In spring 2020, the newly acquired, Milan-based Euroclone found itself at the centre of the COVID-19 pandemic, as the virus spread rapidly around the world. Hospitals were overcrowded and there was a severe lack of capacity to diagnose infections.
“The situation was almost desperate. Our phones were ringing all the time and everyone wanted liquid handling robotfor pipetting so that they could test more patients. We quickly set up an organisation that could efficiently take care of our customers’ needs,” says Franco Martinez, Sales Manager, Euroclone, Italy.
Focus on cell and molecular biology
Euroclone is a leading distributor of instruments and consumables in the field of cell and molecular biology in Italy. It’s end customers include, for example, hospital laboratories, research centres and private clinics. Before the pandemic broke out, Euroclone had not installed any liquid handling robots in Italy, but customers now needed help obtaining equipment.
Franco Martinez and his colleagues at Euroclone went through their network and found a good supplier, the Chinese company MGI, with which Euroclone collaborates in other areas.
“Thanks to the trust that had been built up between us and our customers, everything was very quick. The first machine was installed in May 2020. As word spread that we could supply liquid handling robots, customers flocked to us, and we sold about 50 machines in 2020,” says Franco Martinez.
From 100 to 3,500 pipetting operations per day
Pipetting is performed either manually or by a liquid handling robot. A large laboratory can manually process about 100 samples per day, while a liquid handling robot is far more efficient with 96, 384, 1,536 samples per run.
“Our machine was able to process 3,500 samples in 24 hours. The fact that we also could offer short delivery times, fast installation and reproducible results contributed to great customer satisfaction,” says Franco.
Increased focus on robotic handling of samples
Customers mainly fall into one of three groups: those who have already automated the handling of samples but need to increase their capacity, customers who have previously done pipetting manually but want to make their processes more efficient, and those who already have a liquid handling robot but lacked reagents.
“It is likely that the pandemic has given an extra boost to the automation trend, as it improves both efficiency and reproducibility. I think the trend will continue because the benefits are so considerable,” concludes Franco Martinez.