Whenever lab automation solutions are implemented, there is also a need for the respective lab automation software. As a critical component of any lab automation system, specialized software plays a crucial role in managing, coordinating, and monitoring various laboratory tasks, workflows and data.
In this article, we will discuss different types of lab automation software and the functionalities they offer to automate laboratory tasks.
Lab automation solutions
Lab automation solutions offer features and functionalities to drive automated lab equipment, and to support and streamline a modern laboratory’s processes and operations. They are software-driven, and their final aim is an optimization of lab processes by improving and substituting manual processes.
Automated workflows for liquid handling, for instance, cover the entire process of measuring, mixing and dispensing. Intelligent laboratory automation solutions can carry out sample preparation, pipetting, and dispensing, but also microplate handling and the entire data management.
For each of these applications, different automation platforms based on robots are available and may include a variety of elements and modules. These include barcode scanners, liquid handlers, machine vision, conveyor systems, or incubators.
What is lab automation software?
Lab automation software refers to a variety of specialized computer programs and applications designed to drive, control, and optimize automated labware, entire workstations, and processes. As such, it is a necessary element of any laboratory automation platform or system that usually consists of various modules and elements of hardware.
Sophisticated laboratory automation software should be able to carry out data management and manage permissions. Software packages typically also include validation and scheduling software.
What is LIMS?
LIMS is an acronym that stands for Laboratory Information Management System. Those software-based systems are designed to manage and streamline the operations and data management processes within an automated laboratory or research facility. They play a crucial role in ensuring data accuracy, traceability, and efficiency and are particularly valuable in laboratories that handle large volumes of sample preparation and dispensing.
What is ELN?
Electronic Laboratory Notebooks (ELNs) are essential tools in modern lab automation. ELNs replace traditional paper lab notebooks, offering a digital solution for data management. They provide a centralized platform for scientists to capture, store, and organize their research data.
ELNs enhance data integrity, streamline collaboration, and ensure compliance with regulatory standards. These versatile digital tools cater to a variety of scientific disciplines and feature user-friendly interfaces for easy adoption. With the digital transformation of laboratories, ELNs have become indispensable for efficient data management and laboratory record-keeping.
Lab automation software for advanced decision-making
Lab automation software is the linchpin for data-driven decisions in modern laboratories. It facilitates rapid data analysis, enabling scientists to extract valuable insights and make informed choices.
Real-time monitoring and data trends allow swift responses to experiment deviations. Scientists benefit from advanced algorithms for experimental design and quality control, ensuring consistency and precision. Efficient resource allocation becomes feasible, saving time and materials. Collaborative data sharing is enhanced, fostering teamwork and boosting overall productivity in research and development efforts.
Requirements for a laboratory automation software
Schedules and timelines in labs are generally tight, and high-throughput rates are a concern. This is why automated workflows should be designed to seamlessly integrate and offer user-friendly operation.
Lab technicians and life science experts are specialized in tasks and fields other than IT. They need to be able to rely on intuitive user interfaces and touchscreens that are easy to read and navigate. In order to ensure a smooth integration and understanding of their software, most providers include webinars or in-person training and technical support with their automation software packages.
In addition, comprehensive software packages should be able to manage various projects and products at once. For easy data management, they generally include scan functions and come with a high level of connectivity in order to bundle different automation steps within laboratory processes.
Lab automation software – what’s on the market?
As lab automation keeps revolutionizing the way modern laboratories operate, it is no wonder that there are several lab automation software solutions available on the market. Depending on the exact requirements in a specific lab, you can choose between different suppliers, product categories and configurations.
Here are a few exemplary companies that offer lab automation software (please note that this list is not exhaustive, as there are several other providers for lab automation software):
- HighRes® Biosolutions
- Thermo Fisher Scientific
- Peak Analysis and Automation
Lab automation solutions – partnering with ESSERT Robotics
In order to unlock the full potential of lab automation solutions, both software and hardware need to seamlessly work together in order to establish reliable, transparent and efficient workflows.
Taking care of the hardware part, ESSERT Robotics has designed the ADVANCED Robotic Workstation. This modular automation solution takes automation to the next level: You can rely on improved manufacturing workflows and increased throughput, while the integrated recipe database allows you to quickly and conveniently choose and switch between different products and adjust the respective parameters.
Our automation solutions come with an intuitive graphical user interface in order to provide full control of lab automation solutions for liquid handling. This makes it easy to change parameters or learn new robot positions without either extensive expert or programming knowledge.
Combined with your lab automation software solution of choice, data management happens in real-time – for improved decision-making and even more transparency. This is how you can boost your production with ESSERT’s lab automation solutions – with one simple click at a time.