Continuously Changing 2016-11-21T17:53:16+00:00

Lynx Innovative Hardware Solutions

We know and realize, you as the customer, wants to see ‘solutions’ and method specific applications and we will do our best to post new solutions but we do feel it is time to take a step back and see what comprises the ‘heart’ of the equipment that you are purchasing and what benefits these higher end technologies have in our platform.

Most liquid handlers on the market can transfer liquid and accomplish an application that it was sold to accomplish (or you return it), the issues usually arise when the system runs into an error. It is how the system ‘needs’ to recuperate from these errors that creates the ‘pain’ for users and companies that have learned leaned to rely on these systems to produce data and/or revenue.

Make a liquid handler that can pipet out of the box.

The Lynx VVP (Volume Verified Pipetting) technology pipetting tools, the 96VVP, f8 VVP and i8VVP, no longer uses syringes or stepper/servo motors to pipette. Our VVP technology actually directly measures the liquid entering the tip in a real time closed loop environment. Not only is each tip calibrated at the factory but since it is a solid state silicon chip, there are no wear parts means no drift over time.  Combine this with our SM (Solid Mandrel) tip loading technology and we have eliminated the wear parts used to transfer liquids meaning a more reliable and validated sample transfer.

Previous Technology Hardware

Standard liquid handlers are either ‘liquid filled lines’ or ‘air based lines’ but both are displacing volume with syringes being driven by a motor.  The motor is calibrated that a certain amount of ‘steps’ that is in turn is set to equal to a volume when, for example, a 1000µL syringe is used.  This is still reliable but starts to have issues as syringe seals wear; as motor parts wear; as tip seals wear; when syringes are not manufactured the same and there is no individual calibration of a motor to a syringe; syringes are swapped out during maintenance routines from a calibrated unit; liquid viscosities are not taken into account and re-calibrated for; hand tightened fittings are different for every liquid channel; and the list goes on…

Make a liquid handler that does not need calibration of every liquid and every volume.

With VVP, each liquids physical properties will regulate how it enters the tip. Since we are directly measuring the flow rate of the liquid into the tip in real time, we do not even have liquid classes for our VVP pipetting tools.  Whether it is 5 µL or 1000, whether it is viscous or an organic, we are measuring the direct volume entering the tip. The user may put motor oil, water and acetone in any well of a microplate and with any calibration pipet 100µL of each using any of the VVP tools.  The 96 VVP Pipetting is most interesting since every tip is independently controlled with its own VVP flow sensor, solenoid valve and processor and has full pipetting diagnostics and volume reporting for each tip.

Previous Technologies Hardware

Every liquid has different physical properties that adds variance is pipetting with syringe based automated liquid handlers.  These variances can be accommodated for by calibrated what is commonly called ‘liquid classes.’ These liquid classes are basically pipetting offsets, overages, underages and air gaps to accommodate for a single kind of liquid, these values may or may not be linear over a volume range and may need to be developed for virtually every volume of every liquid.

Make a liquid handler that assures me the liquid transfer took place correctly.

There are two main technologies that validate correct liquid handling, detecting the top of the liquid to start pipetting (LLD – Liquid Level Detection) and the actual Aspirate (ASP) and Dispense (DISP) commands that transfers the requested volume of sample.

1. LLD – Liquid Level Detection

With our VVP sensors directly measuring flow rate, the VVP Pipetting Tools can slowly blow out air and move our arm into the container at virtually full speed and since we are measuring in the 10 nanosecond mode, find the liquid surface through even bubbles, that do not fully stop the flow rate, and immediately stop the air to that individual channel.

Interesting fact: The 96VVP Pipetting Tool can find every liquid level in a 96 deepwell plate, even avoiding overflowing the fullest with the tips.

2. ASP and DISP commands using VVP, again, measuring and reporting every volume entering and leaving AND reporting every volume in an output file that can be saved in a folder.

Previous Technologies Hardware

Most liquid handlers on the market today will use a steel tip or black disposable tip in combination with electrical capacitance or conductance changes to ‘sense’ the top of a liquid.  Right away, may factors influence electrical sensing; racks need to be grounded to deck, liquid needs to have clean meniscus without bubbles, deepwells and containers of big plastic conduct electricity poorly and require work arounds or custom holders, etc.  Combine this now with syringe driven ASP/DISP commands that do  not register liquid in the tip and reliability for validation is hard to reach.

Even with advanced liquid handlers with ‘pressure’ sensing technologies, LLD has to move the downward travel of the arm very slowly to get proper feedback and only gross errors, like clogs, can be detected but the volume transferred is never accurately or directly known or reported.

Make a liquid handler that does not need service every 3-6 months.

With the implementation of the solid state VVP technology; that accuracy does not drift over time and the two pumps, for vacuum and pressure, along with the solenoid valve control has a 15 million cycle MTPF (Mean Time Between Failure); combined with Lynx SM (Solid Mandrel) tip attachment technology; on top of linear motor drive systems; gives the Lynx a single PM per year.  This single PM is basically a performance check with no replacement kits thus reducing service contracts by as much as 50%.

Previous Technologies Hardware

Wear parts require service. Syringes. Tubing. Fittings. O-rings.

Basically all major liquid handlers on the market today require service to replace wear parts of plastic and rubber consistency. Combine this with the fact that there is usually no confirmation of liquid transfer and customers have accepted the fact that need to replace parts on a continual basis.

Make a liquid handler not loose position and have to be re-taught so often.

The Lynx employs encoders on each axes. These encoders, combined with the linear magnetic drive motors, are like a measuring stick and tell the arm and provide real time direct feedback to the exact position of the arm within 10 microns, very very accurate.  These encoders give feedback to the software telling it where the arm is physically located in real time and the motors continually adjust the arms to get it in the proper potion, every time. Also, since the linear drive motors are direct magnetic drives, tree rally are no wear parts meaning no drift over time requiring continual re-teaching on deck positions.

Previous Technologies Hardware

Drive systems vary but basically consist of a servo motor driving a gear in circular rotation where a belt is attached to which an arm is attached.  This drive system rotates the gear and moves a belt from one side of the deck to the other for X-drive, right to left. The front to back drive system vary according the arm, where the 96/384 head may also be a belt driven where a spreadable tip arm might be an ‘accordion’ or lead screw and plastic nut drive system. In most of these cases there is a ‘home’ position where all the axises need to ‘initialize’ to and the motors count steps away from the home position for movement. In these cases over multiple time periods, belts stretch, belts slip, gears wear and motors drift meaning ‘re-teach time’ for every position.

Make a liquid handler not have to be re-initialized after a crash.

As above, the Lynx employs encoders on each axes. These encoders, combined with the linear magnetic drive motors, are like a measuring stick and tell the arm and provide real time direct feedback to the exact position of the arm within 10 microns, very very accurate.  These also keep the position in the event of a crash, or physical interruption, where the no ‘homing’ is required and a correction may take place manually and the user can just continue the method recovering either through pressing the ‘play’ button again or starting at a certain line in the middle of a program using the ‘step’ command.  No restarting, no re-initialization, from the beginning.

Previous Technology Hardware

As the configuration of drive systems are explained in the previous section, if there is an interruption, the entire method usually needs to be stopped, all the plates in process removed and places back at square one, the entire machine re-initiallize to find ‘home’ again, and the entire method started again. No keyboard command ‘To Continue’ from this error.