Paul Thomen

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Aspects of MultiChannel Pipettor QC Industry 2014-2016 adds a 2014 survey report on Multi-Channel Pipettor QC that summarizes trends and results of HTStec’s industry-wide global web-based benchmarking survey carried out in April 2014.

Multi-channel pipettors are essential tools in most life science laboratories today. Yet the impact of undertaking quality control (QC) measures (e.g. to verify the accuracy and precision of the volume dispensed) on improving data quality, enhancing productivity/efficiency and reducing experimental failures has only relatively recently been recognized. Understanding how lab users approach the issue of pipettor QC is important as the industry struggles to adopt standards for automated pipetting.
The objectives were to understand end-user opinion on the implementation of QC measures when using multi-channel pipettors and to track the increasing use of/interest in dispense verification systems. The results of this survey are intended to be used by pipettor/liquid handling manufacturers and dispense verification providers to help them understand the needs of end-users to ensure customer success. Equal emphasis was given to soliciting opinion from persons using multi-channel pipettors and interested in QC and dispensing verification in all aspects of life science research.

Comprehensive Table of Contents and complete report available at .

The main questionnaire consisted of 27 multi-choice questions and 1 open-ended question. In addition, there were 6 questions related solely to survey demographics. The survey collected 68 validated responses, of these 74% provided comprehensive input. Survey responses were geographically split: 43% Europe; 38% North America; 7% Japan; 6% Asia (excluding Japan & China); 4% Rest of World; and 2% China.

The survey looked at the following aspects of multi-channel pipettor QC as practiced today (2014) and in a few cases as predicted for the future (2016):-

·         The application areas that best describes respondent’s use of multi-channel pipettors

·         Importance placed on multi-channel pipettor QC

·         Main motivators to implement or perform regular multi-channel pipettor QC

·         How pipettor QC is routinely undertaken today

·         Aspects of pipettor QC that are routinely checked/verified

·         Frequency of undertaking pipettor QC

·         Happiness with what is generally available for determining multi-channel pipettor QC

·         Biggest limitations/problems posed by existing pipettor QC methods/systems

·         Awareness of any promising home-brew methodologies for pipettor QC

·         Use of known commercial products for pipettor QC

·         Type of hand-held and automated multi-channel pipettors respondents most want to QC/verify

·         Teasonable and maximum price-points to perform dye-based pipettor QC in house

·         Are commercial systems value for money

·         Level of spending allocated to multi-channel pipettor QC

·         Breakdown of multi-channel pipettor QC budget

·         Likelihood of purchasing a system to enable multi-channel pipettor QC

·         Use of fee-for-service providers to calibrate/verify multi-channel pipettor dispensing

·         Main motivators for using a fee-for-service provider

·         Likelihood will outsource multi-channel pipettor QC

·         Awareness of a pipettor’s calibration certificate, manufacturer’s recommendations for pipettor QC and how pipettor manufacturers should support QC

·         Respondents under pressure to implement pipettor QC

·         Any good reason not to implement pipettor QC

·         How upfront investment costs of implementing pipettor QC are justified

·         Would an ISO standard for automated pipettor systems and their QC make any difference to respondent’s work

·         Putting pipetting QC in context of the overall error/variability in a biological assay

·         Any unmet needs in multi-channel pipettor QC that respondents would like to see addressed by service providers.

Respondents came from 14 University; 8 Biotech Company – Established; 8 Research Institute; 7 Large Pharma; 6 Medical School/Hospital/Clinic; 6 Other; 5 Contract Research Organization; 4 Medium-Small Pharma; 4 Government Laboratory; 4 Biotech Company – Startup; 2 Diagnostics Company; and 2 Academic Screening Center.

Most survey respondents had a senior job role or position which was in descending order: 14 research scientists/associates; 11 lab managers; 9 senior scientists/researchers; 7 professors/assistant professors; 6 principal investigators; 4 section/group leaders; 4 directors; 4 others; 3 graduate students/PhD students; 3 post-docs; 2 instrument support staff; and 1 department head.
Survey results were expressed as an average of all survey respondents. In addition, where appropriate the data was fully reanalyzed after sub-division into the 5 survey groups: 1) Pharma Labs; 2) Applied Labs; 3) Academic Labs; 4) Europe; & 5) North America.

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