The QIAsymphony SP processes a sample containing magnetic particles as follows. A magnetic rod protected by a rod cover enters a well containing the sample and attracts the magnetic particles. The magnetic rod with cover is positioned above another well and releases the magnetic particles. The QIAsymphony SP uses a magnetic head containing an array of 24 magnetic rods, and can therefore process 24 samples simultaneously. Steps 1 and 2 are repeated several times during sample processing.