Most Automation Friendly Plate Reader

Be great to get a community poll going on what plate reader engineers think is just all around the easiest to work with and integrate with robotic arms and why!

Now discuss and argue :laughing:

Oooh… this is such a loaded topic!

WRT robotic arms… I’m a fan of BMG CLARIOstar and Tecan Infinite. The nest extends and are accessible for your standard PF400. The units have a reasonable enough footprint to not eat a ton of workcell space.

I’m interested in hearing what others have to say about this!

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I’m also a big fan of BMG Clariostar and Tecan Infinite and agree the nest extending out is perfect for these devices to sit off deck and have the liquid handling arm reach it on the edge.

We have the Clariostar on our Hamilton, and the Tecan Infinite on our Fluent.

We have a GloMax® plate reader which we tried to integrate but found it difficult because of it’s tablet at the top. Building protocols is also difficult if it is placed in or near a liquid handler.

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We have PE Envisions integrated with VWorks on a BioCel and with Cellario on a system that has Staubli robot arms. We also have a couple of BMG Pherastars on our Cellario systems (one with Staubli robot arms and one with Precise robot arms). I find that the Envision plate nests are way more open and work better with all our robot arms, while the BMG nests are a bit harder to teach with our Staubli arms.

Reader control is simpler with the Envision; the scheduler software only has to send a reader method name. The Pherastar driver we have on our Cellario systems has many more parameters, but allows for things like per run or per plate gain optimization and focus calibration.

Software upgrades on the BMG readers are easier and since the interface is through USB almost any computer can be used. The Envision connection requires a certain interface card so not all computers are compatible. Our Envision computer upgrades have been performed by PE, but we have handled BMG computer upgrades on our own.

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I hate Tecan plate readers. They are slow and the software isn’t too intuitive. I would recommend looking into Bioteks (now are part of Agilent) Synergy readers.

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Biotek has been a great company to work with. I don’t have experience with their plate readers, though, just plate washers.

By Tecan Infinite you refer to the F200, right @trish and @DanielYip?
We have two Infinite F50 robotic in house, which where bought for integration before my time. However, they don’t even have an extended nest, i.e. you have to load into the reader?! Did anyone ever integrate them with a standard coll. arm or are they just meant to be loaded by a small gripper on deck of a (Tecan) liquid handler?

@csthauer It’s the Tecan Infinite 200 PRO.

It can be loaded by the RoMa arm on the Tecan EVO or the RGA arm on the Fluent. I have a video of this on our Fluent at Synthace.

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@csthauer Echoing @DanielYip - previous lab I worked with had an Infinite 200 PRO that worked with GBG Scheduler + PF400 arm.

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I am just exhuming this topic for two questions:
Besides hardware there is a software component regarding integration of those readers. Do any of you have experience how to access the readers besides using the manufacturer software could simple commands be used? Or would you rather connect from the robot to the manufacturer software?
Second: have any of you tried the Byonoy Absorbance 96 Automate? I had the chance to play around with it and found it very innovative.

I wrote an interface to the BMG ClarioSTAR for PLR. Since we had no documentation, and this machine uses FTDI (which I hadn’t seen before), this interface was comparatively hard to write. If you’re interested in just using a plate reader, definitely stick to existing software. If you want to contribute to more foundational work by building new OS-agnostic interfaces, that can definitely be done. If you decide to do the latter, let me know if I can be helpful!

I’ve mainly used Tecan readers but something like the Tecan Spark has an API layer and sample API code if you’re interested in using Spark Control and/or Spark Control Magellan.

I am also interested in the Byonoy Absorbance 96 Automate, in particular the software layer.

@rickwierenga: Thank you. As I am not a programmer, I have no aspirations to code by myself. I will relay the info to our software developers, to see if this helps.

@luisvillaautomata Thanks, an API layer is probably the most comfortable way to access the hardware.
Regarding Byonoy, they also have an API layer including documentation - this is valid for the manual system. There is a SiLa connector available for the automated version, which is different.

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@trish and @DanielYip, it’s amazing to hear you both are able to successfully integrate the Tecan Infinite with your Tecans!

We have a Tecan Fluent and wanted to repurpose our Lunatic (Unchained Labs) for quantifying samples, is this feasible or have you heard anyone else use it with their Tecan Fluent?


Yes this is feasible. I do know a few examples of a Lunatic integrated with a Fluent, especially for downstream purification experiments with robocolumns.