Product News: ARTEL Expands Service Offering to Liquid Handling Quality Assurance (LHQA)

05 Feb 2007

To meet advancements in laboratory liquid handling technology, ARTEL now offers Liquid Handling Quality Assurance (LHQA) services. An expansion of the company’s previously launched quality assurance services for liquid delivery, the LHQA™ service suite builds on ARTEL’s innovative measurement technologies and growing capabilities.

To launch LHQA, ARTEL is introducing its new Liquid Handler Performance Verification service. Providing third-party, documented assessment of equipment accuracy and precision, this service can be applied to most makes and models of liquid handlers, from single- to 384-channel devices. With Liquid Handler Performance Verification and other LHQA services, laboratories can have confidence in data generated in a range of liquid handling applications to strengthen compliance, ensure repeatability and improve productivity.

ARTEL is announcing its new service capabilities at Lab Automation 2007, Palm Springs Convention Center, CA, January 27-31, Booth #438.

“Today’s laboratories need quality assurance for the entire liquid handling process, not just liquid delivery, and this requires tools and resources that many simply do not have,” says Kirby Pilcher, President, ARTEL. “Our upgraded service offering allows laboratories to access ARTEL’s expertise, qualified staff and proven technology to optimize liquid handling applications with no capital or labor commitment. Scarce resources can be focused on core, profit-generating activities.”

ARTEL’s new Liquid Handler Performance Verification service addresses a major component of laboratory quality assurance – equipment performance verification. Regular assessment of automated liquid handlers is necessary to ensure data integrity, avoid remedial action, comply with regulations and ensure standardization, critical for inter-laboratory comparability and method transfer. As automated liquid handlers work with smaller liquid volumes, laboratories require more rigorous and advanced quality assurance processes.

“Many laboratories do not have in-house calibration technologies capable of rapid, low-volume measurement, nor trained liquid delivery experts on staff,” says Pilcher. “ARTEL’s service helps laboratories overcome this lack of adequate resources, speed-up the verification process and meet internal and regulatory standards.”

During a Liquid Handler Performance Verification service visit, a trained ARTEL application specialist conducts device verification with the ARTEL MVS® (Multichannel Verification System). The MVS performs a multi-point verification at critical assay volumes within optimal tolerances, which can be established by the customer or developed with guidance from ARTEL.

“Our MVS is successfully used by many laboratories that prefer internal control of their liquid handling quality assurance programs. However, a growing number of facilities prefer that external vendors perform calibration,” says Wendy Vaccaro, LHQA Services Manager. “With our new service, we can meet the demands of laboratories seeking third-party verification of all liquid handling equipment. We can also serve existing MVS customers who only wish to outsource annual, more thorough calibrations and continue to use the MVS internally for interim checks and before critical, costly assays.”

ARTEL’s Liquid Handler Performance Verification service is unique to the industry because it provides on-site verification of automated liquid handlers from multiple vendors. While several liquid handler manufacturers provide equipment verification, their services are usually restricted to their own instrumentation and provide testing at limited target volumes. ARTEL’s service allows laboratories to outsource equipment verification to one service provider for unbiased and comparable assessment of instrument performance at critical assay volumes.

To provide greater assurance of equipment performance, ARTEL’s verification service is more aligned with actual assay protocols than services offered by most liquid handler manufacturers. For example, ARTEL’s service can assess equipment performance for dispensing target into a dry (empty well) or wet (buffer in well) environment, verify volumes of some non-aqueous solutions, including DMSO, and measure dilution ratios in serial dilution methods.

In addition, ARTEL’s service provides laboratories with traceable, standardized results to ensure repeatability across procedures, liquid handlers and locations for efficient method transfer and compliance. Unlike traditional calibration services, ARTEL’s system provides data on both the accuracy and precision of automated liquid handlers, complete with electronic and printed data analysis reports and pass/fail indications. The volume verification summary reports include a channel-by-channel comparison and a heat map view that uses color gradients to identify relative dispense trends and facilitate troubleshooting.