FCA multidispense into 384 MP

Hi all,

I’m new to teaching and hoping someone here could share insight into a struggle I’m having.

On a Fluent I’m trying to multidispense beads across a 384well PCR plate. Ideally using the FCA for less dead vol.

When adjusting the x and y using the move to position 1 and 96 it looks dead on (using tip 1 to teach). I ran my script right after and the tips were almost touching the edge of the well. The tips I’m using are 200ul. Is there another place feeding offsets I should look for? It was noticeable in my first try with 1000 tips that the ends of the tips weren’t in a straight line, some slightly off center to the left or right. I couldn’t see this same issue with the 200s, but wondering if that’s a factor too? The plate type needed has smaller well diameters then our other 384 plates, and what has been good enough with square wells isn’t working so well with these.

The positioning is pretty bad but the stuff gets in the well. I went down this path because it only uses 1 tip at a time when dispensing. I think it’s due to the y-distance. But due to the assay needs I set the z-dispense to essentially the top of the well, so it wouldn’t physically have any issue going down with all 8 channels. Is there a way to trick it?

Thank you for any advice you can provide!


Hi Daf,
this is a common issue with Fluent FCA (Air), and also EVO Air LiHA
the odd channels & even channels actually have a slight offset - so you inevitably see Tips 1,3,5 & 7 out of alignment in X with Tips 2, 4, 6 & 8

i recently worked on a liquid class optimization/proof of concept project for this very situation you had,
And i was unable to get the instrument to access 8 wells in 384 well PCR plate, tips were clipping well edges at every cycle across the plate

dropping tips & picking up new tips meant a re-teaching was needed

there is alignment that can be handled physically inside the FCA arm - where each channel can be slightly adjusted - BUT this is not a long term fix you’d need to repeat when FCA is switched out every other PM

your easiest option is to use 50 uL tips - the narrower orifice doen’t exhibit same issue when accessing 384 well plate


Hi Optimize,

That’s very helpful to know, thank you for the information! I did try with the 50s too, no physical issue but I think due to poor teaching it doesn’t think it can use all 8 at once. I’ll mess around with that!

Bit of an offshoot, but have you had success using MCA384 (or even 96) with this plate type? I thought the FCA work would be easiest so started there. Even new plates I’ve been testing with are slightly warped, and we don’t have downholders currently.

Thanks again, appreciate it!

MCA with either 96 tip or 384 tip types are good with this plate type,

maybe your best bet is use FCA 200/1000 to transfer beads from 1 x tube, to 8 x wells of PCR strip,
then use MCA96 200 tips to multi-pipette beads from PCR strip across 384 well plate

the FCA 200 tips & MCA 200 tips have v similar geometry - the issue is purely the FCA hardware,
MCA alignment will be much tighter than FCA so you should be good to go

In the software are you using a default labware that came with the instrument or did you redefine a labware with the definitions of that specific labware?

Also is it ABI 384 plates? Some of those plates bend so you can end up screwed no matter the liquid handler tbh.

@Optimize Thanks for the feedback! I did some testing Friday and like you said, the MCA work was a breeze! I appreciate the suggestion, hadn’t thought of that, and would take care of mixing/settling concerns I had thinking of multidispensing with a column of 384s.

@luisvillaautomata I redefined this labware from the standard 384 offering. Haha this one is Biorad, but the drawings are nearly identical. You’re confirming my worries, by the time this plate makes its way to the Tecan it will have gone through several systems of a workcell. Hoping some downholders or plate collars will be sufficient.

Thank you for the input both!