Process optimization

Get the highest quality data out of your assay and optimize your workflow

Save time, reagents, samples and labware – and minimize assay variability and downtime.

Have you fully optimized your assay processes?

Process Optimization improves assay performance by breaking down the assay workflow into modules that are individually optimized – therefore improving end-to-end assay performance. Workflows may be complicated, multi-day, very expensive and time consuming or may just comprise a few simple steps. Process Optimization addresses each of them and is particularly valuable when a successful assay outcome is dependent on multiple steps such as NGS sample prep, qPCR and ELISA. Measurable performance improvement can be attained by applying the Process Optimization elements most appropriate to your assay.

Nathaniel Hentz, PhD

Director, Scientific Market Development

We're here to help

If you would like more details on how Artel can support your assay, whether it is troubleshooting, optimization, or assay transfer, don’t hesitate to reach out—we are here to help.

Process Optimization IInfographic

Figure 1. Processes can be optimized across your entire assay workflow by applying the appropriate Process Optimization element.

Process Optimization IInfographic

Figure 1. Processes can be optimized across your entire assay workflow by applying the appropriate Process Optimization element.

Gravimetry vs MVS

Figure 2. In addition to a faster, simpler workflow, the MVS provides more accurate volume measurements than gravimetry at the small volumes so critical to modern workflows.

Instrument Calibration

Give your assay a solid foundation for success by ensuring that your instrumentation is operating properly and fit for purpose. Developing, transferring and executing an assay with pipettes or automated liquid handlers that have not been calibrated or verified will rarely result in success. Liquid handling instruments should be kept operating at peak performance to minimize systematic and random errors.

There is one technology that stands alone – for fast, easy measurement of small liquid volumes in working lab conditions with maximum accuracy and precision. Ratiometric photometry, as perfected by Artel and fully compliant with existing ISO standards, is the global standard in life science laboratories for calibration of automated liquid handlers and manual pipettes.

Insider tip: Many organizations standardize to a single instrument platform, whether it is an automated liquid handler or hand-held pipette, to further minimize systematic errors and simplify calibration and verification processes.

Liquid Class Optimization

For processes using automated liquid handlers, you can minimize pipetting variability by optimizing the liquid class settings for each transfer in the process. To achieve repeatability, liquid classes should be optimized between different automated liquid handlers performing the same transfers, particularly if the liquid handlers are different brands, makes or models.

The MVS enables quick and easy liquid class optimization by giving you the ability to evaluate how different liquid class settings affect the accuracy and precision of each liquid transfer step.

Insider tip: A good place to start is with a default liquid class provided by the liquid handler manufacturer, then further optimize so the liquid dispense method is tailored to your assay.

MVS Multichannel Verification System

Do you know if your automated liquid handler volumes are on target, run after run?

Verify volume transfer precision and accuracy in your lab and simplify regulatory compliance with the easy-to-use MVS.

Liquid Handler Evaluation

Liquid handlers, automated or manual, are essential tools in laboratories. While their function is the same, their performance is not. Automated liquid handlers are an expensive investment, so it is useful to ensure the system is up for the job in your lab. This is even more critical if you are adding a new liquid handler to a lab with different brands, makes or models or if you are considering a method transfer to another facility.

The MVS enables quick, easy, and unbiased evaluation of your liquid handler before being placed into service or before your method transfer. By knowing the performance of your liquid handler ahead of time, the chances for a surprise are greatly reduced.

Insider tip: Even liquid handlers from the same manufacturer can have their own “personality”, so must be evaluated to ensure they are fit for purpose.

Labware Qualification

Even a well-developed and optimized assay can fail without carefully vetted labware, especially disposable tips. Seemingly small changes such as using a different vendor or even a different lot from the same vendor can affect the accuracy and precision of a liquid transfer step (Figure 3), leading to unexpected assay results and even failures. Making the effort to qualify each lot of labware will save you time—and scarce or expensive resources—by minimizing the effects of labware variability on assay outcomes. To reduce operating expenses, many labs will opt for universal tips without ever testing them only to suffer later with long delays and investigations.

The MVS streamlines labware qualification by giving you the ability to quickly and quantitatively determine whether a new lot of tips or tubes is transferring the same volume of reagents as the current lot.

Insider tip: Many labs preemptively qualify new labware to minimize assay failures. A little work up front saves time in the long run.

Figure 3. The tips from two different vendors supposedly transferring the same volume of liquid may do so with different levels of accuracy and precision.

Get extra support with Artel Services, Training and Consulting Support

Need expert help with any of these tasks? Artel offers a complete suite of consulting services including automated liquid handler calibration, assay optimization support, proper pipette technique assessment, industry and ISO guidance, training, and more.

Reagent Qualification

Sometimes an optimized assay requires a change in reagent vendors due to supply issues or quality problems. Assay failure can happen as a result, and it can take weeks to troubleshoot. This is especially common with bioreagents that contain proteins or enzymes. One area that is often overlooked is whether the newly sourced bioreagent has the same fluid properties as the original. For example, two different sources for polymerase may contain buffer formulations as wildly different as 10% glycerol versus 65% sucrose with 0.1% Tween. These solutions may have the same polymerase activity but will behave much differently in your liquid handler.

The MVS enables rapid reagent performance checks on your liquid handler by allowing you to quantitively measure and optimize your liquid handler specifically for your reagents.

Insider tip: Never assume all of your reagents behave the same during liquid handling. For assays in long-running campaigns supporting screening, patient testing, or drug manufacturing it is especially important to ensure your reagents are properly aspirated and dispensed.

Reagent Qualification
Mixing and Washing

Mixing and Washing Assessment

Many assays include a mixing or washing step, both of which can be performed manually or with automation. How do you know if you have mixed or washed enough? Veteran assay developers may evaluate the accuracy and precision of their assay data and then artfully apply experience and trial and error in adjusting the mixing or washing steps.  Although this method is feasible, it is very time and resource heavy.

You can use a faster and more efficient approach with the MVS. For example, you can directly evaluate whether 2 washes, 30 seconds of shaking, or 5 aspirate and dispense cycles with a handheld pipette or automated liquid handler deliver sufficient mixing or washing (Figure 4). By measuring the amount of MVS dye present after different mixing times, number of washes, or aspiration and dispense cycles, you will immediately know you have optimized your mixing or washing steps.

Insider tip: Mixing and plate washing evaluation typically occur during assay development using the assay as the measurement tool. Using the assay can take 1-6 hours and never really pinpoint the source of variability.

Pipette Technique Training

Lack of standardization and repeatability, as well as accuracy in manual pipetting is a challenge and a major source of sub-par assay performance. There are number of variables – which makes correct pipetting technique throughout the lab difficult to achieve. A lab interested in optimizing its processes should aspire for standardized, dependably precise pipetting by all personnel.

With pipette technique training using the PCS and regularly scheduled competency assessments, you can efficiently minimize problems in assay performance that stem from poor technique and person-to-person pipetting variability.

Insider tip: A one-day training can prevent weeks of CAPA investigation.

Lab Analysis Before and After

Figure 5. With proper training, both systematic and random errors in pipetting performance can be reduced.

No Training
With Training

Figure 5. With proper training, both systematic and random errors in pipetting performance can be reduced.

Customer Stories

See all the ways Artel helps big pharma, biotechs, CROs, instrument manufacturers, and diagnostics companies generate data and deliver services that they and their customers can trust.

How XenoTech ensures quality and productivity with the MVS
Read Case Study

How Takeda streamlines assay transfer and troubleshooting with the MVS
Read Case Study

How Beckman Coulter improved customer satisfaction, expanded OQ sign-ups with an MVS
Read Case Study

Ready to transform your
automated liquid handling process?