benefits of lab automation
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Published On: January 5th, 2021Categories: Articles, Automation

Laboratories are constantly adopting new technology whether it be new equipment or software. One of the most impactful solutions in recent decades is in lab automation systems. Automation utilizes software that automates equipment and robots to operate with minimal human supervision, which in turn improves efficiency and the quality of results. As more laboratories are integrating automated systems into their environments, researchers are also able to perform more tests and achieve results with less time and resources. Read on to learn about six of the benefits of laboratory automation and why this technology is here to stay.

1. Reduced Errors

One of the top benefits of laboratory automation is error reduction. As human error is a significant risk in any lab setting, automating key tasks such as pipetting precise quantities of sample and recording data ensures the collection of consistent, error-free results. Automation robots can assist with this, too, as they are programmed with a workflow that is meant to reduce inconsistencies in all steps of a process.

2. Increased Productivity

Lab work processes involve repetitive motions and protocols which can be mundane and decrease the productivity of lab staff. By using automation robots to execute these repetitive tasks, scientists can focus their resources and time on writing papers and ideating for new projects or products. Staff can even program instruments to perform tasks while they are away, allowing them to attend meetings, consult with colleagues, and work on higher-level priorities without halting work in the lab.

Automated laboratory robots can complete tasks ranging from sample labeling to microplate handling, while lab scheduling software can automatically schedule resources and calculate workforce capacity for the short- to long-term. By using software and robots together, the increased productivity lab staff can achieve is definitely a major benefit of lab automation.

3. Cost and Space Savings

Another benefit is cost reduction. Besides reducing costs through increased productivity, automated robots can reduce waste as they are more accurate and efficient in using reagents.

Furthermore, current lab scheduling software and automation robots are able to provide numerous functions typically without taking up much physical space and using the available space effectively. While lab automation has been costly in the past, it’s become more affordable now. This makes automation systems a viable investment even for smaller labs.

4. Safer Working Conditions

Laboratories have strict protocols to protect the staff, equipment, and test samples from mishaps. However, accidents still happen for several reasons.

By using the safety features in lab automation software, accidents can be prevented. For instance, safety limits can be set that will trigger a warning alarm if they’re exceeded and even program the software to stop the test or experiment automatically.

Unlike humans, automated equipment is precise and doesn’t get tired; they don’t make errors or cause accidents. Safety is one of the most important benefits of laboratory automation.

5. Fully Customizable

Lab automation software is widely customizable to suit a lab’s requirements. Labs can select the modules according to their needs and even change them in the future as requirements evolve. Since new updates are continually made available, labs can ensure that systems are secure and function with the latest features.

6. Enhanced Data Integrity and Traceability

Laboratory automation systems provide enhanced data integrity and traceability by standardizing experimental procedures and documentation. Automation software records and stores experimental parameters, sample information, and procedural steps in a systematic and traceable manner, minimizing the risk of data discrepancies or loss. This ensures that experimental results are reproducible, auditable, and compliant with regulatory requirements, bolstering the credibility and reliability of research findings. Moreover, automation systems facilitate seamless integration with laboratory information management systems (LIMS), enabling efficient data transfer and analysis, ultimately accelerating scientific discovery and innovation.

As you can see, there are numerous clear benefits of laboratory automation. Coupled with the decreasing cost of adoption, most labs, even small ones, can take advantage of automated systems to increase productivity and advance their research. Plus, with new advancements constantly being developed for automated systems, they will soon be a regular fixture in all labs worldwide.

Other things to consider about Laboratory Automation:

How does laboratory automation effectively mitigate the risk of errors in experimental procedures, and what role do automation robots play in ensuring consistent, high-quality results?

Answer: Laboratory automation significantly reduces the occurrence of errors in experimental procedures by automating key tasks such as sample pipetting and data recording, which are prone to human error. Automation robots, programmed with precise workflows, execute these tasks with minimal inconsistencies, thereby ensuring the collection of accurate and reliable results. By eliminating manual intervention, automation robots enhance the reproducibility and consistency of experimental protocols, ultimately improving the quality and integrity of scientific data generated in the lab.

What are the primary mechanisms through which laboratory automation systems contribute to cost savings, and how do advancements in automation technology make it more accessible to laboratories of all sizes?

Answer: Laboratory automation systems offer cost savings through increased productivity, reduced waste, and efficient space utilization. Automation robots optimize resource allocation and streamline workflows, allowing lab staff to focus on higher-level tasks and projects, thus maximizing operational efficiency. Additionally, automation technology has become more affordable and accessible to laboratories of all sizes, thanks to advancements in software and hardware. Modern lab scheduling software and automation robots offer multifunctional capabilities while requiring minimal physical space, making automation systems a viable investment even for smaller labs. This democratization of automation technology enables laboratories to achieve significant cost savings and operational efficiencies, regardless of their scale or budget constraints.

In what ways does laboratory automation enhance safety measures in laboratory environments, and how do automation software and equipment contribute to accident prevention and personnel protection?

Answer: Laboratory automation enhances safety measures by implementing robust safety features in both software and equipment. Automation software allows for the setting of safety limits, triggering warning alarms or automatically halting experiments if these limits are exceeded, thus preventing accidents and protecting personnel, equipment, and samples. Automation equipment, unlike humans, operates with precision and consistency, minimizing the risk of errors and accidents. By relieving lab staff from repetitive and hazardous tasks, automation technology creates safer working conditions and reduces the likelihood of mishaps, ensuring a secure and conducive environment for scientific research and experimentation.

For more information about laboratory automation and products, contact Hudson Robotics today.