Member since: 2018
Organization: MRC Epidemiology
Great sample storage solution for our high throughput laboratory
Application Area: Biological sample storage
"Our high throughput research laboratory utilises two -80°C TTP Labtech Arktic systems. Both systems are used for storing, retrieving and re-arraying hundreds of biological samples each day. The two systems are set up for different storage vials; FluidX 1ml, internal-thread, screw-cap vials and FluidX 0.7ml jacketed, external thread, screw-cap vials. It is critical that only approved storage vials are used with the Arktic systems and we would advise consulting with TTP Labtech before making a decision on which vials to choose. Arktic’s footprint is smaller than many of its competitors and requires approximately 4 m2 of floor space. Additional considerations for the installation and safe running of the equipment are the weight and the need for a reliable source of compressed dry air. We tend not to use the Arktic systems for permanent storage but rather to facilitate organizing our samples into specific racks before moving them to long term storage in standard -80°C freezers. In our facility the sample management workload is very high and this can be very time consuming. The automation introduced by the Arktic systems helps significantly in this area but requires the equipment to operate at all times. The systems do error and there is a requirement for a service contract for continued operation. Stuck vials are a common issue but TTP Labtech’s support is very quick to address any problems and work closely with us to resolve concerns. Three main features of the Arktic systems are: 1) Storing vials is simple. The rack is placed on the arrayer and the store button is pressed on the screen display. The rack is then loaded and begins to purge. This is where the system dries and de-ices the vials at -20°C before loading them into the main -80°C refrigerated store. The purge time is dependent on the condition of the rack and vials being stored. We have noticed that colder racks, that have been stored in a -80°C freezer, tend to accumulate more frost thus needing a longer purge time. Racks that have been stored at -20°C prior to loading into Arktic will purge faster. Once the rack has purged the system scans the 2D barcode of each vial and stores the vial in the storage tubes within the system. The 2D barcode and storage position are tracked by the software. As the vials are stored, multiple sensors carry out ‘vial checks’ ensuring vials and caps are correct. 2) Samples can be retrieved easily. The ‘Order Generator’ software can be used to create orders for retrieving samples. A list of barcodes can be uploaded to the software from any networked computer and the order is sent through to the Arktic system. The system will then begin to ‘buffer’ the required vials. Buffering allows the consolidation of many vials from various positions within the system into one storage tube within Arktic. This reduces the retrieval time when the operator asks for the samples to be delivered to a rack. Multiple orders can be set up and left to buffer and these can then be retrieved when required. 3) Orders can be set to retrieve specific samples to set positions within a rack. This function is particularly useful when retrieving samples for downstream measurement pipelines. Overall we are happy with the Arktic system and would recommend it for laboratories handling large numbers of samples stored in 2D barcoded sample vials. We would like to reinforce the need to speak to TTP Labtech before deciding on a vial type as well as discussing the workflow with them prior to starting. "
Member since: 2009
Organization: Harvard Medical School - ICCBL
A decent automated vial storage system, but expensive and occasional technical issues
Application Area:Stores vials
"Our system is one of the few -20°C versions of this system on the market. It has been working well for us, although our usage is best described as light but steady. One thing to know about this system is that it has a pretty hefty set of requirements, from space around the unit, to floor strength, to room temperature handling, venting for exhaust, and input air pressure and dryness. The latter led us to also purchase a dedicated air compressor and TTP's recommended air dryer which has a much higher air pressure and volume requirement than the Arktic. The system has 2 procedures that are performed in sequence to pull a vial out of the store after a request has been made. First it "buffers" the vial(s) that you have requested. This moves the vials to a storage location that is quick and easy to retrieve from. Secondly it "delivers" the vial(s) to the empty 96-well vial rack where they are they retrieved by the user. The user has the ability to "buffer" many vials in advance of anticipated pulling, so for example you could tell the store that you wanted to pull five or ten (up to 50 in our case) 96-well racks worth of vials before you go home for the day, and they would be ready to retrieve quickly in the morning when you arrived. Retrieving a rack of previously "buffered" vials takes approximately 8 minutes. Retrieving a rack of unbuffered vials depends on the location of the vials in the store, but generally takes 20-25 minutes. Pros: • Works as advertised. We store using the FluidX 0.7mL internally threaded vials. • In our configuration, our system has a capacity of 93,648 vials. • The system can be set up to deliver any vial to any space in the rack, making setup for library aliquotting or reformatting simple and easy. • The system keeps the vials cold and dry. It performs a check of the vials when they are stored in the system for barcodes that do not scan, or caps that are not fully closed, and alerts the user of any issues. • Fewer moving parts because the system is primarily pneumatic. • Technical support is absolutely excellent. Cons: • The system is expensive, and requires a service contract for continued operation. • The recommended air dryer system makes a periodic loud noise that is startling if you are next to it. Also, TTP does not supply the replacement cartridges for the air dryer, so the user must contact the manufacturer to get replacements. • The system dries the rack prior to storing or retrieving vials. This dry time can be up to 8 minutes or longer depending on ambient room conditions and those of the rack. • TTP has replaced several electronic boards (covered under contract). • Occasional vials get "stuck". Would I buy this again? It depends. If I really needed a vial storage system that would deliver my vials in an automated fashion, then yes, I would probably buy it again. However, if I were budget conscious and simply wanted to store a large number of vials, I might simply consider a large freezer and a decent inventory system."
arktic is TTP Labtech’s new modular store, providing a low footprint, high capacity solution to -80°C sample storage. It offers fast automated cherry-picking of individual samples.
Academic research groups and pharmaceutical companies need affordable, compact, automated and secure -80°C storage facilities to accommodate increasing volumes of biological samples, ranging from DNA, RNA, antibodies, proteins and a range of other biological fluids.
Effective biobanking is an essential pre-requisite for high-quality biological research. The proper collection, processing, storage, and tracking of biospecimens are vital components allowing researchers to achieve accurate and valuable research results. To meet these challenges, TTP Labtech has created arktic – a compact modular storage unit which provides unrivalled storage density, full sample tracking and rapid retrieval.
To ensure viability and reduce sample degradation it is vital to minimise the risks of thawing, either within the cold zone or during sample selection. TTP Labtech’s arktic provides easy sample access and stable temperatures to give you unrivalled robustness and reliability for your -80°C storage requirements.