High-Throughput Plate Sealing
Tue, 2004-07-13 10:30
AutoSeal (Tomtec, Inc.) high-throughput microplate heat sealer integrates bi-directional stackers. The unit works with a variety of plate types and seal materials without the need for programming or using wedges to accommodate different plate heights. The workstation is compact (24 W × 28 D × 28 H). Microplates are infed from one stacker onto the sealing nest of the shuttle. The microplate is moved into position between the sealing platen, sealing material and the sealing nest by the shuttle. The top or sealing platen generates temperatures up to 225(C, controlled by a separate PID. The sealing platen and sealing nest then sandwich the microplate under 350 foot-pounds of pressure to fuse the seal to the plate. The AutoSeal automatically detects the top of the microplate so that just the right pressure is applied during the sealing operation. Platen and nest then separate, releasing the microplate and fused seal material. The seal guide then cuts the seal material at the end of the microplate and pulls the seal material into position for the next sealing operation. The newly sealed microplate is then moved into position and outfed to the opposite stacker. The entire operation takes only seconds. The AutoSeal automatically seals microplates with laminates, foil/polypropylene composites, polyethylene-layered materials and a new breathable non-heat seal that are all available from Tomtec depending on the users needs. Test results show that the seals are watertight, DMSO resistant (depending on the material) and demonstrate virtually no vapor loss during storage. User can control both the sealing temperature and the seal time using the simple AutoSeal control features. Sealer use has been defined for PCR plates, compound storage/shipping, oligonucleotide storage/shipping, cellular assays, insect studies, plant studies and other functions. Bi-directional stacker cassettes load the AutoSeal stackers on each side of the sealing chamber. Each stacker cassette holds 25 standard microplates or 8 deepwell microplates. Stacker cassette capacity is doubled by fusing two cassettes together using the Cassette Splicing Ring from Tomtec, and thus providing the ability to seal up to 50 microplates in a run. A 50-microplate run takes less than 20 minutes. As an option the AutoSeal can also be converted for use as a robotic peripheral.