The ASKION C-line is a fully automated liquid nitrogen based cryo-storage system. Basedon Fraunhofer’s research, the system provides a closed-cold-chain below -100℃ and guarantees nearly ice-free conditions inside the cryo tank.
The corresponding cryo work bench allows samples sorting at cryogenic temperaturesas well as computer control freezing.The cryo tank is managed by database, thedemand barcodes for process control, every vial, insert and transport containeris labeled for identification.
Vialbarcodes are unique and needed to be added to database to get with samplesinformation, such as ID, vial format, cell line to facilitate sample sorting.
Prepare sample in vials, and transfer to the WorkBench that consists of low temperature handling space and controlled ratefreezer.The cryopreservation process is controlled by temperature sensor in acontrol vial.Freezing rates can be defined on a sample specific bases via usinginterface. The cryo work bench covers a range of temperature from roomtemperature to -130℃.Up to three sample baskets can be processed independently inparallel.
After successful freezing, the insert containing the sample vials is transfer to thecold transport container in cryogenic conditions.The closed transport containerkeeps the samples in a dry and cold nitrogen atmosphere, and has capacity of 48vials.One transport container can be used for storage as well as movableprocesses, serving all tanks at the same time.The container is placed in thetransfer station that manages up to three containers in parallel via theautomated trail system.The container is linked to transport station by barcodescanning. The storage position of the samples inside the tank can be assignedautomatically by the software or manually by the user.
During the storage process, the handling space above the tank is cooled down to -100℃ by liquid nitrogen.At destination tank, the transport container isdocked into the isolated cryogenic handling space.A cryo tank designed for1.8ml cryo vials has capacity for about 20,000 samples and separated into 6racks with 9 drawer levels each.After retrieving the selected drawer in thehandling space, the picking place’s gripper transferthe samples one by one from the docked container to its final position in thedrawer.
Eachsample is controlled before sorting by internal scanning on the side or thebottom of the vial, different sorts of barcode can be recognized.After thesample sorting, the drawer moves back into the tank and container returnsautomatically to the transfer station.During the whole process, temperaturesensors inside the tank allow a continuous control of the conditions and recordsample specific temperature profiles.
The system also records the events such as day and night nitrogen filling ortemperature shifts caused by sample storage or retrieval.The platform is basedon self-manage database containing every sample’s temperatureinformation.For each processing of sample, a storage report can be extractedfrom software.