Impact of Laboratory Automation

As a scientist or lab manager, you may, one day, find yourself at a cross roads of whether or not to automate your lab.  For some individuals, this decision is easy given their organization’s strategic plan, requirements and productivity goals.  For others, this decision may be more difficult.  Why is that?  Scientists are not trained in the realm of robotics.  Most of our learning is via textbooks or university labs where the majority of work is performed manually.  In today’s modern lab, sciencerobotics and data systems are all interconnected.  With the Covid-19 pandemic continuing to impact scientists around the world, more and more life science companies will rely on robotics to further their discovery capabilities.   


A HighRes Bio system

When you start considering the possibility of embarking on a lab automation project, you need to really think about the impact robotics could have on you, your science, your colleagues and your organization.  This is an important topic as it will help guide your decisions on the type and quality of lab automation that is right for you.  We have created the following impacts that automation should have on your lab. 



Productivity increase: Robots do not stop for breaks, take calls, or go home to see the family.  Their relentless nature provides you with a potential productivity increase that could enhance your scientific discovery.  One of our clients directly deployed their systems following SAT sign off into production and processed 3,500,000 samples in the first month.  That equated to a 213% production increase over their previous automation. 



Parallel Processingyour automation hardware and software should allow you to process multiple protocols simultaneously.  This gives you and your team the flexibility to run subsequent assays in parallel thus potentially shortening your organization’s therapies time to market.  We have a client that simultaneously runs 3-5 assays with 12-15 plate throughput on their system.  By providing this capability, the client can view multiple data sets and make better decisions each day resulting in better data for faster decisions. 



Extended work hours: Have you ever wanted to set up your automation to start at a specific time so that your data was ready to view when you arrived at work in the morning?  Ours robotic solutions give you the ability to start protocols any time (day or night) thus maximizing productivity Our clients can reliably set protocols to start any time and deliver data ready for viewing when you want it. 



Data CaptureAutomation should make your ability to capture and utilize scientific and eventbased data from your system to make better decisions.  Through our software’s open architecture, we have clients that utilize event-based data from their system to determine a device required PM and device performance.  We have other clients that use scientific data to make deterministic decisions on workflow next steps. 



Sample Uniformity: the deployment of automation will help eliminate human variability thus ensuring experiment conditions are maintained across all samples you plan to process in a given workflow.



Batch and Queue or Stream: have you ever wanted to use the output from one protocol as the input of another protocol?  Automation control software should give scientists the ability to stage experiments in automated queues to minimize downtime between experiments.  Simultaneously, your automation control software should make sample streaming simple across the entirety of your workflow. 



Waste Elimination:  this is not just related to system by product waste (i.e. pipette tips, used tip boxes, plates, etc.).  You should really consider how a compact footprint (i.e. vertical integration and improved device density) along with optimized movement paths can eliminate common sources of system waste thus saving precious lab space and money. 



System Linkages: your robotic system is truly a data factory.  These systems generate terabytes of scientific and event-based data on a daily basis, creating new opportunities to significantly advance drug development and discovery.  Your robotic system control software should provide you with an open architecture ensuring you with the ability to connect to any LIMS, cloud, native data platform or ELN thus increasing your productivity and minimizing data casualties 


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