Agilent Blog

Top 3 Details when Specifying Custom Microplate Labware

Posted by Jon Lipsky on Jun 25, 2015 5:54:00 PM

Knowing what You Need Improves Resource Outcomes


You have just realized that, if you used a microplate with certain specifications,

  • Your cost per data point and/or
  • Your data quality and/or
  • Your processing time and/or
  • Your technical difficulty …

Can all improve!

One or more of these improvements may justify your effort to seek a specific microplate. What if you cannot find it? What do you need to know and what do you need to communicate to your labware supplier to specify this microplate?

Communicating Your Microplate Needs to Your Labware Supplier

There are 3 top details that you’ll want to have at the ready when you begin discussions with your supplier. Within those details, there are more considerations to help further discern your needs, which will help the supplier establish how it can most efficiently meet your requirements. 


1. Your Protocol

First, communicate your protocol. Exactly. In general, there is no such thing as too much information! Sometimes a seemingly small detail can save considerable development time. It is important to update any documented method with any changes that are currently in use. Annotations include materials and instrumentation, as well as techniques. Non-disclosure agreements can be arranged if proprietary information should be shared.

2. Goals and Metrics

Having a sense of what you need isn’t the same as spelling it out—literally. Do you need a 96 well microplate or a 48 well plate? Is a filter plate right for the job? Answering these types of questions will get you that much closer to sourcing the right microplate.

  • What are your improvement goals?
  • What do you want this new microplate to achieve?
  • How will you quantify that achievement?
  • What metrics does your current process achieve?

It will lead you to this; your new microplate should have:

  • X # of wells
  • X volume/well
  • Well geometry—square, round, base features (flat, V, pyramid)
  • Be molded from specific plastic or one with what characteristics? 
  • If this microplate will be a filter plate, what type of filter will you need?

o   Pore size(s)

o   Type of material?

o   What are the general characteristics of the test samples?

  • Pass through or bind
  • Hydrophobic/hydrophilic
  • Passed specific performance criteria—tolerances, flow rates

3. Mind Your Business

Of course, there are the business considerations:

  • Target price
    • For how many?
    • Across what time period?
  •  Delivery
    • Maximum timeframe?
    • Will a prototype be of use?
  • Value added 
    • Barcodes
    • Logos
    • Packaging
    • Shipping
    • Irradiation
    • Plasma treatment

Keep in mind that answers to all of these questions are not likely to be required for every project, but it is likely that more specific questions may be asked.

Seahorse Bioscience Labware microplates are ready when you are—and being prepared just gets us all to the finish line faster! We’d love to hear from you when you are ready to submit a custom microplate request form.

Request a Custom Microplate

Topics: Microplates, Custom Microplate Specifications, Microplate Labware