The Array Tape platform, manufactured and sold by Douglas Scientific, provides an inline, modular, and highly automated system. The continuous reel-to-reel process flow is achieved with indexing holes that run along the edge of the Array Tape, accurately positioning and continuously feeding reaction wells through the Nexar (liquid-handling and Tape-sealing) and Araya (fluorescent scanning) instruments. The Soellex™ provides large batch thermal cycling of up to 230,000 samples in a single process run.
The Array Tape platform requires a much smaller laboratory footprint and eliminates manual handling and complex robotics required for microplate-based platforms. This walk-away automation improves laboratory efficiency, freeing laboratory personnel for more important work. Unique barcodes ensure accurate identification of individual samples during and after processing.
Researchers confirm Array Tape’s benefits when compared to microplate-based technology. On average, SNP genotyping laboratories are able to increase throughput to 400 arrays (384-well format) per system in an eight-hour day. Specifically, laboratories report reagent dispense and fluorescent reading are twice as fast in the Nexar and Araya instruments compared to microplate-based platforms. For PCR processing in Array Tape, one Soellex thermal cycler handles up to 230,000 samples in a single run, which replaces 18 water baths or 150 block heaters required for microplates.
These differences result in environmental and business savings. Array Tape is a cost-effective consumable. Seven times more plastic is needed to manufacture a 384-well microplate than a 384-well array in Tape. This reduction in plastic combined with the efficiency of the embossing process used to manufacture Array Tape means a 384-well array in Tape costs a small fraction of a 384-well microplate. Furthermore, customizing unique well sizes, geometries, and configurations is much less expensive in Array Tape than in microplates.
Array Tape reduces reagent storage, handling, and disposal costs by 70 to 90% due to smaller sample volumes. The Soellex thermal cycler uses 11 times less energy than 18 waterbaths. Moreover, the continuous, inline Array Tape Platform is a walk-away operation that can lower labor costs by an estimated 60%.
The highly automated Array Tape Platform with miniaturized reaction wells allows laboratories to cut project timelines as well as the cost of labor and reagents. Furthermore, the simplified workflow reduces manual handling of analytical material and frees skilled labor for more productive work.