Our Love/Hate Relationship with Automation



This past school year my son’s high school robotics team made it to the divisional finals of the World Robotics Championship in St. Louis, Missouri. Robots from all over the world competed and were designed to stack plastic tote bins and trashcans in the fastest, most efficient way possible. The thrill of victory was sweet, yet the agony of defeat was felt when a robot arm fell off, or the robot malfunctioned causing the match to be lost.

Unfortunately, many of SeqGen’s customers have felt that same “agony of defeat” when their sequencer or qPCR machine’s robot malfunctions. None of us are in the world games of sequencing, yet our lives and livelihoods are dependent upon our machine’s automation.   We love the freedom and flexibility to walk away from a machine and let it complete the sequencing or qPCR runs, yet what do we do when it stops? Unlike my son’s team where 69 students were looking on as the robot ran the course, sometimes our autosamplers fail when no one is watching or in the middle of the night. If you are not under service contract, autosampler repair or replacement is very expensive. Thankfully, there are some instances where simple replacement of the autosampler sensors (pictured above on top of the autosampler gripper) will repair your autosampler.   Historically, this was a multi-thousand dollar repair if performed by the manufacturer on a time and materials basis. Now you can call SeqGen, order $450 worth of parts, and perform the repair yourself in about 5 minutes. We will even send you the video link and step-by-step instructions. This is the ultimate DIY fix!

Here are some of the more common autosampler error messages you may observe, along with their probable solution:

3730/xl – Autosampler cannot hold the tray – sensor replacement may solve the problem.

3730/xl – Autosampler detects non assigned tray – sensor replacement may solve the problem.

3730/xl – Autosampler did not release the tray – sensor replacement may solve the problem.

3730 or 3130 – Autosampler movement failed in X, Y, or Z axis – caused by physical misalignment or mechanical issues. Call SeqGen.

7900HT – robot fails to grip the plate – stacker may require alignment or gripper replacement. Call SeqGen.

As always, do not hesitate to contact us today if you have any questions regarding your system’s robotics. 

Written by Susan Henry

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