PCS® Overview

The PCS is a fast, accurate, and precise system for verifying the volume dispensed from any single-channel pipette and calibrating single-channel pipettes. Portable and easy-to-use, the system is ready wherever and whenever you need it.

Because the system uses ratiometric photometry and standardized dye solutions to determine the dispensed volumes, it is robust against differences in environmental conditions. Calibration results are traceable,1 enabling straightforward comparison of pipettes, operators, methods, and locations.

Fast, Precise Calibration

Perform a 10-data-point calibration, complete with documentation, in less than 3 minutes.

1. Scan
Scan pipette to initiate calibration.
2. Dispense
Dispense samples into the Blank vial. Results are displayed on the screen after each dispense.
3. Know Results
Data are analyzed instantly and recorded in the secure database. The calibration label prints automatically.

Optimize Pipetting Technique

  • Perform fast and easy, calibrations and interim performance verification
  • Improve pipetting proficiency and standardize technique with immediate feedback
  • Calibrate pipettes in the location where they are used
  • Verify pipette performance immediately before critical procedures and assays
  • Verify pipette calibration following outsourced service
  • Quickly check a pipette when a problem is suspected

1. Traceable to the International System of Units (SI) through reference standards developed and maintained by NIST (USA) and NPL (UK).


PCS® Features

PCS Instrument

Out-performs other calibration methods in consistency, speed, simplicity, accuracy and precision — even at volumes as low as 0.1 µL.

  • Calibration of single channel pipettes from 0.1 to 5,000 µL in less than three minutes
  • Automatic accuracy and precision calculations
  • Complete documentation and data management, including calibration audit trail, automatic printing of calibration labels, and trend analysis with graphical reporting
  • Compact, portable instrument requiring minimal bench space and no special facilities or environmental controls
  • Results traceable to national (NIST) and international standards
  • Full compliance with 21 CFR Part 11, ISO 8655-7, CLIA, and more
  • Method conforms to CLSI and the latest ISO standard (8655-7)

PCS Reagents

Includes everything needed to begin working with the system.pcs-reagents

  • Includes everything needed to begin working with the system.
  • PCS Bulk Reagent Kit is customized to suit your pipette population.
  • PCS Instrument Calibrator Kit ensures performance—no need to return the PCS instrument for calibration.

Pipette Tracker™ Software

Industry-leading pipette management software for tracking, analyzing pipette performance, and reporting status.

  • Captures and stores results directly from PCS
  • Tracks pipette inventory
  • Schedules regular calibrations
  • Customizable reports with trend analysis and graphical reporting
  • Bar code label printing and scanning
  • Calibration label printing

Additional features included with Pipette Tracker™ Pro

  • Facilitates compliance with 21 CFR part 11 electronic records requirements
  • Includes Validation Guide for IQ/OQ
  • Alerts by email when pipettes are due for calibration
  • Electronic signatures
  • Complete audit trail

On-site Installation, Validation, and Training

Artel technical experts make implementation fast, easy, and efficient, with minimal disruption to your routine.

  • Setup, installation, and validation for the PCS instrument
  • Hands-on instruction in the operation of the PCS instrument
  • Setup and hands-on training in the use of Pipette Tracker software



PCS® Software

Perfect partners: PCS & Artel Pipette Tracker

Artel Pipette Tracker software is a total management solution for quality control of your pipette inventory. Tightly integrated with the Artel PCS Pipette Calibration System, Pipette Tracker tracks your pipette inventory, automates data collection during calibrations, facilitates calibration scheduling, and generates all necessary reports.

Download Brochure

Key Capabilities

  • Bar code label printing and scanning
  • Calibration label printing
  • Trend analysis reports (sample)
  • Graphical reporting of data (sample)

Pipette Tracker Features

  • Immediate display and automatic storage of volumetric results
  • Bar code scanning to quickly and accurately identify pipettes*
  • Automatic printing of pipette calibration and bar code labels*
  • Immediate pass/fail result based on your SOPs
  • Result capture and storage directly from PCS
  • Automatic reporting to virtually any printer or file type
  • Customizable reports with trend analysis for pipette calibration performance over time and graphical reporting
  • Pipette inventory tracking
  • Automatic scheduling of pipettes due for calibration
  • Meets GMP, GLP, NCCLS, and ISO 9000 requirements
  • Manufacturer database of models and calibration specifications

*Requires the purchase of PCS-795: Pipette Tracker Enhancements Hardware Package including Label Printer and Bar Code Reader.

Pipette Tracker™ Pro Features

  • Validation Guide for IQ/OQ (optional)
  • Email alerts when pipettes are due for calibration
  • Customized user level control
  • Incorporates electronic signatures
  • Demonstrates complete audit trail
  • Electronic signatures
  • Complete audit trail
  • Facilitates compliance with 21 CFR part 11 electronic records requirements
  • Consistent with ISO 17025, ISO 8655, 21 CFR Part 11, and GMP and GLP requirements


PCS® Specifications

System Performance
Assay Time Requirement Three minutes for a ten data point calibration
Data Points Per Assay  1 to 50 data points can be taken per calibration
Volume Range  100 nL to 5000 µL
Inaccuracy  Less than 1%
Imprecision  Less than 0.5% CV
Operating Temperature  18 °C to 28 °C
Printed Output  Complete calibration data record; 11.2 cm width; with
standard printer supplied
PCS Instrument
Size  23 cm (9.1 in) W x 11.5 cm (4.5 in) H x 30.5 cm (12 in) D
Weight  4.8 kg (10.5 lbs.)
Keypad  18 keys
Display  2 X 20 alphanumeric
Wavelengths  520 nm and 730 nm
Printer Output  Centronics Parallel
Serial I/O  RS 232 (configuration: 9600 bits per second, 8 data bits, 1 stop bit, no parity)
Noise  Less than 0.00015 AU at AU = 1
Inaccuracy  Less than 0.75% over the range 0 to 1.5 AU
Warranty  1 year
PCS Reagent Kit
Standard Bulk
Blank Vials 12 50
Data points per Blank Vial  Up to 40 Up to 40
Sample Solutions  Sample Solutions 1-4 included for
pipette volumes 2.0 – 5000 µL
(Additional solutions for pipette
volumes 0.1 – 1.9 µL available
Customized for each order
Calibration Standard 1 solution – not consumed during use 1 solution – not consumed during use
Shelf Life  Minimum of 9 months at 18 °C to 28 °C Minimum of 9 months at 18 °C to 28 °C
PCS Instrument Calibrator Kit
Calibration Standards 4 solutions; allows accuracy and noise testing
over the full range of volume measurements
Shelf Life Minimum of 9 months at 18 °C to 28 °C

Related Information

PCS® Related Information


In terms of pipette testing and staff training, the Artel PCS is second to none. Its accuracy and ease of use saves us valuable staff hours versus other pipette testing methods.
— Joel Rivero, University of Alberta Hospital 
We’re delighted our laboratory switched…
— Karen Villnave, ARUP Laboratories 
The PCS is very user friendly. It is easy and quick and we enjoy using it. The menu-driven instructions are clear. It is a great time saver.
— Judy Gaudet, Beckman-Coulter 
Your system is a big hit with the technicians. All who use the system find it to be user friendly and an instrument they want to have in their labs. From my professional and technical experience I feel it is a tool no laboratory should be without….
— Sgt L. Esquibel, Armed Forces Radio Biology Institute 
The Artel system is so easy; you hardly have to read the directions! It’s quick, easy and so much more enjoyable than the other system. We have been waiting two years to buy this – I have no regrets.
— Cindy White, Penobscot Bay Medical Center 
Our QC division uses the PCS for routine performance testing of pipettes… The documentation and NIST-traceable reagent qualification ensure GMP compliance.
— Chuck Phelps, Lilly 
During a recent CAP inspection . . . our inspector . . . said ‘you’re going to love it; the PCS reduced calibration time in our lab from seven hours to 30 minutes.’
— Janet Morris, Frye Regional Medical Center 
I never realized how valuable this piece of equipment would be to me and our other lab staff.
— Joseph Russeau, Contamination Studies Laboratories


PCS® Frequently Asked Questions

What is the PCS?

PCS stands for Pipette Calibration System. In less than 3 minutes per pipette (for 10 data points) the PCS provides you with an automatically-calculated printout of delivered volumes and/or a digital download to your management software. The PCS includes a photometer, sample solutions and optional system software. The PCS far exceeds the accuracy and precision of other pipette calibration products and methods, quickly verifying pipette performance for volumes as low as 0.1 µL. The compact, portable PCS is relatively immune to environmental conditions and is easy to set up and use.  The PCS is fully NIST-traceable to ensure regulatory compliance of pipette performance checks.

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How does the PCS work?

The system includes a state-of-the-art computerized, high-sensitivity photometer designed by Artel for the purpose of pipette calibration. Following a few simple steps, pipettes can be calibrated in minutes:

  • Insert an initial vial of blue solution (referred to as the “Blank”) into the PCS Instrument. Using the Blank, the instrument determines the vial pathlength.
  • Next, a concentrated red dye solution is pipetted (using the pipette to be calibrated) into the “Blank” vial.
  • Solutions are automatically mixed by the PCS and the absorbance is read.
  • PCS electronics and software convert the absorbance reading to the volume pipetted, and the result is printed.

After the user has taken the desired number of data points with the pipette, the PCS generates a printed result with the following statistical data:

  • Individual sample volumes or replicates
  • Mean volume of all replicates
  • %CV (Precision)
  • Inaccuracy from target volume

Plus a header on the printout lists:

  • Your facility name
  • Operator’s ID#
  • Pipette serial #
  • Test volume
  • Date/time

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What are the advantages of using the PCS over competitors?

  • 10 data points can be collected in less than 3 minutes with complete printed statistics
  • User determines the number of data points
  • Low power usage since lamp is only on during readings
  • Engineered for very low noise (interference) .00005 OD
  • System inaccuracy < 1.0%; system imprecision < 0.5%
  • High quality electronics and efficient optics are used to get the very best accuracy
  • Special circuitry eliminating need for lamp to stay on continually means no heat generation and no need for fan
    Automatic sample mixing means better accuracy
  • Calibrate pipettes from 0.1 µL (100 nL) to 5000 µL (5 mL)
  • Easy to use
  • Extremely accurate – especially at smaller volumes (< 10 µL)
  • No subjective results
  • Relatively immune to environmental conditions
  • Automatic statistical number crunching/report printing
  • Excellent pipetting training tool
  • NIST-traceable and conforms to ISO 8655 part 7
  • Makes regulatory compliance easy
  • Skilled technician not required
  • Serial port for easy computer connection

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Can the PCS be used to calibrate pipettor dispensers?

Some types can be calibrated. Need to evaluate individually.

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Can the PCS be used to calibrate pipettor dilutors?

Not at this time, but we are developing solutions for that application.

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Can you use the PCS reagents in your own spectrophotometer?

No, we use specialized reagents in a custom photometer design; PCS reagents and the PCS instrument are created as a system to provide optimal ease-of-use, speed, accuracy and precision.

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Can the PCS be used to calibrate multichannel pipettes?

Yes, by calibrating 1 channel at a time.

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Is the PCS approved by the FDA?

Because the PCS doesn’t deal directly with human samples or specimens, the FDA will not consider it for approval. PCS results are traceable to NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology, formerly NBS). PCS is manufactured under GMP conditions side-by-side with other products which do have FDA 510(k) approval.

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What ranges (pipette sizes/volumes) can be calibrated?

0.1 μL (100 nL) to 5,000 μL (5 mL)

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Does the PCS require regular maintenance?

The PCS requires minimal maintenance. PCS is designed to avoid the need for most maintenance procedures. It requires only simple occasional cleaning of the cabinet or the bores of the vial block as detailed in the manual. The instrument comes with a 30-day money back satisfaction guarantee plus a 1-year warranty on parts and labor.

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How can I try a PCS?

You may purchase a PCS with a 30-day return guarantee via credit card (MasterCard or VISA), check, money order, or wire transfer. Credit references may be required. You may also participate in an instrument trial for specified time period (5 days) without a PO. We include a no-charge demo-sized kit of reagents. Again, credit references may be required.

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How can I learn more about the PCS?

Contact Artel toll-free at 888-406-3463 and speak with one of our Sales Representatives.

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