Placement Strategies

Set up your Placement Strategies to automate sample placement

Michael Fero PhD avatar
Written by Michael Fero PhD
Updated over a week ago

Placement strategies allow us to set up rules for how to place tubes and plates into containers and ultimately sample storage freezers and refrigerators. Let's try a simple example. Go to Inventory > Placement Strategies.

Use 'New Placement Strategy' to begin the 'Create Placement Strategy' dialog. We are creating a strain collection with a working and archival copy, but the placement strategy will be the same for both. Here we select 'Tube Placement' since each strain sample is contained in its own 5 mL tube. Our destination will be a 100 position tube box. We want our samples to go into existing boxes if room is available. We specify the tube types that are accepted by this placement strategy, as well as the type of destination container, in this case, our 100 position tube box.

Note: The 100 Position Tube Box Type is set up under Admin User App Settings > Plates. This is because a Tube Box is a multi-position type, more like a plate than a tube.

After you submit your choice of strategy, your Strain Collection Placement Strategy view should look as follows, and is now ready for the addition of destination locations.

Click on the 'Add Locations' button to get started. The 'Select Locations' dialog will appear, allowing us to specify -80°C Freezer No. 1 as one of my sample placement locations. We are dedicating only Shelf 4 to the working copy of the strain repository.

Note that 'Capacity' refers to final locations where several things might to into the same location, in our case we are only going to allow 1 tube box per location. Note that the system correctly displays that Shelf 4 has 100 possible positions for tube boxes. This is because the freezer was set up with each shelf holding 5 racks, each of which in turn can hold 20 tube boxes. We can store up to 10,000 strains on Shelf 4.

We can also add -80°C Freezer No. 2 for our archival copy once we have specified the Freezer No. 1. The dialog now looks like the following.

Now are Strain Collection Placement Strategy will show all of the available positions in the two target Freezer locations.

Let's use this strategy to automatically place a working copy of a particular strain sample tube into -80°C Freezer No. 1.

We go to Inventory > Tubes and create a new tube with one of the types we know will work with the strain collection placement strategy.

Use the 'New Tube' button to create a new tube. Note that we do not need to put anything in the tube yet. The tube exists on its own as something that can be located in the lab.

Our E. coli K-12 strain tube is registered in the Tubes record view, but as we see has no location yet. We could place it in a location manually, but we want to try our automatic placement strategy.

Double click on the E. coli record and enter the tube record view.

Now select 'Place Tube Using Strategy' and select our Strain Collection Placement Strategy, and chose the 'Place Using Strategy' option.

Our Destination Box/Rack Type is the Generic 100 Position Tube Box

After hitting 'Next' we can see where the strategy is placing the tube.

Accept the placement strategies recommendation by clicking on 'Next'. You can also override the suggestion and put the tube in a different location. The next screen allows you to name your box according to your preferred scheme. You can also just type in the name.

Hitting the 'Submit' button will move the tube to its new location. A confirmation screen shows you the move.

The tube record view has now been appropriately updated and shows your tube in its box.

We have successfully moved a tube according to an automatic placement strategy that knows where the empty slots are and can automatically fill them. This becomes a very valuable tool when you start moving lots of samples around and want to always know where everything is without having to search by hand!

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