Calibrating pipettes at 100 laboratories

ACCURATE pipette performance is vital to any laboratory, and can only be assured through regular calibration. This is essential not only for Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) and Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) requirements, but for any quality assurance structure.

Rainin pipettes from Mettler Toledo

Mettler Toledo reports that Histocom Medizin Technik, which operates more than 100 laboratories from its headquarters near Vienna, has chosen its XP26PC and MCP to provide pipette calibration services.

Histocom’s customers include scientists in clinical diagnostics laboratories who routinely perform tests on patient blood samples to identify specific diseases. The tests involve adding precise quantities of reagents to samples, often in the microlitre range. Inaccurate pipetting could lead to test-reaction failure or worse – false negative or false positive test results.

The service engineers at Histocom use the widely-favoured and accurate ‘industry standard’ technique of gravimetric calibration, which in turn relies on two automated devices. The Mettler Toledo XP26PC is used for single channel pipettes, while the MCP pipette calibration workstation is used for multichannel pipettes. Both have been developed specifically for pipette calibration in accordance with ISO 8655 regulations.

Mettler says that these devices, which are highly sensitive computerised balances, can determine the precise volume dispensed by a pipette in a fast, easy, and cost-effective manner. Dispensed volumes are weighed for each pipette or pipette channel, and these data are converted into volumes from knowledge of their specific density.

“These instruments are the only systems available that have been fully validated for the applications,” explained Oliver Klenner, general manager at Histocom. “This gives us more confidence in our service quality”. Operation with Calibry software provides full calibration history for each pipette channel and delivers a report of each process, meeting 21 CFR part 11 requirements.

“We use the XP26PC to calibrate single channel pipettes down to 1ul nominal volume, and the MCP for multichannel pipettes down to 10ul,” says Thomas Lienbacher, service engineer at Histocom. “Calibrating a 12-channel pipette would normally require 360 measurements, but with the MCP we only have to take 30 measurements”.

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