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MWG Biotech RoboSeq4200

Williams, Deanna Deanna.Williams at stjude.org
Tue Apr 18 10:36:06 EST 2000

We have several robotics systems currently in use in our facility.  Each is
used for different purposes.  We have a MWG RoboAmp that we currently use
for preparing PCR reactions for our microarray lab.  In our microarray lab,
we also have a Qiagen Biorobot 3000 that we use for PCR cleanup and plasmid
purification.  We also use a Beckman Biomek 2000 in our DNA sequencing lab
for preparation and cleanup of sequencing reactions for use on our 373, 377
and 3700.  We have been using Beckman Biomeks for many years beginning
several years ago with the 1000 and switching to the 2000 in 1996 or 1997.
Each of these robotics systems has limitations as well as attributes.  As
far as the MWG RoboAmp is concerned, we received our system in September of
1999.  Here's a synopsis of our experience:

Hardware issues: In the first three months, we experienced several hardware
problems including failure of the integrated thermal cycler (it was replaced
twice) and an un-repairable calibration drift along the y axis.  At this
point, MWG gave us a completely new machine that they had extensively
checked in their service department.  With this new machine, we have had
only minor hardware problems.  I have not used the integrated thermal cycler
as we now use off-line cyclers to increase our throughput.  

Software issues: The current software (version 1.12) is clumsy (you must
shuffle through 4 different programs to write a complete application), the
logic is not intuitive, and there are inconsistencies.  Be prepared for a
steep learning curve.  The manual is unusable so be prepared for some
trial-and-error learning. A new software release is imminent that should,
I've been told, address many of these issues.  While the software may not be
user-friendly, it is quite flexible, containing several functional features
that I've found to be very useful.  For example, it is very easy to "teach"
new rack and tube positions and you are automatically prompted for the
number of samples you wish to run.

Technical and service support: Excellent!  Whenever I've had problems,
questions or complaints, I have gotten very prompt and excellent responses.
Wes Helms (service) and Sandra Fisher (technical support) are extremely
knowledgeable, patient and helpful.  This is essential since, with the
current software, you may frequently need their help and advice.

If you need any more information, please feel free to send an email to
deanna.williams at stjude.org

Deanna C. Naeve
Functional Genomics Laboratory Supervisor
Hartwell Center for Bioinformatics and Biotechnology
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
332 N. Lauderdale
Memphis, TN.

-----Original Message-----
From: George S. Grills [mailto:grills at aecom.yu.edu]
Sent: Thursday, April 13, 2000 4:36 PM
To: autoseq at net.bio.net
Subject: Re: MWG Biotech RoboSeq4200

I am also very interested in hearing feedback about the MWG robot.  Please
post feedback to the newsgroup.

At 10:08 AM 4/13/00 -0500, Scott Selby wrote:
>I'd be interested in corresponding with anyone who has experience with
>this MWG setup.  Am considering buying it to feed samples to an ABI 3700
>for both sequencing and linkage analysis.  Please contact me off of the



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