With our ASKION C-line® System, we are the leading provider of automated biobanking in the temperature range down to -185°C. The ASKION C-line® system is a flexible, modular, and fully automatable biobank system solution specifically designed to meet all the present and future demands on cryo-technology and biobanking.
It allows users to carry out a controlled freezing (ASKION C-line® work bench) and storing (ASKION C-line® hermetic storage) of samples while at the same time the respective documentation is generated automatically (ASKION C-line® Control). Due to the advantages of the storage at deep-cold temperatures in the nitrogen gas phase and, at the same time, maintaining a continuous cold chain, the samples can be archived with the best possible sample quality for decades.
The modular C-line® System can additionally be equipped with automation components. This makes it possible to configure tailor-made solutions with respect to user demands for standalone storage systems and fully automated biobanks.
Thanks to the modularity, the ASKION C-line® System can be extended at any time without any influence on the existing workflows or previously stored samples.
- Controlled freezing of samples
- Automated storage system
- Automated sample handling at temperatures down to below -130°C
- Sample storage in the gas phase above liquid nitrogen
- Modular structure for customized solutions for biobanks
- Products available as medical products
- GMP compliantindependent of sample formats
We would like to thank all users of ASKION C-line® Systems that have placed their trust in our business. In the context of more than 100 ASKION C-line® Systems which have been installed worldwide so far, we have come into contact with numerous partners and exciting projects. We would be pleased to implement your own biobank together with you soon. In the following, you will see a selection of users of the ASKION C-line® System:
- The ASKION C-line® System is designed to cover all ranges of biobanking, including freezing, transportation, storage, and documentation.
- All ASKION C-line® components enable working under ice-free and contamination-free conditions.
- Deep cold working areas enable a continuous cold chain to maintain a maximum sample quality. Tests have shown, that samples which had not been handled in a deep cold working area, started to thaw at room temperature to over -130°C within few seconds (1 ml vial). Hence, they come into a range in which recrystallization processes will start. As a result of this, the sample quality would be essentially reduced (e. g. survival rates, proliferation potential).
- Its modular and flexible design allows single work steps (e.g. freezing, semi-automated storage) as well as a fully automated biobank (automated freezing und transportation, automated storage and documentation).
- The ASKION C-line® components allow for biobanks to be expanded in the course of the time depending on the demands of the user, without any influence on previously stored samples or on existing work flows.
- By using retrofittable automation components as well as different sizes of capacities (e. g. Hermetic Storage S/M/L), customized solutions of biobanks can be provided, from a single small storage with manual sample handling up to a fully automated high-capacity storage.
- It is an ergonomic system which is very user-friendly (e. g. automatic lifting of heavy storage racks out of the storage tank so that manual lifting is not required) and user-safe (e. g. no contact with liquid nitrogen or deep cold nitrogen gas) and it also provides a maximum safety for the samples all the time.
- It is the only system which enables the fully automated handling of single samples and SBS racks at temperatures of down to below -130°C.
- Due to the measuring of the sample temperature during the freezing process, the complete correspondence between the sample temperature and the predefined freezing curve can be reached, which guarantees a maximum sample quality and reproducibility.
- All ASKION C-line® components are modular and allow different sample formats and storage capacity.
- The system enables the automatic and complete documentation of all parameters during the complete life cycle of each single sample.
- The ASKION C-line® System provides a user-friendly administration of the samples and sample data, and provides an open interface for the complete implementation into and connection with existing IT infrastructures (e. g. LIMS/HIS)
- Within the ASKION C-line® System, you can use or process different sample formats. In the following, you will see a selection thereof:
- Vials of all sizes from different companies (e. g. Nalgene, Nunc, Sarstedt, LVL, Greiner BioOne, FluidX, Thermo Scientific)
- Blood bags in cassettes of different sizes (e. g. Miltenyi, Fresenius DF200, Macopharma, Baxter)
- Straws (e. g. CryoBioSystem, Miltenyi)
- SBS racks (e. g. 24, 48, 96 format)
- Since the ASKION C-line® components can be individually adapted to sample formats, configurations of special formats are also possible upon consultation at any time.
- In the ASKION C-line® Hermetic Storage, the samples are stored in the nitrogen gas phase at temperatures of down to -185°C. Thereby, the following advantages arise:
- The risk of a possible cross-contamination of the samples is excluded
- Liquid nitrogen is prevented from penetrating into small tubes that are not completely leak-proof, which can cause trouble at the thawing process (Lindl 2008)
- lower stress for the sample containers since there are no ageing effects through the contact with liquid nitrogen
- The use of most diverse small tubes is possible since, at the moment, there are no vials on the market, that are approved for the storage in liquid nitrogen.
- The samples have to be stored at temperatures of below -130°C in order to maintain their sample quality. Below this temperature, processes which deteriorate the sample quality, such as migratory crystal growth, are brought to a standstill. The migratory crystal growth is a process at which small crystals are rearranged to bigger crystals. This thermo-dynamically driven process is brought to a standstill below ca. -130°C whereby a safe storage of the samples is enabled. A similar picture emerges in case of vitrified samples (amorphous, glass-like structure), which have to be stored below the glass transition temperature (generally recognized as ca. -130°C), otherwise, there can be repositioning processes and consequently, a loss of the sample quality.
- Within the deep cold environment of the storage tank, the samples are stored either separately or in form of complete SBS racks. Thereby, the separate storage is considerably more efficient, since up to 50 % more samples can be stored while the storage area remains the same. From this point of view, the separate storage of samples is the preferred storage strategy of the ASKION C-line® Hermetic Storage. There are several advantages of this storage strategy:
- Before the storage, the user does not have to wait until the whole rack is filled.
- It is possible to continually store and retrieve single samples without any influence on previously stored samples and without any loss of storage capacity. This is a significant advantage compared to other commercial systems.
- By a system-supported defragmentation of the storage bins, the filling degree of the storage area can be maximized.
- In case of loading with single samples, the storage capacity is significantly higher compared to storage in the SBS rack format or box format.
- If required, e. g. for studies, only the individually requested vials are picked. So, it is not necessary to take out the complete SBS rack as it is done in other systems. On the one hand, it is more economizing, since the user does not have to manually search for the selected target samples, (significantly lower expenditure of work and time compared to conventional or other systems) , on the other hand, the sample quality of the remaining samples is not affected, since their sample temperature is kept below -130°C at any time. The safety of the samples is achieved by the unique and patented combination of the storage at deep cold temperatures and a deep cold working area which enables a handling of the samples at temperatures down to below -130°C.
- All the other processes in the laboratory will remain unaffected thereof.
- The number of manageable samples depends on the used sample format. Taking the SBS racks as an example, up to 3 SBS racks per freezer basket can currently be taken up by the ASKION C-line® Work Bench. Since the Work Bench is equipped with up to 3 freezer baskets, it is possible to freeze up to 9 SBS racks, as required, by using different or identical freezing curves.
- While using the ASKION C-line® components (freezing, transfer, storage), the samples do not come into contact with the surrounding air (humidity, room temperature) during the whole handling process. At any point in time, the samples are in a cryogenic environment of -100°C and below. This allows, on the one hand, to avoid the formation of ice and, on the other hand, to maintain the high level of sample quality of the frozen samples since freeze-thaw-cycles are avoided. For illustration, let us take ice cream which is a treat that is often bought in a shop and then taken home. All the time, including the steps before selling the ice cream, everything is done to keep the ice cream cold and to maintain the continuous cold chain. Otherwise, there would be a risk of deterioration of the product quality (e. g. altered taste and consistency, and infestation with germs and their spreading).
- All ASKION C-line® components can be integrated into existing IT infrastructures. The connection is made via a data interface /open interface of the ASKION C-line® Control administration software. This interface can be tailored to the individual requirements of the customer. Via this interface, the communication can take place with virtually any software. The most prominent is the LIMS/HIS.
- For the establishment and operation of a biobank, ASKION offers an extensive service from a single source, including advisory, installation, and follow-up support. If required, we additionally assist our customers with further issues, such as planning of the laboratory equipment. Since we maintain a strong and international network of qualified partners, we are able to cover further subject areas, such as the establishment of the infrastructure for running a biobank, as well as the selection and procurement of consumables. Consequently, from a single source, the user or the company that runs a biobank, respectively, can receive a comprehensive and individual solution that is perfectly tailored to their needs.
- The number of required connections depends on the selected components that have to be installed. As an example, for an ASKION C-line® work bench or an ASKION C-line® Hermetic Storage, you need a power connection (standard, 16 Ampere), a network connection, and nitrogen supply for each device. Furthermore, you need the equipment that is generally required for running devices which use nitrogen (e.g. gas detection system).
- In the lower part of the ASKION C-line® Work Bench, there is a trough in which liquid nitrogen is run onto the bottom. Because of the vaporization of the liquid nitrogen, a stable temperature gradient of ca. +8°C to -180°C is forming vertically. This temperature gradient is used for freezing the samples by letting the freezer basket move to the respective position, similarly to an elevator, controlled by a sample temperature sensor. At the same time, the freezing data for each single sample are logged automatically and stored in the data bank.
- By using the so-called curve editor, it is possible to simply create and back-up individual freezing curves. Consequently, the freezing curves can be used again and again at a later time and enable maximum traceability and reproducibility.
- Freezing curves can be created according to the sample format and sample type to be handled. Here, constantly decreasing cooling rates as well as variable rates can be represented. As a result of this variability, it is possible to enable “warming-up phases” (increasing gradient for achieving higher temperatures) within the freezing curve.
- The possible freezing gradients are between 0.1 K/min and 50 K/min.
- The range of samples that can be frozen and stored includes tissue, stem cells, umbilical cord blood, sperm, and also embryos, cells and cell lines.
- The system is applied to blood banks, in fertility centers, in pharmaceutical companies, for medical appliances, in particular in pathology, as well as in research and in central laboratories.