Offering benefits to scientific research, healthcare, and various other industries, lab automation is an important development – and big business. Ever since the first fully automated lab went operational in Japan in the early 1980s1, automation has been steadily progressing. The fields of application have been expanding and manufacturers from a variety of backgrounds are relying on solutions offered by lab automation companies.
Among the list of companies employing lab automation solutions are pharmaceutical and biotechnology manufacturers such as Novartis and Pfizer or Genentech and Amgen. Laboratories utilzing robotic solutions include clinical diagnostic labs like Quest Diagnostics as well as forensic labs. The global market is steadily growing and is expected to reach more than USD 6 billion by 20282.
Lab automation: An introduction
The term “lab automation” refers to the implementation of technology and automated systems that are used to perform various tasks in order to streamline processes in a lab environment. This enables entire systems to run with little to no human intervention, thus eliminating the potential for human error.
Lab automation companies are developing ever more comprehensive systems that are more than just mere computer hard- and software. Apart from robots, lab automation solutions can also include conveyor systems and other sophisticated elements such as machine vision. The different robotic systems available can cover a wide field of processes. These range from sample and liquid handling all the way to data collection and analysis executed by lab automation software.
Laboratories have always been a playground for developers and researchers pushing for advancements in their respective fields. It is only natural for them to constantly play with and implement new technology, laboratory equipment and software solutions.
Lab automation market: Company overview
The market for laboratory automation systems is driven by the need for increased efficiency, accuracy, and productivity across various industries. Some of the biggest markets include pharmaceutical and biotechnology research, clinical diagnostics, genomics and life sciences research as well as chemical and materials science. Among biotech companies there is a huge demand not only for comprehensive laboratory automation systems but also for consumables. Accordingly, the number of companies offering progressive lab automation software and laboratory robotics is extensive, and it keeps growing.
ESSERT Robotics has undergone a swift growth trajectory and now holds a prominent position in the global market for flexible automation solutions in the low-volume sector. In the field of laboratory automation, the company from Germany is drawing attention with its advanced solutions for improved liquid handling that cover all aspects of measuring, mixing and dispensing. This ranges from sample preparation and pipetting to microplate handling.
While other systems may be better suited for high-throughput rates, the solutions developed by ESSERT Robotics are modular, flexible and scalable. Their automation platform is designed to increase flexibility and streamline processes, improve assay precision and reproducibility, and accelerate research.
With a history dating back to 1996 when it was founded by Thomas Goldfuß, Goldfuß Engineering has evolved into a notable name in laboratory automation.
In GMP-regulated environments, their automation systems relieve lab personnel of repetitive tasks, ensuring precision even in clean rooms. These solutions encompass bio-burden analytics, cell cultivation, sample preparation, and logistics, with features like data management and LIMS/ERP interfaces.
Chemspeed Technologies is specializing in laboratory automation and research and development solutions. Headquartered in Switzerland, the company has established locations worldwide. Chemspeed serves various industries, such as pharmaceuticals, chemicals, and materials science.
They provide a range of products and services aimed at enhancing efficiency and accelerating chemical synthesis. The company’s automation platforms and software solutions are designed to streamline laboratory work, supporting high-throughput experimentation.
With its laboratory robotics, Abbott aims to provide solutions to tackle increased demand in the face of challenges caused by staffing shortages and budget constraints. The multinational, headquartered in the USA, has been on the market since the late 19th century and today is a well-established provider of healthcare solutions, including robotic systems for clinical diagnostics and other laboratory processes.
Being a leader in in-vitro diagnostics, Abbott provides advanced technology to labs around the world. The overall aim is to optimize workflows, and increase uptime as well as throughput, and decrease track implementation as well as turnaround times.
Thermo Fisher Scientific
Thermo Fisher Scientific’s TCAutomation Laboratory Automation System is designed to improve the overall quality in clinical laboratories that are faced with increasing workloads. The company also provides a range of reagents and consumables, analytical instruments, specialty diagnostics and software services.
All of those are tailored to laboratory, pharmaceutical and biotechnology services, with the aim to streamline workflows and optimize productivity.
Siemens Healthineers is a provider of laboratory equipment including a comprehensive laboratory automation system called Aptio Automation. The platform is designed to streamline and optimize typical laboratory processes within clinical diagnostics and healthcare settings.
The main aim is to enhance efficiency as well as accuracy and productivity while maintaining high-quality patient testing. It can be easily integrated with various instruments and systems, thus supporting faster and more accurate test results.
With its headquarters in California, Agilent is a global provider of instruments, analytical software, consumables as well as services that cover all aspects of laboratory workflows. Their automated liquid handling platform enables simplified sample preparation, while their specialized software is designed to integrate multiple devices.
While the software’s main objective is to ease and optimize laboratory operations, it also offers a preventive maintenance feature.
Having been founded in 1937, PerkinElmer is among the most established providers of lab solutions. Apart from analytical instruments, the company offers medical imaging components, tools and consumables for genetic testing as well as diagnostic purposes.
In addition, PerkinElmer offers integrated workstations and software designed to simplify microplate and liquid handling. The company keeps growing its portfolio, and in 2021 acquired SIRION Biotech, a specialist in viral vector-based technologies.
Headquartered in Europe, QIAGEN provides customers from both an academic and pharmaceutical background with sample and assay technologies for molecular diagnostics and applied testing.
Their laboratory automation solutions are designed to streamline and improve the efficiency of sample processing and analysis. This is achieved by automating labor-intensive tasks typically performed in research and clinical laboratories.
Apart from consumables for laboratories, the Hamilton Company specializes in automated solutions for advancements in scientific discovery. While laboratory equipment makes up a big segment of the product range, the company also offers automation platforms and applications for various other fields. These include agriculture, industrial sciences or forensic science.
The company has been in business for more than 60 years. According to its LinkedIn profile, it is “an industry leader in the design and manufacture of liquid handling, process analytics, robotics and automated storage solutions.”
Founded in Switzerland in 1980, the Tecan Group provides customers in healthcare and life sciences with measurement, analysis and laboratory automation devices. Their products, services and solutions are designed to make lab processes and medical procedures more precise and reproductive. With the majority of their customers being pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, their objective is to ensure compliance with all the necessary regulations and standards.
The Tecan Group provides laboratory automation and liquid handling solutions to a wide range of industries. Customers include life science laboratories, microbiology, forensics, research departments and diagnostic laboratories.
Danaher, which takes its name from a tributary of the South Fork Flathead River in western Montana, was established in 1984. As one of the first companies in North America, it adopted the Japanese business philosophy of Kaizen, which stands for continuous improvement.
Today, Danaher is a provider in the science and technology sector comprising more than 20 operating companies. Their automated instruments are aimed at standardizing delicate lab processes by reinforcing quality and reproducibility.
Hudson Robotics specializes in robotic instruments to solve specific lab automation needs in the areas of microplate and liquid handling. Their lab solutions are used by laboratories around the globe, and customers include pharmaceutical and biotech researchers, lab instrument manufacturers as well as assay kit and reagent manufacturers.
Founded in 1983, the company has recently merged with Art Robbins instruments, a provider of innovative liquid handlers, imagers, and consumables. Their SOLO liquid handler is a high resolution compact robotic pipettor designed to improve lab productivity and accuracy.
As a subsidiary of Swiss multinational healthcare company Roche, Roche Diagnostics specializes in personalized laboratory automation and software solutions. Being a healthcare company that operates worldwide under two distinct divisions allows the company to draw on the combined experience in pharma and diagnostics.
Roche Diagnostics offers a comprehensive range of automation systems that make up a digital ecosystem consisting of data resources, devices, applications and technologies.
Founded in Switzerland in 1965, Integra Biosciences is specialized in pipetting and media preparation. Today, the company is a leader in lab automation and provides solutions for research, diagnostics and quality control purposes.
Their most recent product, the Assist Plus pipetting robot has been specifically developed to meet the demand for ever-faster throughput and diminishing sample volume. It is designed to provide reproducible and error-free processing, while eliminating repetitive manual pipetting tasks.
Conclusion: Laboratory automation solutions
The future shines bright for automation companies: Consistently increasing research and development activities in drug discovery is driving the demand for automation solutions in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. The need to speed up and streamline complex workflows goes hand in hand with the necessity to eliminate the potential for human error as well as the risk of cross-contamination. Labs may be maximizing their efficiency and shortening schedules for faster delivery of results by operating 24/7. This calls for state-of-the-art automation solutions that are functional in design, offering flexibility and scalability.
With its modular platform, ESSERT Robotics has developed a solution that can be used both as standalone workstations and a microfactory. This allows for total lab automation that enables laboratories to revolutionize their operations to achieve their goals faster, more cost-efficient and with unparalleled accuracy. In other words: One platform with endless possibilities.
FAQs about Laboratory Robotics
What is automation?
What is lab automation?
What is an autosampler?
What is a robotics lab?
What is robotic process automation (RPA)?
Read more about automation and laboratories:
- Clin Chim Acta., Total laboratory automation in Japan. Past, present, and the future, Sasaki M, Kageoka T, Ogura K, Kataoka H, Ueta T, Sugihara S., 1998, DOI: 10.1016/s0009-8981(98)00148-x ↩︎
- Report ID: ER_00101, Top 10 Leading Companies in the World Offering Laboratory Automation Systems To Streamline Clinical Workflowhttps://www.emergenresearch.com/blog/top-10-leading-companies-in-the-world-offering-laboratory-automation-systems-to-streamline-clinical-workflow ↩︎