Integrated cold storage

Does anyone have experience with different integrated cold storage systems? Would be interested in devices capped at 4 degrees all the way down to -80. Lots of interesting applications have cold storage as an absolute must but I’ve never seen options that make sense for medium/small work cells

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There’s a lot of options for cold storage at +4C and -20C and a few at -80C. But the -80C options that I’m aware of are all quite a bit larger than some of the options for the other two temps.

If you want plate storage or tube storage in racks Cytomats and Liconic incubators both have 4C and I thought Cytomats were offered with -20C options, but for sure Liconic has -20C options.

There are also dedicated tube stores for -20C storage, my favorite was always the STP Labtech comPOUND store (which can also be configured at +4C if you want). Brooks should have a couple different sizes of tube stores in that temp range as well. Brooks bought basically all their competition about 5-10 years ago. There may be some other players in that game now, I’m not sure.

Brooks and STP Labtech both have -80C options, but the one that I’m most aware of is the STP Arktic. There might be other options, I haven’t kept up with it since I’ve never needed automated -80C storage.


The Liconics and Cytomats are solid. Looked at -80 for a few projects in a previous life but always shied away from having those directly integrated due to the condensation risks. Happy to hear others experience especially with regards to integrated -80 degr options.

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Condensation/ ice buildup is definitely one of those questions I have about the -20s too. It’s obviously not a problem unique to automated devices but I do wonder how they handle it and how often a device like that needs to be de-iced.

My experience with automated stores that are below freezing is that you need to supply the store with dry air. One larger store I worked with had a target dewpoint of -80C for a -20C store. In that case we had zero problems with ice buildup. The STP comPOUND stores also require dry air input, but I’m not sure about smaller incubators like the Liconics, my guess would be that they will still require some sort of dehumidifier for an air source.

That makes a ton of sense, thank you. I think you’re right about the liconics, I just saw the even smaller thermal stackers from mecours also have a dry air input

Have you looked at HighRes Biosolutions Tundra store? It supports -20C to 4C and has different stacker configurations that can support up to 960 well plates.

I was more wondering about the condensation around labware exiting the frozen environment and coming onto the automated workstation.

I think for -80C this is definitely a concern and I would want to thaw them on a blower that is blowing dry air around the labware. I’ve seen this as a standalone “instrument” but never integrated on a system. I assume they are available, it’s basically just a plate holder with fans underneath. Condensation will form no matter what, you just have to make sure it is gone when the labware is ready to use. I can’t think of a scenario where you would remove labware from a -80C store and then immediately use it (although I have used -20C ethanol as part of a protocol before…).

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I’m not sure about the smaller stores, but some of the larger ones employ integrated thawing stations to bring samples to room temp.

I am searching for a cooler (4°C) or freezer (-20°C) with the following features:

  • stores mircorplates (so STP comPOUND is not an option)
  • stores the plates in an inert gas atmosphere of nitrogen or argon

I think Cytomats and Liconic can both do that, right?
Any fruther recommendations for me?

We are going to play with cold storage in the year 2024. I’ll be sure to follow up on this post with our findings. We will be working with 4C and -20C.

Cytomats and Liconics are definitely the main players. I have a 4C Liconic STX-110 that I’m quite pleased with so far. But I’m sure I’d be equally pleased with the equivalent Cytomat.

Would be interested if there are any other cooled automated plate storage devices on the market…

Check out the Hamilton Verso Q. We are purchasing that.