The introduction of automation and integrated analytical equipment into biology and chemistry labs has led to significant advances in testing capabilities over the past 25 years. While this type of automated equipment brings several advantages, it also brings frequently overlooked challenges. In biological testing laboratories, the personnel are often correctly focused on the “biology” of an assay, not on the “metrology” of the analytical technique or the measurement equipment. As such, laboratory instruments may often be observed as “black boxes” whose contribution to the final measurement error is not adequately considered. Proper understanding of the potential error contribution of each tool is an important, but potentially difficult process.
This presentation focuses on understanding the behavior of different types of analytical equipment, and highlights the need to ensure quality in assays performed with such systems. Specific examples will be given highlighting the importance of monitoring various devices such as automated liquid handling systems, plate readers, and plate shakers. The examples presented herein will help users to think more about the specific tasks they are performing with their equipment, and hopefully uncover certain steps that, if observed and controlled, will result in better performance.View Presentation