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Hamilton BiOS


Automated Medium- to Extra-Large-Capacity Biobanking


Hamilton BiOS is an automated sample storage system specifically designed to store sensitive biological samples at -80°C.

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The biobank system capacity can be scaled from 100,000 samples to more than 10 million samples, and it supports a wide variety of labware. Users can control access rights and record a full sample audit trail from introduction through processing and delivery. BiOS guarantees sample integrity, and it eliminates temperature fluctuations to prevent sample degredation.

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Sample Integrity

  • Guaranteed sample integrity throughout the lifetime of the sample
  • The automated freezer prevents any significant temperature rises, so that freeze-thaw cycles are limited and potential sample degradation is prevented
  • Eliminates many of the unknowns by tracking the temperature of each sample at all times, providing a temperature profile for each sample moving throughout the system
  • Multiple levels of redundancy to ensure samples will remain at -80°C


  • Easily integrate BiOS into your applications
  • Store a mixture of labware, including a wide variety of microtubes, cryovials and blood tubes, and sort in the same tube picking module.
  • BiOS can store 100,000 samples or more than 10 million samples:
    • BiOS M: for existing labs that need a compact storage system
    • BiOS L: for labs that have large storage needs but require a compact footprint
    • BiOS XL: for the largest studies that need to store millions of samples in dedicated facilities
  • Can be expanded in the field after the initial installation. The capacity of the biobank can be increased by simply adding storage compartments and extending the system enclosure, while the samples are kept at -80°C


  • BiOS maximizes productivity by keeping all automation at around -20°C to increase reliability and minimize downtime. 
  • Service to the automated freezer can be done quickly and efficiently. The refrigeration service compartments are located externally for easy access, and the samples are safely sealed in lidded -80°C chest compartments.

BiOS features an entirely new software package designed to combine intuitive ease of use with seamless integration into the customer’s workflow.

  • Intuitive user interface designed to feel immediately familiar, even to new users
  • Simple “3-touch” job execution makes operating the system quick and easy
  • Comprehensive security controls and customization to prevent unauthorized access to sample inventories
  • Extensive reporting options allow the user to create, customize and automate reports based upon nearly any inventory or system parameter
  • Complete audit trail for every sample, throughout its entire lifetime within the system
  • Supports 21 CFR Part 11 compliance
  • Extensive alarming features that meet today’s best practices

BiOS Software

Technical Specifications

Temperature Range   Down to -85°C
250,000 to > 10 Million
Labware Sizes   0.3 mL to 12 mL
Redundancy (Options)   Two independent refrigeration
systems; LN2 backup
Operating System   Windows 7
Labware Processing   Processes multiple types of
labware without hardware
Barcode Reading   1-D and 2-D for plates
2-D for tubes



2.9 m (9 ft 7 in)
4.4 m (14 ft 6 in)
4.35 m (14 ft 4 in)
3.9 m (12 ft 10 in)
3.9 m (12 ft 10 in)
5 m (16 ft 5 in)
3.5 m to 10.2 m (11 ft 7 in to 33 ft 6 in)
3.5 m to 10.2 m (11 ft 7 in to 33 ft 6 in)
7.1 m to 22.5 m (23 ft 4 in to 73 ft 10 in)
Hamilton BiOS, Askion C-line and Microlab STAR featured in Inselspital Bern Biobank Video

© 2016 Insel Gruppe AG. Produktion: Digitale Massarbeit. Republished with permission.

Translation of the video:

(00:07) A blood sample is being stored at the Biobank of the Inselspital ("island hospital") Bern, at -150°C.

(00:15) Only one hour has passed by since the blood has been drawn, but in this time, it has gone through a whole process, which worldwide is a unique process involving efficiency and degree of automation.

(00:38) But one after the other: First, before taking the blood, the wristband of the patient is scanned. With this, the uninterrupted documentation of the sample starts.

(01:03) The sample is picked up by a courier service shortly after drawing the blood. The courier had been triggered automatically with the scan of the patient's wristband.

(01:12) The courier brings the blood sample to the Center for Laboratory Medicine of the Inselspital.

(01:21) There, the sample is centrifuged on a high-tech lab street. This does not only process samples from the biobank, but also thousands of samples which are produced through the daily operation of the Inselspital.

(01:34) The samples for the Biobank are automatically recognized, processed and transferred.

(01:50) Now the sample is split. The pipetting robot which performs this was specially developed and produced on requirements of the Biobank of the Inselspital. It distributes serum, plasma and buffy coat into tubes, which are compatible with storage down to -196°C.

(02:19) The next step: The samples are frozen down to -140°C. This happens in accordance with a predefined temperature profile. By doing it this way, the composition of large ice crystals is avoided, which ensures the highest possible quality of samples. 

(02:40) From now on, the cold chain will never be interrupted until storage. In an insulated, liquid nitrogen-filled dewar, the samples are transferred to the Biobank and put into storage there. For this purpose, two systems are available. In these tanks with liquid nitrogen, tubes are maintained at -150°C or below. On this basis, samples will fulfill highest requirements even after many years. The storage system is fully automated. The tanks have a combined capacity of 100'000 samples.

(03:16) As a second alternative, samples can be stored at -80°C in another fully automated cold storage system, which can store and administrate up to 2 million samples. The system offers triple security, does now allow ice buildup on the samples, and completely documents the samples. Only one hour after blood has been taken from the patient, the samples are stored in a way that they will be available with the highest quality to researchers for decades.  

Norwegian Institute of Public Health Film on the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study (MOBA)

BiOS is shown in the film about MOBA, one of the largest public health studies, at 5:30. A paraphrase of the clip:

"Helen Engelstad Kvalem, a MOBA researcher, says that all samples from the mother child study are saved in the high tech freezer (Biobank), 4-5 million samples, and can be stored for very long time, serum, plasma or DNA.”

The video is copyright of Norwegian Institute of Public Health published May 30, 2014:

Translation of the introductory paragraph:

"The Institute has made a film about the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study (MOBA). We would like to thank the participants that they contribute to the examination and inspire them to continue to be with. We want parents and children in MoBa with us as long as possible. When we get solid data to research that may help prevent serious diseases.

MOBA is actually one of the biggest and best public health studies in the world because we have gathered a wide range of health information from mothers and fathers before the child is born and from child through adolescence.

Camilla Stoltenberg, Director of Public Health:
- I think that MOBA is something the whole country can be proud of - not to mention the participants.

In the film we meet the first child enrolled in Cohort and a family that has five of their ten children in the study. We visited biobank, where samples from the participants kept and Dental bank that holds and researching milk teeth from 7-year-olds in the study. We have filmed a survey in one of the MOBA many research projects and we have asked children what it means to be a scientist."

The film lasts for eight minutes.


Construction of an automated -80°C Hamilton BiOS in the HUB

Source: Medizinische Hochschule Hannover,

Translated article:

The central biobank MHH (Hannover unified Biobank) established an automatic -80°C storage robot manufactured by Hamilton (BIOS) in the storeroom of the CRC Hannover. End of May 2015 then served begun building BIOS system by the company. The connection of the system to the building services and the on-site supply of nitrogen could already take place in July. After an extensive test phase by the Hamilton plant using a SAT (Site Acceptance Test) will be passed to the HUB in August. By the winter of 2015 different test runs on the system are carried out by the HUB staff and created and evaluated different temperature profiles for the individual processes. Only after a thorough examination in 2015 samples can be stored safely and monitored in the warehouse robots expected from winter. With a large-scale storage of MHH and study samples in the BIOS system is expected in spring 2016.

A secure, stable temperature-controlled and documented storage and retrieval of samples is very important to a professional Biobank. Manual samples on dry ice outsourcing involve a high risk that the non-paged samples are impaired in their sample quality.

However, a prerequisite for the storage in the warehouse robots MHH biobank using 2D bar-coded cryovials as this is already implemented by the HUB for many MHH department and studies in externally funded projects since 2012. 2D barcode tubes allow for sample processing and storage as well as the compilation of sample shipments - the so-called picking - a secure and automated approach using laboratory and warehouse robotics.

A manual compilation of sample shipments, in contrast to an automation solution time-consuming, error-prone, and caused by lack of samples compaction an unused dead volume in the sample store, the negative effect on the profitability of a biobank. Economical to continually replenish vacant positions in the storage boxes and so make optimum use of the storage capacity of a biobank and to keep storage costs as low as possible is. In MHH freezing robot these processes are automated and temperature-controlled in the so-called pick station at a temperature of -80 ° C from.

This also quality losses due to fluctuations in temperature in the rearrangement and the compilation of programs can be avoided. This storage form is particularly suitable for short and medium term storage. However, samples that are stored of quality and reliability in the gas phase of liquid nitrogen tank, without loss of quality transported to the freezing robots from the nitrogen tank and there respective work is carried out. The BIOS is perfectly complemented by the existing Aliquotierrobotik of body fluids (blood, urine, ...) and the automated DNA / RNA extraction system.

All devices are connected via interfaces to the common BIMS (Biobank Information Management System) soon, so that a complete sample tracking of samples will be possible in future. To this end, the CentraXX software from Kairos is established and integrated into the Biobankprozesse in the HUB currently.