 distinct source plates.
  • This protocol design implements device pooling, to boost throughput and aid unattended reliability of the system. Device pooling is explained in more detail in the advantages section.

Options for Data Integration

Cellario is designed to support a wide range of data integration requirements, essential for Compound Management applications.

Upstream - Orders are created against specific Protocol Designs and used to run the system

No Data Integration / Ad-Hoc Processing - Cellario incorporates an Order Designer GUI, allowing users to manually create orders

In-House/Commercial Sample Management Software - Cellario supports the use of external applications to generate orders by inserting records into the Cellario Oracle database via PL/SQL Stored Procedures API. For systems with online plate or tube rack storage, API level ordering can be used to request labware by external barcode from a persistent inventory.

Midstream - Monitor the status of the system and receive event notifications

Error and General Notifications - Receive mid-run notifications of system errors and warnings or general prompts for user interaction, for example to refill consumables or empty waste. Compatible with email or web services.

Downstream - As orders are processed by the system all plate-based transactions are logged in real-time in an Oracle database

Plate-Based Information - Cellario can automatically output source/destination barcode mapping. Custom SQL queries can also be applied to extract specific information. Manual, file-based and direct database approaches are all supported.

Well-Based Information - Cellario can be configured to format and then output liquid handler log-files to specific locations, to enable detailed well-level information to be integrated into the downstream result-analysis phase

Cellario Key Advantages

Error Recovery - Recover your active order and all data to the point of failure, even after whole system power outage. Critical instruments (such as the liquid handlers) can be fitted with a UPS in the MicroCart to ensure any started operations will complete. Configurable email notifications keep you informed of any errors or warnings.

Device Pooling - Cellario supports a wide range of pooling options for all classes of device, even complex liquid handlers. Strategies including “first available”, “round robin” and “fail over” can be defined during protocol design. Instrument pools can then be dynamically adjusted while orders are live on the system. Units can be temporarily retired to tend to blocked tips or for consumable exchange. “Hot spare” instruments that were not even in the original protocol design can be docked and added to a pool using Cellario’s new run-time editing feature.

Device Drivers - Primarily used by Cellario for automated processing, they can also be used by operators in off-line mode, providing a consistent user interface across many device types. Our device drivers are continually developed to ensure systems run as efficiently as possible – for example, modifying a liquid handler driver to allow labware to be exchanged by the robot in parallel with tip washing.

Scripting Components - Use Cellario’s Process Executor operation to run custom scripting components. With multiple languages supported (for example, Java, VB or .NET), scripts have access to a number of run time variables including plate number and barcode. On this system a script could be used to capture the barcode of each distinct source plate, and reformat it to generate label values to be printed to the destination plates.