The Biomek FX, manufactured by Beckman Coulter, is an automated liquid handler designed to facilitate laboratory procedures. This multiaxis liquid-handling instrument gives labs walk-away functionality so that procedures can be carried out with ease and precision. Featuring an open-architecture design, the modular system is capable of incorporating a variety of components for handling protocols. Compatibility with such a variety of instruments means the system can accommodate current and future laboratory needs. This modularity makes the system valuable in many research atmospheres, particularly in drug discovery applications.
The Biomek FX is designed to handle a wide range of tasks in liquid-handling. The foundation of this versatility is a stainless steel deck that forms the work surface of the system. This deck is made up of three sections that are removable so as to accommodate external devices. By placing these devices on the workspace, they are accessible by the pod that performs handling tasks. Devices include a range of stackers, shakers, and vacuum manifolds among others. These allow variability in throughput and function of liquid-handling procedures. In addition to incorporating external devices, the deck is also designed with pre-drilled holes that facilitate the operation of automated labware positioners (ALPs).
This system can be equipped with either a single or dual pod configuration, with pods available in two options. The first of these options is the Span-8 pod. A series of eight probes is equipped to the pod, each able to perform a variety of liquid-handling functions independent of each other. Functions include liquid transfers from labware, as well as dilution, dispensing, and integration. Each of the eight probes can move independently in the Z-axis and be separated in a range of distances. The second option is a Multichannel Pod. This option is available in either a 96 or 384 channel head, making it best-suited for microplate replications or reformatting in high throughput applications. The pod is equipped with a plate gripper and uses interchangeable pipetting heads. Windows based software controls the operation of all liquid-handling procedures, as well as the operation of other integrated devices.
The numerous functions of the system make an equally abundant choice of applications available. While a popular use of the instrument is for drug discovery, applications in molecular biology, as well as other fields, are also possible. Such molecular biology applications include nucleic acid purification, sequencing and preparation of DNA libraries. The Biomek FX is capable of accomplishing these tasks as a stand-alone system or as part of a larger automated system.