Tempest Logo

Because you’ve got
better things to do…


With up to 12 reagent inputs and plate stacking,
you can set it… But the Tempest is so fast… you won’t forget it.

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Applications: NGS Library Prep -- Assay Development -- High-Throughput Screening -- Cell Dispensing -- General Reagent Dispensing
96 Independent Volumes in Parallel

96 Independent Volumes in Parallel

For customers who aim to maximize the efficiency of their high throughput screening workflow, the Tempest uses patented multi-channel microfluidic technology to dispense with up to 96 independent nozzles, in parallel. Unlike other nL scale dispensers, the Tempest calculates these independent volumes based on desired concentrations to allow for utmost simplicity in screening drug candidates against a gradient of conditions in microplates from 96- to 1536-well format.

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12 Ingredient Inputs

The Tempest is capable of dispensing up to 12 different reagents simultaneously using up to 12 microfluidic chips which feature eight nozzles each. For faster dispenses, multiple chips can be used to dispense the same reagent.

Adding an reagent is effortless using the magnetic reagent inputs -- no pressurized bottles or special containers are needed. Reagents can be placed in nearly any container, and different input tube lengths can be ordered to meet your needs.

The Tempest can be programmed to keep your stocks fresh by periodically circulating reagents without waste.

The Tempest can accept pipette tips as input to drastically cut down on wasted ingredients.

Extremely Low Dead Volumes

The Tempest is capable of returning any excess sample from the microfluidic chip back into the reagent reservoir, rendering an impressively low dead volume of less than 40 µL.

For precious samples with only a small amount of starting stock, a pipette tip can be used as an reagent reservoir yielding a dead volume of 100 µL.

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Each chip uses positive displacement micropumps to dispense reagents rapidly with minimal waste. Most tasks are completed in fewer than 40 seconds:

Typical Dispense Rates

  • 200 nL to 96-well plate = 3 seconds
  • 200 nL to 384-well plate = 6 seconds
  • 200 nL to 1536-well plate = 11 seconds
  • 5 μL to 96-well plate = 4 seconds
  • 1 uL to 384-well plate = 5 seconds
  • 10 μL to 384-well plate = 9 seconds
  • 20 μL to 384-well plate = 13 seconds

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Stackers for Plate Storage – Optional

The Tempest supports nearly all SBS-footprint plates, including 24-, 96-, 384-, and 1536-well plates.

The Tempest can be upgraded to include plate stackers. The stackers are 350 mm tall and can hold 24 SBS plates (based on 14.35 mm plate height). The system is bi-directional, enabling plates to be cycled in from either stacker.

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Easily Customizable

As the Tempest can accept up to 12 chips at once, each machine can be configured with a combination of high and low volume chips to fit your application and budget.

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Hands-Off Maintenance

The Tempest features an automated dual-solution wash cycle that cleans the entire fluid pathway and requires no user intervention. The reverse fluid flow wash aspirates solution through the nozzle and forces particles backward through the Tempest’s increasingly larger channels for thorough, clog-free cleaning.

The Tempest can be upgraded to include a barcode scanner that allows the Tempest to read a label and determine what ingredients to dispense into the selected plate.

Barcode Scanner (Optional)

The Tempest can be fitted with a barcode scanner that will run a dispense based on a plate's barcode. After the barcode is scanned the corresponding dispense file is loaded and executed.

Tempest provides a Webservices API for controlling the instrument in an automation setup.

Automation API

Tempest provides a platform neutral SOAP API for controlling the instrument. Control includes loading and running dispense lists, and retrieving error messages and other instrument status. Code samples for accessing the instrument from .Net are provided.

Tempest software

The Tempest software provides a straightfor ward, user-friendly way to design and execute even the most complex dispensing protocols. The control software offers an intuitive visual layout of both the plate design and the hardware setup, and provides tools to create gradient designs and backfills. Microsoft Excel integration allows you to manually edit well volumes for additional control.

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This section is an interactive Flash demo, please click the button below to view in a new tab.

Launch the Microdiaphragm Pump Technology Demo

Note for Chrome Users:
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Tempest Physical Dimensions

Physical Dimensions:

  • Width: 625.7 mm (24.5")
  • Depth: 355 mm (14")
  • Height: 254 mm (10") ( 563.44 mm (21") with plate stackers )
  • Weight: 13.5 kg (30 lb)

Computer Requirements:

  • Computer OS :
    • Windows XP Home Edition SP3 32-bit
    • Windows 7 Home Basic 64-bit
    • Windows Vista 32-bit
  • One open USB port (USB 2.0 recommended, USB 3.0 supported)
  • Dual Core 1GHz processor
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 1 GB of Hard Drive space
  • 768 pixels vertical minimum screen resolution

Electrical Specifications:

  • 110-240 V, 50-60 Hz, 130 W typical, 200 W max. Standard or European outlet

Tempest Chip Specifications:

Chip Types Diaphragm Vol. Min Volume Max Volume Pulses Per Second Dead Volume With Tube * Dead Volume Pipette CV’s Part Number
Low Volume 0.2 μL 1 μL 0.2 μL 8 50 μL 100 μL <8% at 0.2 μL
<5% at 5 μL
High Volume 1 μL 5 μL 1 μL 4 50 μL 100 μL <5% at 1 μL
<5% at 5 μL
          *add 350 μL if not recoverable      

Tempest Chemical Compatibility Examples:

Diaphragm Material Ethanol High Concentration Salts 5%

Pressure/Vacuum Specifications:

The Tempest's microfluidic chip requires pressure and vacuum to actuate the micro-diaphragm pumps. There are three options to supply pressure and vacuum to the system, each with its own requirements.

Formulatrix pump box option:
  • Connect the system to a pump box specifically designed to provide the required amounts of pressure and vacuum.
  • Pressure: Self Contained
  • Vacuum: Self Contained
  • Connectors: Provided
  • Electrical Requirements: 110 V, 60 Hz, 29 0W (Part No. PB110) or 230 V, 50 Hz, 290 W (Part No. PB230)
Direct to lab air and vacuum option:
  • Connect the system directly to your source of pressure and vacuum.
  • Pressure: 30 psi @ 0.15 cfm = 2.0 bar @ 4.3 lpm
  • Vacuum: 22 in Hg @ 0.2 cfm = -750 mbar @ 5.7 lpm
  • Connectors: 5/32" or 4 mm OD tubing. Other connectors available upon request.
Venturi vacuum option:
  • Use your pressure source to generate the required vacuum with a venturi vacuum pump.
  • Pressure: 80 psi @ 1 cfm = 5.5 bar @ 28 lpm
  • Vacuum: Self-Contained
  • Connectors: Quick Disconnect House Coupling, Industrial-Shape, 1/4” NPTF Male, 1/4 Coupling Size (McMaster Part No. 1077T17) and 5/32" or 4mm OD tubing. Other connectors available upon request.


Calibration and Verification FAQ

Tempest Calibration and Verification


Automated Processing of the GlobalFiler® Express PCR Amplification Kit With the Formulatrix Mantis

Automation and Miniaturization of AlphaLISA® and AlphaPlex® Assays Using Microfluidic Dispensing Technologies

The Mantis and Tempest are ideally suited for dispensing AlphaLISA® beads and reagents to maximize assay performance and minimize assay cost by reducing dead volume and enabling a simple and robust means to reduce reaction volumes without sacrificing the quality of experimental results.

Automation and Miniaturization of AlphaLISA® and AlphaPlex® Assays Using Microfluidic Dispensing Technologies – SLAS2016 tutorial co-sponsored with PerkinElmer

Application Note:
Automating AlphaLISA® Reagent Handling with the Tempest Microfluidic Dispensing System

Optimization of Automated AlphaLISA® Assays for Biomarker Measurements in Large-Scale PK/PD Studies

Learn more about AlphaLisa reagents

Genemark Logo

Automation of Cell Viability Assays Utilizing Microfluidic Dispensing Technology

Cellular viability assays are widely used to investigate the potency or toxicity of biologically active molecules. One of the most widespread techniques to measure cellular viability is a luminescent CellTiter-Glo® (CTG) Assay which is a homogeneous method based on quantitation of the ATP present, an indicator of metabolically active cells. The "add-mix-measure" format results in generation of a luminescent signal proportional to the amount of ATP and, thus, proportional to the number of metabolically active cells present in culture. It is designed for use with multiwell formats, making it ideal for automated high-throughput screening, cell proliferation and cytotoxicity assays. However, in our hands, CTG has limitations for use on automatic platforms, due to the fact that the reliability of dispense degrades over extended run times, primarily as a result of liquid dispensers becoming clogged.

Read more.

Genemark Logo

Optimization of Automated AlphaLISA Assays for Biomarker Measurements in Large-Scale PK/PD Studies

Pharmacokinetic and Pharmacodynamic (PK/PD) studies play a critical role in the drug discovery and develop ment process.The studies typically require characterization of drug and biomarker concentrations from large numbers of samples with high sensitivity and broad analytical range.The AlphaLISA® technology (PerkinElmer,Inc.,Waltham,MA) is a homogeneous no-wash alternative to conventional solid-phase ELISA assays that can be applied to biomarker detection in plasma and serum samples.

Read more.

Genemark Logo

Kinase Assay Development Using Tempest - EMD Serono

Introducing the Formulatrix Tempest in our workflow has allowed us to improve the current technique not only in terms of efficiency but also accuracy and precision. Unique to the Tempest is its new microfluidic technology that relies on independent channel control over all the 96 nozzles, thereby allowing one to dispense any volume from any input into any well. We evaluated this diversity for a wide range of assays from those requiring factorial dispensing, like assay design and modality of inhibition studies, to applications like assay miniaturization that use fixed volume dispensing.

Read more about Kinase Assay Development Using Tempest.

Genemark Logo

Customer name:

Mark Walker

The GeneMark lab is a relatively high throughput parentage lab based in Hamilton, New Zealand. The facility predominantly services the domestic bovine dairy industry and provides parentage determination from a single animal to a single parent all the way up to the entire crop of calves matched to both parents. Herd sizes average just over 500 animals and can be as large as several thousand.

Read the GeneMark app note.

High Troughput Cellular Assay

High-Throughput Cellular Assays

Efficient high-throughput screening is a complex system of samples, chemistry, automation, and data analysis. Traditional high-throughput systems utilize 6- to 1536-well plates to support the large number of experimental conditions required to produce reliable and statistically significant studies.

Here we present a unique system for the automated processing of both adherent and suspension cells by using Curiox Biosystems' DropArray™ Plates in combination with non-contact, low-volume automated liquid dispensing using the Formulatrix Tempest.

Read More about High-Throughput Cellular Assays.

High-Throughput Reagent Dispensing

High-Throughput Reagent Dispensing with the Formulatrix Tempest

In support of its SelectScreen® Services business, global biotech company Life Technologies researched and tested automated liquid handlers to streamline the addition of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) to Z´-LYTE® 384 well assay plates. Rigorous testing proved that the Formulatrix Tempest met all of Life Technologies’s strict reliability, accuracy and precision requirements. Today, the Tempest is a routine part of Life Technologies’s workflow.

Read More about High-Throughput Reagent Dispensing with the Formulatrix Tempest.

Automation of Single Cell Plating

Automation of Single Cell Plating Utilizing the Tempest

Cell line generation has historically been considered a long and tedious, labor and materials intensive process. Monoclonality and robust clonal growth with high viability are desirable in cell line development, especially for generating monoclonal antibodies or protein therapeutics. In the pharmaceutical industry, scalability is also a necessity for bioprocess manufacturing. Decreasing the time and labor intensive method in the beginning of the process of plating single cells to insure monoclonality can be achieved together with the Formulatrix Tempest and Celigo imaging cytometer.

Read More about Automation of Single Cell Plating Utilizing the Tempest.

ThermoFisher Logo

Read ThermoFisher Scientific New Zealand’s review of the Tempest Bio-Innovation

EMD Serono, a Mantis and Tempest customer, evaluated Tempest‘s accuracy using two methods: a fixed-volume miniaturized assay comprising of 2 µL of enzymes and 3 µL of substrate, and a variable-volume assay using eight different enzymes of varying volumes. To see the results, read the article in Bio-Innovation on pages 19-20.


  Average User Satisfaction Rate


J H - Emd Serono 5/6/2016 10:38 AM

The instrument is easy to configure and offers a high degree of versatility for liquid handling tasks. Having the stackers and a time delay option is immensely helpful for biochemical screens and other applications. The software for plate teaching and creating protocols is very simple to work with.


Johannes Fels - Novo Nordisk A/S 7/3/2014 2:38 AM

We use the Tempest in a fully automated set-up for medium throughput quantitative analysis. The cv's are great and due to the ultra low dead volume we could dramaticly reduce reagent costings. Furthermore the very innovative and robust dispensing technology lead to reduced maintenance compared to the dispenser we used before. We are also very happy with the support by Formulatrix personnel. We definitely recommend the Tempest!


Chris Updike - Thermo Fisher Scientific 6/10/2014 5:59 PM

A fantastic instrument! We use the Tempest in our High Throughput biochemical profiling service. The team now has an automated process for our reagent additions that requires certain concentrations to be added to a plate in a "cherry picking" type of methodology. What was once done by two individuals can now be done by one. The Tempest has worked great for our lab.

Emmy Staples - Life Technologies 1/29/2014 5:47 PM

We use this instrument in our high throughput assays and it has resulted in increased accuracy and throughput for the lab. End user adoption has been fantastic and the team would like to purchase more Tempests! Assistance from support personnel and sales is exceptional. This is the best non-contact small volume dispenser on the market.

Anonymous - A leading bioinstrumentation company 8/12/2014 4:04 AM

What we enjoy the most about tempest:
The minimal dead volume required makes it very attractive as you save a lot
The CV for small volume(1 to 2ul) appears much more consistent than peristaltic pump competitor.
The speed at which it is dispensed is much more gentle than a peristaltic pump competitor or a bioraptr. It has a level of value for adherent cells as you are more likely to loose less cells.

Additional Customer Applications


Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology Singapore Logo

Cell Seeding & Transfection reagent dispensing

What protocol do you run on the Tempest? (i.e. what kind of liquid do you dispense and at what volume):
“We dispense Cell culture medium at a volume of 2 or 3ul on our 384-well DropArray plates.”

Why did you pick the Tempest for this application? What makes the tempest the best option for your application?
We picked the Tempest because of the following reasons:
1. Tempest offers automated dispensing for uniform and quick cell seeding. It also eliminates human error.
2. The Tempest has a smaller dead volume than the MultiDrop Combi. This helps us save on the volume of precious reagents such as certain cell types or transfection reagent.
3. The Tempest offers a gentle dispensing force and gentle movement of stage compared to MultiDrop Combi. The Tempest is more suitable for dispensing other reagents downstream like PFA, triton and antibody. Cells don’t get dislodged so much due to the dispensing force. The gentle stage movement minimizes uneven cell distribution in wells due to plate jerking.
4. Ability to dispense small volumes accurately.

Novo Nordisk Laboratories Logo
Medium Throughput Quantitative Analysis of Biomarkers

Three Tempests with 2 columns each.

“We bought the Tempest because of the size (it fits into our existing automation), low dead volume, and the number of reagents it can input.”

Novartis Pharmaceuticals Logo

Design of Experiment.

Previous Method:
Manually or on a BioMek FX.

“The Tempest saves us hours for each DoE that we run. What used to take 3-4 hours on the FX now takes us less than half an hour on the Tempest. The ability to run 12 reagents at a time and the fact that the dead volume is so low makes this instrument invaluable to our department.”

User Comments:
“The Tempest has been a great addition to our lab and has already saved us a ton of time and money. We started off with a beta version of the instrument and the team over at Formulatrix worked extremely hard to incorporate most of our suggestions in the final product. It has been a pleasure working with them.”

EMD Serono Laboratory Logo

EMD Serono has evaluated the Tempest

Thanks to the Lead Discovery Technologies team at the EMD Serono Research Instititue in Rockland, MA for testing out the Tempest and providing the result in a fantastic abstract. Click here to view the poster.

EMD Serono has since purchased both a Tempest and a Mantis liquid handler.

Additional Customer Applications

Recently, a global biotechnology tools company purchased a Tempest, fully loaded with plate stackers and 12 low volume chips. This Tempest will be custom build with a barcode scanner to provide specific dispense lists for each plate. Check out what they are using it to do :

Application: ATP Concentration for Development
Dispense Volume: 2.5µL
Plate Type: 384-well
Dispense Pattern: Half of the entire plate (odd rows, all columns)
Reagents: 11 bottles containing 11 different ATP concentrations, all loaded onto the Tempest at the same time.

Application: Reagent Handling for Development
Dispense Volume: 5µL
Plate Type: 384-well
Dispense Pattern: Entire Plate – every two columns has the same dispense reagent.
Reagents: 12 bottles containing 12 development reagents, all loaded onto the Tempest at the same time.


A lab at one of the top universities in the USA is using the Tempest with 8 common control columns and 4 independent control columns for dispensing cells and dyes for flow cytometry.

Application: Antibody Staining
Dispense Volume: 20-50µL for both cells and dye
Previous Method: Dispenses using a Biomek/Multidrop
Reason for Replacing: Both the Biomek and the Multidrop are being replaced because they use far too much stock to prime and have much more waste compared to the Tempest.