Scientists used to require several pieces of equipment and a multi-step process to purify biomolecules like nucleic acids or proteins. Nowadays, the QIAcube does it all automatically – in one square meter of space. Helbling developed this device for and in collaboration with QIAGEN, from the initial idea through to series production.
QIAGEN wanted to bring a device to market as swiftly as possible that could automatically purify protein or nucleic acid samples in QIAGEN’s proven spin columns rather than using the current manual process. Automated systems such as this would not only boost laboratories’ productivity but also improve the reproducibility and reliability of test results. Additionally, the automated system needed to be compact and easy enough to operate that even smaller labs could make efficient use of it. Since the internal R&D department was working to capacity on the development of another device platform, QIAGEN was looking for an external development partner with the necessary know-how: from mechanics, electronics and software all the way to liquid handling. On the basis of these criteria, QIAGEN chose Helbling and thus to continue the successful collaboration which had already begun many years before.
Key data and technical details
- Automation of the existing QIAGEN spin columns
- Automation solution for 1 to 12 samples
- Throughput of 96 different samples per day
- Fully automatic solution
- Same or better results and processing time compared to manual processing of spin columns
- Liquid handling module (syringe)
- Gripper module
- XYZ handling unit
- Heated shaker
- Sensors for in-process controls
- HMI with touch screen