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When should you switch from manual to automated sample preparation?

1. When a quick processing time is critical for the research lab

Automated sample purification instruments help save lab technicians time by removing manual steps and helping reduce overall processing time when compared with manual preparation or even with other sample preparation instruments.

With KingFisher automation, each step in your workflow—such as reagent, antibody, target capture, washes, and elution—is represented by a single plate in the instrument carousel (for the KingFisher Duo Prime, rows of wells in the plate). Once the plates are prepared and loaded, simply press “start” and the instrument carries out the programmed protocol automatically.

Typical run time using a KingFisher automated purification instrument

Figure 1. The expected run time for sample preparation when using a KingFisher instrument and pre-fill plates. Less than 15 minutes to prep plates, 1 minute to select program or protocol, 1 min to load plates, press state and walk away for 25–120 minutes depending on the sample and analyte type.

Figure 2. Automation saves hands-on time. Using automation from Thermo Fisher Scientific saves you hands-on time by 80% compared to using a column-based protocol from Supplier Q.

2. When demand for sample collection and processing is high

KingFisher instruments can isolate RNA or DNA from a 96-well plate in only 25 minutes, processing up to 96 samples during one run using automated MagMAX extraction kits. Depending on the analyte outcome needed, the run time on the KingFisher systems typically ranges from 25–60 minutes for most extraction, purification, and isolation for nucleic acids, proteins, peptides, cells, and exosomes.

3. When you need consistent and reproducible results

Different sample types and applications require different chemistries to extract the analyte. Sample types such as blood, saliva, mucus, whale blubber, soil, ocean water, fecal matter, fish scales and other sample types are among the array of applications that KingFisher instruments support.

We have developed kits and solutions that contain optimized beads, buffers, and protocols to help maximize purity and yield for each application and sample type. You can also edit, modify, or create your own protocols to align with your outcome and research needs.

4. When you want to reduce plastic waste in your lab

Automated sample purification kits contain fewer plastic components by overall weight (g) compared to leading competitor's column-based solutions. The total weight of plastic utilized in the Applied Biosystems MagMAX mirVana Total RNA Isolation Kit workflow and the Applied Biosystems MagMAX DNA Multi-Sample Ultra 2.0 Kit workflow is greatly reduced compared to supplier Q’s comparable workflows. Using less plastic means a reduction in plastic waste generated by your research.

Figure 3. MagMAX kits utilize less plastics. These images showcase the environmental advantage of MagMAX kits, demonstrating their commitment to sustainability while maintaining exceptional performance in DNA and RNA extraction.

5. When you need to decrease your overall cost per sample

Consider the cost savings for labor and material reductions in addition to employee satisfaction and retention. Automation is the way of the future. It can help set you and your lab up for success, even if your research changes.

Figure 4. Automation is affordable. Using automation from Thermo Fisher Scientific for sample preparation saves you about 4% and 14% respectively on DNA kits and RNA kits compared to using automation from Supplier Q.

Be prepared for your future research with KingFisher automated purification systems.


Discover 6 reasons why you need workflows for automated
sample preparation

Read blog article

Comparing automated and manual sample purification methods

Compare automated magnetic bead-based sample preparation with manual column-based sample preparation:

Comparing automated and manual sample purification methods

Figure 5. Automated extraction of nucleic acid, cells, exosomes and proteins can be achieved with either manual or automated laboratory workflows. Academic labs may choose manual workflows for educational research, while biotech companies may use manual workflows for initial validation and transition to automated instruments when scaling up their study or research products.

How magnetic bead-based automation technology works

Thermo Scientific KingFisher sample purification systems use permanent magnetic rods with disposable tip combs to automate the extraction of any analyte of interest that can be bound to a bead.


  1. Magnetic beads mix with sample, binding to the target
  2. Magnetic rod is lowered into the solution; magnetic beads and target collect at the bottom of the tip comb
  3. Magnetic rod retracts, brining beads and target; can be positioned in another well
  4. Beads are then released by moving the magnetic rods out of the tip comb; tip comb also facilitates the missing of reagents with the beads as the magnet head moves up and down

Moving beads instead of liquids results in higher purity because no non-target organic matter or contaminants from liquid reagents are transferred from well to well. It also helps minimize sample loss and can result in higher yield.

Watch videos

Magnetic separation using Invitrogen Dynabeads magnetic beads—the premier magnetic separation particles

See how KingFisher instrument performs immunoprecipitation for proteins in 40 minutes

Automated purification systems based on sample throughput requirements

Thermo Scientific KingFisher sample purification systems have been helping researchers for nearly 20 years. Most recently, KingFisher Flex systems were on the front line of helping labs accelerate extraction throughput to handle the huge demand during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.

Experience consistency and reproducibility with affordable automated purification systems that fit your throughput needs.

Each benchtop KingFisher system is designed to process samples according to your lab’s throughput needs—from different volume ranges to different sample types.

Compare KingFisher systems

InstrumentKingFisher ApexKingFisher Duo PrimeKingFisher Flex
 Automated sample purification systemautomated sample purification systemautomated sample purification system
Sample per run
(Two magnetic head options)
1–96 (10–1,000 µl)
1–24 (30–5,000 µL)
1–6 (200–5,000 µL)
1–12 (50–1,000µl)
1–96 (20–1,000 µl)
1–24 (200–5,000 µL)
Benchtop instrument size
(W x D x H)
31 x 23 x 18 in.15.7 x 18.1 x 13.4 in.26.77 x 23.6 x 14.96 in.
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Use our selection tool to find the right magnetic bead-based kit for your automated sample preparation. Purify nucleic acids, proteins, cells, and exosomes from a wide range of sample types with KingFisher optimized kits.

Go directly to our Kit, Reagent, and Protocol Selection Tool

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Financing available for labs scaling up their research

Whether you are starting to put together your labs first end-to-end research workflow, or scaling up to meet customer demand, we have financing options available. Contact us to learn more about affordable financing. Terms and conditions apply.

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