Fully Automated FTA Card Punching and Sample Analysis

Hamilton optimized the easyPunch STARlet assay ready workstation to streamline pre-PCR workflow steps from a variety of evidentiary and DNA databasing biological samples collected via FTA cards. Samples are collected onto barcoded indicating or non-indicating FTA cards, where cellular DNA is released, and safely transported or stored for long time periods at ambient temperature. The cards are loaded onto the easyPunch for automated sample imaging, punching and processing. The system includes a specialized punch module, gripper arm and lightbox with camera, and is pre-configured for use with framed filter cards. Samples in up to two 96-well microplates may be processed at once.

Features and Benefits

Convenient Flexibility

The easyPunch fully integrates sample collection card inventory, manipulation, and punching with liquid handling in one compact unit. Additional conveniences and flexible features include:

  • Workflows suitable for genomic or compound extraction analysis
  • Multiple punch head sizes to ensure the appropriate amount of starting material:
    • 1.2 mm
    • 2 mm
    • 3 mm
    • 6 mm
  • Punch head cleaning options, vacuum system, and ionizer to reduce risk of sample contamination
  • Air displacement pipetting using Hamilton tips with CO-RE (Compressed O-Ring Expansion) technology for superior downstream liquid handling without aerosol generation during tip pick-up and ejection
  • A range of supported FTA card dimensions and frames:
    • 51mm x 51mm, cardboard frame
    • 84mm x 53mm, cardboard frame
    • 51mm x 51mm, plastic frame
    • 73mm x 51mm, plastic frame

Exceptional Traceability and Documentation

Sample barcode reading and integrated software enable and document full sample tracking to eliminate risks of sample mishandling or manual documentation errors. Additionally, the software is linked to a database that stores plate and card images, and all relevant information may be downloaded for use in a forensic or patient case file. Sample card magazines, plates, and reagents are also tracked as they are automatically loaded onto the deck.

Advanced Imaging and Analysis

The integrated CCD camera images each card barcode and sampling area. Robust, specific software identifies stained and unstained portions, pre-punched positions, and ideal sample strike locations. It also monitors punch deliver to each sample plate destination well and downstream liquid handling activities. Over 20 plate parameters and 100 card parameters are optimized for use during FTA card analysis, and laboratory-specific defaults may be set by administrators based on the lab’s internal studies.


All specifications are based on the Microlab STARlet.

31.1 in (788 mm)
Length (With Autoload)39.7 in (1008 mm)
Width54.8 in (1391 mm)
Height35.7 in (905 mm)

Additional Resources for the easyPunch STARlet Workstation

View the Hamilton Bioanalytical STARlet
See the Hamilton ELISA STARlet
Check out the Hamilton RT STARlet
Discover the easyBlood STARlet
View the Genomic STARlet
Learn more about the Hamilton Aliquot STARlet
See details about the PCR Prep STARlet
Learn more about Hamilton's forensic science automation

Specific Applications

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