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Job Title: Senior Researcher for the High Throughput Antibody Discovery team
In my experience, any kind of temperature dependent incubation (incubate for X minutes at Y degrees) done on an automated platform is done in racks. There are a wide variety of incubators/refrigerators/freezers that are designed specifically to be used with automation platforms. They will have an internal plate mover that will retrieve a plate and present to a transfer station on the outside of the incubator. They will also retrieve a plate from that transfer station and store within the incubator. Instead of stacking plates on top of another, each plate has a slot in a rack that can be accessed by the plate transport component. This allows air flow between the plates to reduce temperature variation across any one particular plate. It also allows the system to retrieve any plate at any time without having to move other plates out of the way. This is referred to as “Random Access Storage”. You can order racks for a variety of plate heights to maximize storage capacity. So if you are using standard microplates or deep-well plates all you have to do is order the correct rack. This is also a feature within the instrument configuration that is usually pretty easy to change, allowing for additional flexibility.