Any BioMicroLab VC384 users out there?

I was just wondering if there are any users of the BioMicroLab VC384 by sptlabtech? If so what is your experience with them?

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I would be interested in those who have used this as well

I’ve used it, though mostly just for testing its capabilities - didn’t get as far as integrating it into any production workflows. Overall, the experience was positive. It definitely takes a little bit of work to dial in new labware (creating definitions, adjusting calibration curves, etc.) so I wouldn’t expect to get perfect readings right out of the box (SPT support was helpful here). Unsurprisingly, it worked best with labware that has tall, straight-walled wells; specifically 1mL FluidX tubes had the most accurate readings out of everything I tested.

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@osand317 I agree that it takes a bit of work to dial in new labware. I have found that the software tends to be a bit buggy. Here are a few observations I have made:

  • At times, when creating calibration curves all data points will plot in a concentrated area of the map and/or in a vertical line.

  • Sometimes the door will continuously open and close while attempting to read a plate.

  • A plate of uniform volume may read high/low in multiple locations. Power cycling the instrument and reading the same plate will yield expected results.

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I’ve got a VC384 integrated with a Beckman Coulter i7. I’ve used it in production for several assays to read / validate volumes in plate assays. It’s been absolutely perfect every time. Last project was 11k samples in ~400 plates.

I found it very easy / intuitive to set up and create a calibration curve to measure volumes. Had some input from a service engineer but really the manual says everything you need.

I will echo what @osand317 said wells / tubes with long straight walls are easiest. The calibration curve creation is flexible though so you should be able to get a good match as long as your container has a simple geometric shape.


@frederikromer I’m glad to hear you’ve had success with your VC384. I agree the simpler geometric shapes are easier to calibrate. How did you go about integrating your VC384 with the i7? Our VC384 is standalone at the moment but I would be curious to explore integrating it with our i5.

@tbever we paid Beckman Coulter to integrate the VC384 alongside a larger integration including Scara robot, incubator, plate washer etc. This was before SPT bought BioMicroLab.

I know you used to be able to buy ActiveX integration kit from BML. I would assume SPT still offer this. However, we calculated that it was cheaper to let BC integrate compared to getting the kit from BML plus labour cost of having our team code the integration. Your situation may differ.

For those that have had lots of experience and success with a VC384, I am curious if you have dealt with asymmetrical labware. I am currently considering going down the rabbit hole of deviating from default dimension settings and troubleshooting with offset values to see if it may help tighten up data points, but would be interested to hear of other’s experiences first.