Leica Microsystems: Leica BOND-III –
Fully Automated IHC & ISH Staining System

An innovative robotic architecture delivers superior throughput for automated IHC & ISH staining and provides diagnosis up to 50% faster than previous generation stainers.

Leica Bond-III Fully Automated Staining System
Leica Microsystems
Fully Automated IHC & ISH
Winner 2011 Medical Design Excellence Awards, In Vitro Diagnostics.
MDEA 2011

The Leica BOND-III instrument is a fully automated immunohistochemistry (IHC) and in-situ hybridization (ISH) staining system that improves speed, efficiency and quality to histopathology laboratories and hospitals throughout the world.

Leica Microsystems engaged Invetech to design and develop a new sophisticated system utilizing state-of-the-art robotics to provide rapid and accurate diagnosis up to 50% faster than previous generation stainers.

Invetech's team of industrial designers, mechanical, electronics and software engineers worked closely with Leica's software team and application experts to enable full automation, including the critical heating steps to allow users to maximise walk away time and minimise errors.

The system's main innovation is the addition of dedicated bulk fluid robots (BFRs) to the staining platforms—one robot for each of the three platforms. These deliver fluids to 10 slides on each rack, leaving the main robot arms to deliver the primary reagents to the (maximum) 30 slides that can be on an instrument at a time. Complex control software was required to efficiently schedule each of the robots actions to significantly reduce protocol run times.

To ensure the robots did not interfere with instrument usability or maintenance, a unique retractable mechanism was developed. The robot can be completely retracted into the rear of the instrument, allowing easy access to the work surface for cleaning and maintenance.

The design of the Leica BOND-III focuses on end-user interaction and incorporates a range of high efficiency features for less user intervention. Based on a "less is more" approach, the instrument requires less reagent use and produces less hazardous waste than any other fully automated staining system. This reduces maintenance and waste disposal costs. New high-capacity containers were introduced, requiring less reagent and waste management, and designed to be filled without removal from the instrument. This, combined with the real-time fluid status monitoring, allows for more efficient reagent management.

Designed using modular components, the system can be assembled off-line or in different locations by specialist resources, lowering cost and improving quality.

The Leica BOND-III instrument enables laboratories to meet increasing workloads using existing resources, allowing laboratories to save time, and ultimately, reduce cost.