Even before automation, biological processes and procedures in the laboratory often came with strict protocols to ensure accuracy and efficiency. As biological matter is often fragile, speed is also an important aspect that contributes to accuracy. With all this in mind, it’s not difficult to see where laboratory automation systems can vastly help the life sciences.
What Processes in a Life Science Lab Can Be Automated?
Laboratory automation systems can be applied to an extensive range of processes, including but not limited to:
- Dynamic light scattering (DLS)
- pH testing
- DNA and RNA normalization
- Fungal and bacterial colony picking
- Gene assembly
- Next-gen sequencing
- PCR and qPCR
- Protein binding and more.
Creating a complete life science process that is entirely/almost entirely automated is possible by combining different types of laboratory automation systems offered by laboratory automation companies.
Examples of Laboratory Automation System Components To Consider
There are hundreds of different laboratory automation solutions, but certain types are core in life science lab settings. These include:
- Liquid handling robots/systems: These systems can consist of different subcomponents, including automated pipetting robots, reagent dispensers, microplate washers, extraction tools, and automatic magnetic bead stations. Combining these systems minimizes the number of liquid reagents and microplates that lab staff needs to handle manually.
- Microplate handling instruments: No life science laboratory would be complete without a microplate handling laboratory automation system. Dispensing of and moving of microplates within a process is a time-sapping element often overlooked, but with efficient microplate handling systems, this leakage of time can be curbed.
- Laboratory workcells: Workcells help you seamlessly integrate different pieces of equipment to optimize space usage and improve the efficiency of movement between different steps in a process. For example, a synthetic biology workstation may include different components that carry out hit picking, DNA normalization, colony plating, PCR, and more in one workstation.
- Lab automation software: Hardware is only one part of the puzzle when it comes to laboratory automation systems; it’s also necessary to have reliable but easy-to-use software in place to keep everything running as it should. This includes the software that helps run instruments and lab scheduling software to control the operations of different automated processes in the laboratory.
- Colony picking systems: If picking colonies is a major part of your lab’s processes, then it’s necessary to invest in a reliable colony picking laboratory automation system. These systems use parameters specified by the user to identify the desired colony’s and pick them accurately and quickly, immensely speeding up the process compared to humans manually.
Benefits of Laboratory Automation Systems For Life Science Labs
As with any form of automation, laboratory automation systems provide life science labs an upgrade in speed, accuracy, efficiency, and output, allowing processes to be scaled up considerably. An increase in scale means research gets completed faster, human resources can be kept to a minimal number, and profitability increases (in the long term because there is an initial cost investment for the robots/systems).
Hudson Robotics is a renowned lab automation company that’s been servicing life science clients since 1983. Contact us today to learn how you can automate your laboratory for maximum output.