When it comes to improving the output and efficiency of your lab, few processes can create as much of a difference as implementing automation. It’s important that you understand the benefits of automation before you begin your evaluation as this will maintain focus throughout your project. Here, we’ve outlined some of the most valuable, as well as commonly cited, benefits for embarking on lab automation projects.
- Reduced Chance for Errors
The most immediate benefit of lab automation is a significant reduction in both errors, as well as potential liability of error. With many lab processes requiring thousands of tasks to be performed continually with exact precision, human error is always a serious risk. Automating tasks such as liquid transfers, sample handling, and data recording can ensure that data collections are consistent, while minimizing errors. An automated workflow can also decrease the risk of catastrophic errors such as damaged equipment or samples that can come with accidental mistakes made by humans.
- Cost Savings
While lab automation implementation can be an expensive up-front investment, robotic solutions have been shown to lead to substantial cost benefits over time. Robots can run beyond normal working hours, including weekends and holidays. Lab automation can also lead to the miniaturization of your assay and reagent volumes. This could help reduce the number of resources required to perform and monitor your lab as well as shrink experimental costs to your organization.
- A Safer Workplace
Implementing automated workflows into your lab will not only reduce the burden on your staff members to continuously make accurate readings and actions, it will also drastically reduce the chance for injury. Manually performing thousands of lab actions can lead to physical strain and overuse injuries in the hands, wrists, and fingers. Lab workers who have labeled hundreds of thousands of tubes or plates by hand often report numbness, tingling, and eventually pain in their hands.
Not only does this decrease overall productivity in the lab, but it is also a serious liability for your organization when it comes to providing a safe and healthy environment for your workforce. Automation reduces the need for manually performing tedious tasks and keeps your team members healthy and refreshed for the higher-level tasks that are required of them.
- Increased Productivity and Output
Automated labs often experience increased productivity and total output for the simple reason that robots can perform tasks when human workers cannot. Robotic solutions can perform thousands of tasks without suffering a loss of performance due to fatigue or boredom. When workflows are completely automated, they can be run when your human workforce is out of the lab, such as nights, weekends, and holidays. In addition, lab automation neither requires breaks nor holidays with the family. The end result is a continuous productivity tool to perform your lab’s experiments, while staff members are away from the lab, attending meetings, working with colleagues, or performing personal tasks.
- Increased Customization
Finally, introducing automation to your lab can allow for a greater range of customization for your lab equipment and workflows. Your lab automation software and hardware can be customized to fit the exact needs and tasks of your lab.
At HighRes, we believe that automating scientific processes along with data management aligns with the growing pace of research in the life science industry. Our customers also believe and live this belief each and every day. The following link will provide you with access to an article written by one of our clients detailing their approach and the results they achieved by automating their media formulation and viral production workflows (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/elsc.201400245/abstract). By considering our points above along with the recommendations from our client, you too can successfully implement and deploy a successful lab automation project within your organization.
Introducing and implementing automation across your laboratory operations can be an extensive operation. And while there are many moving parts and different variables to account for, the benefits of implementation are clear. If you are interested in learning more about the benefits of lab automation or want to discuss a potential project, please feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org