September 2, 2021
Flow Robotics, a Denmark-based designer and producer of robots for automated liquid handling, has announced it established a North American subsidiary in Princeton, N.J. The company plans to offer its flowbot ONE to customers looking to automate manual pipetting tasks in laboratory settings.
The company said laboratory workers are faced with high workloads, burnout and physically challenging conditions, which were exacerbated by the COVID-19 outbreak. The pandemic brought an increased necessity for collecting and preparing virus samples quickly, safely and accurately.
“We are excited to expand our operations in North America,” said Annika Isaksson, CEO of Flow Robotics. “Our technology is setting a global precedent in life sciences, health care and academia, delivering faster and more accurate lab results. The flowbot ONE helps labs achieve a more sustainable setup by taking over many of the repetitive and burdensome manual pipetting tasks. In turn, lab personnel can engage in more valuable activities.”
The company estimated that about half of medical lab technicians carry out the same arm movements for at least 25% of their working day. Manual pipetting is a large part of liquid handling in any laboratory, and it brings hours of repetitive work in fixed positions. This can result in physical strain to the shoulders, arms, and hands. In addition, the American Society for Clinical Pathology found that 85% of laboratory professionals suffer from burnout; 36% struggle with inadequate staffing; and 32% face a heavy workload and pressure to complete all testing on time.
Flow Robotics said flowbot ONE does not require advanced programming skills, unlike other automated liquid handling robots. This allows just about anyone to set up a procedure, and the robot can also integrate to devices positioned on the deck or external to the system. Import and export of data is also supported. Additional pipetting tasks include PCR and qPCR, normalization, sample aliquoting, microplate filling, next-generation sequencing (NGS), ELISA sample preparation, assay development, screening, reformatting, cherry picking, transferring, serial dilution, plate replication and reformatting.
“We continue to see the need for more flexibility in robotics automation in clinical and research labs across the world,” said Craig Cardella, vice president and general manager for Flow Robotics’ new North American division. “I am excited to bring this capability to labs in North America with flowbot ONE to help increase productivity and change the way they do business.”
Since May 2020, the flowbot ONE has contributed to the fight against COVID-19, by speeding up the analysis of COVID-19 tests while keeping laboratory assistants safe. In Europe, more than 600,000 COVID-19 tests are being prepared each month on a flowbot ONE, where the robots pipette the live virus, handling several samples simultaneously, all working from a predefined pipetting pattern.
In addition, Unilabs, one of the largest diagnostic providers in Europe, uses five flowbot ONE robots to help screen sclerosis patients for viruses. The flowbot ONE has helped increase lab productivity by 40%, and reduced the time patients need to wait for results by 30%.
For more information on Flow Robotics, visit its website here.