I read your post with interest,
The Fluent is a new product - with new software, associated challenges
The Freedom EVO is an older, more established platform in the market place with a wider variety of options available
A new Fluent, with an "average" timeframe to install, setup, define application & let you complete validation could be 6-12 months - I have seen longer, I have seen shorter!
I have completed similar plate based workflows in your application area, install-validate in less than 2 months - on a Freedom EVO (the platform I would choose)
I have designed workflows with full LIMS interface, full specimen tracking throughout the workflow & a complete audit trail with ability to continuously load to maximize the batch sizes for your LC-MS/MS - in addition to external modules for SPE processes, SLE processes or simple Dilute & Shoot!
Both Fluent & EVO platforms are available in refurbished configurations - where you can save considerable $$$ in addition to working with an experienced Laboratory Validation Specialist, to provide you with a working solution in less time
Consumables for both platforms are essentially the same
Service options for both platforms vary - as the Fluent is a newer platform, service is limited to Tecan only or a few select 3rd party vendors
The EVO, as it has been around a lot longer, has a much wider range of service provisions
The conclusion is ...
It depends on budget & your reliance on the manufacturer to deliver a complete solution, or whether your lab has experience in building/configuring an automated system
A Fluent could cost $125,000+ - similar price for a new EVO - but ask Tecan what level of "implementation" they could offer, typically extra cost for simple process setup
A refurbished platform (to meet your needs) could be 2/3 of the above price - delivered, installed, setup, validated with full training for lab operators & support ongoing to ensure maximum uptime for new processes
Please let me know if you have questions or want to discuss further
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