Scientists have long sought ways to maximize their laboratory throughput by developing machinery that simplifies difficult or repetitive tasks. The use of laboratory automation products increased following the world wars, where Dr. Masahide Sasaki became the first scientist to develop a fully automated lab in the early 1980’s.
At the Kochi Medical School in Japan, his lab used conveyor belts to transport test tubes, automatic pipettes to aliquot samples for assays, and robotic arms to dispense additional regents. In addition, Zymark Corporation became the first commercial entity to develop a purpose-built laboratory robot and peripheral modules to fully automate sample prep for HLPC and other laboratory automation products, shipping their first robot in 1980. Since the 1980’s, automation has drastically increased in task capability, complexity, and efficiency, which has greatly benefited modern-day labs.
What Are the Different Types of Lab Automation?
Robotic laboratory automation can be added to any lab environment at multiple stages of sample processing. For example, pre-analytical automated laboratory instruments add protection when collecting, storing, and labeling samples before sample preparation; automated analytical instruments optimize sample preparation and data collection; and post-analytical automation enhances data analysis and sample archiving.
Many scientists can benefit from automation at each stage, where a wide range of laboratory automation products exists to facilitate sample processing in particular. This is especially evident when using common molecular, cellular, and microbiology methods.
For instance, automated DNA, RNA, and protein extractions can be combined in automated PCR workcells and microbiome research can be automated to ensure precise growth and accurate observational recordings through colony picking systems. In addition, these methods can be complemented with high throughput software to optimize data observations during the collection process that may go amiss with human observation alone, as well as perform thorough post-collection analysis.
Additionally, computer systems can oversee lab workflow by combining automation at various stages of sample processing. For example, laboratory automation products can be managed by highly efficient laboratory scheduling software systems. Look for lab automation software that offers to multitask across hundreds of instruments that is easily programmable to accommodate simultaneous usage and overlaps between machines.
How Can Labs Benefit from Laboratory Automation Products?
There are numerous ways in which adding laboratory automation products can increase work efficiency, not limited to:
- Reducing time to perform repetitive tasks
- Increasing time available to complete specialized tasks
- Reducing human error
- Increasing reproducibility
- Optimizing remote collection of data
In both academic and industrial laboratory settings, automation decreases the time scientists must dedicate to performing routine tasks, thus optimizing their time focusing on more specialized tasks.
For example, scientists can reduce the time to fill a 96-well plate by using an automated pipetting workstation and reagent dispensers programmable with integrated high throughput software.
Furthermore, the use of automation reduces human error that skews data analysis and product formation. Instead, the reliable nature of laboratory automation products allows consistent results that can be easily reproduced, both within labs following repeated experiments and across multiple labs in collaborative projects. Moreover, using trustworthy automation means the scientist can limit the attention required for the collection process instead of focusing on more complex tasks and even fully collecting data remotely.
Incorporating Automation in Your Lab
Automation has been shown to increase work efficiency and modernize how scientists run their labs. Easily programmable interfaces offer simplicity and flexibility when optimizing lab workflow and promptly advance research and industrial findings to the next level.
Take advantage of the extensive laboratory automation products offered by Hudson Robotics, and speak to a representative today on how your lab can benefit from automation!