Next Generation Cell Viability Analyzer Vi-CELL BLU Cell Simplifies and Speeds Workflow

Beckman Coulter Life Sciences just launched its next generation cell viability analyzer, Vi-CELL BLU. As part of the launch, Lena Lee, Global Product Manager for Vi-CELL was interviewed about improvements over the legacy analyzer. The Vi-CELL has been helping researchers for over 20 years to monitor the health of their cells by providing total cell concentration, percent cell viability, and cell size (another indicator of cell health).

When Beckman Coulter Life Sciences decided to design a next generation version of their popular Vi-CELL, they asked labs around the world what they loved about their Vi-CELL analyzer and what they would like to see improved. The feedback was incorporated into the Vi-CELL BLU Cell Viability Analyzer.

Faster Processing Speeds

Lena explained that the primary inspiration in designing the Vi-CELL BLU was to enable more work to be done in less time. So the first improvement made was to increase sample processing speeds. The Vi-CELL BLU has two operating modes, the normal speed has a 28% faster processing speed and the FAST mode has a 50% faster processing speed than the legacy Vi-CELL XR model. The FAST mode requires an exact sample volume added to the sample tube, which permits skipping of a couple aspirate/mix steps and also cleaning steps. The elimination of these steps permits the faster processing time.

Increased Sample Capacity

Another way that Beckman Coulter Life Sciences increased the amount of work that can be done by Vi-CELL BLU is to increase sample capacity. Now a full 24-position carousel can be run where the legacy only permitted a 12-position carousel. In addition the Vi-CELL BLU can now also run a 96 well plate. Walk away automation allows scientists to set up the samples and then conduct other work while the analysis is being run.

Less Sample Volume Required

In addition to requests for faster processing of samples, customers requested that the next generation cell viability analyzer require less sample volume. The new Vi-CELL BLU requires just 200 μl in normal mode and 170 μl in FAST mode.

Other Improvements to Streamline Workflow

Beckman Coulter Life Sciences received requests for improved software for the next generation analyzer, so with Vi-CELL BLU they increased data integrity and security. The software runs on Windows 10, 64 bit.

Another big improvement increases lab efficiency. The new instrument is designed to save bench space by incorporating a built in touchscreen display and user friendly operation. Also, reagents and waste are now accessible from the front of the instrument instead of the side of the analyzer, this allows more efficient use of bench space without the need for side access or clearance.

They also enabled clean room requirements by creating a reagent pack that is enclosed in plastic and contains no paper or cardboard that could release particles into the air. The new Vi-CELL BLU also has single-use concentration controls for setting the concentration offset for QC runs and daily monitoring.

Legacy Product Correlation

Lena shared that they have received several questions about how the Vi-CELL BLU correlates with their legacy product. Lena said that they have published several application notes on the correlation of the equipment as well as guidelines for transitioning to the next generation machine. ( )

To see the full video interview with Lena Lee and learn more about VI-CELL BLU, please visit

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