Introduction to Laboratory Automation Short Course:Resource Page

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Resource page for the "Introduction to Laboratory Automation" short course

To be taught at the SLASAnnual Conference



This course presents a broad introduction to the field of industrial (i.e. non-clinical) laboratory automation. A general understanding of a laboratory environment is helpful.  It is best suited for those with little or no experience with laboratory automation, those who are seeking an introductory overview of the topic as described in the course outline below.  In the past the course been attended by industrial end-users of automation, laboratory managers, software developers or engineers seeking a broad understanding about lab automation, marketing and sales specialsts from technology providers seeking to better understand what matters to their customers, and corporate executives seeking a broad understanding of the field.  

Because it is a broad survey course, we do not delve into any one subject matter in great depth.  We do not talk about the pros and cons of specific equipment or vendors, but we do to teach you the proper approach to make the best choice on your own (or to understand how your customers should be making choices if you are a vendor).  We cannot in this short time turn you into automation or software engineers or developers, but we do teach you processes and terminology that will help you better interact with people who are experts in various technology fields and better plan your choices and projects. 

Detailed Course Outline

  1. Succeeding with Laboratory Automation
    1. Strategic impact:  Understand industry drivers, costs and benefits of lab automation. 
    2. Tactical strategy
      1. Understand lab automation
      2. Choose the “right” projects
        1. Quick rules of thumb for analyzing and justifying laboratory automation projects
        2. Evaluating bottlenecks
      3. Develop a strategy and plan
        1. Project management for lab automation
        2. Choosing technology entry points
      4. Choose the right technology
      5. Resource and manage the project
        1. Build/buy options - current trends
        2. The laboratory automation market
        3. Resourcing options
        4. The laboratory automation expert
      6. Implement, validate and prepare for long-term operation
  2. Automated Systems
    1. Macro to micro scale
    2. Electronic interfaces
    3. Failures, complexity & reliability
    4. Automated ID technologies
    5. Machine vision
    6. Facilities and infrastructure
  3. Laboratory Informatics
    1. Control and Scheduling of Automated Systems
    2. Integration of Laboratory Instruments
    3. Data Acquisition and Management
    4. Data Analysis
    5. ELN’s, LIMS and Workflow systems
  4. Case Study

References from the course

From Chapter 1

  1. ALA 2008 Survey
  2. 2006 ALA Survey on Industrial Laboratory Automation
  3. Factory Acceptance Test

From Chapter 2

  1. The LUO concept
  2. Sample_transport_technology
  3. Robotic_Sample_Transport
  4. Automated_Workstation
  5. Microfluidic_sample_transport
  6. Automated_liquid_handling_workstation
  7. Small_volume_pipetting
  8. Acoustic_Nanoliter_Droplet_Ejection
  9. Electronic Interfaces
  10. Agilent WeighPad
  11. Symyx Powder Dispensing Workstation
  12. Artel MVS
  13. Bristol-Myers Squibb Omnique “A Web-based Instrument Monitoring System.” Martin Echols, David K. Smith, and David S. Nirschl. J. Assoc. Lab. Autom. 2004, 9, 398-403
  14. Amgen system for monitoring and reporting daily liquid handling performance. “The Automatic Metric Monitoring Program.” Henry Schultz, et. al. J. Assoc. Lab. Autom. 2003, 8
  15. Automatic_identification_and_data_capture
  16. Digital_imaging
  17. "Machine Vision for Error Detection and Recovery in Laboratory Automation", M.F. Russo, J.V. Petersen, and M.Echols, Laboratory Robotics and Automation, Vol. 7, pp. 145-158, Wiley Publishers, NY, NY, 1995

From Chapter 3

  1. American Laboratory, November 2004. “Streamlining the Development of Instrument Control and Interface Applications”, Shelley Gretlein
  2. Assay_Optimization:_A_Statistical_Design_of_Experiments_Approach
  3. Concepts_for_Dynamic_Scheduling_in_the_Laboratory
  4. National Instruments
  5. Thermo Active Robot
  6. Microsoft Robotics Developers Studio
  7. Robot kits and components
  10. Workflow Management Coalition
  11. Daniel C. Weaver, “Build vs. Buy vs. Both”
  12. A Web-based instrument monitoring system
  13. The Automatic Metric Monitoring Program

Images and video from the course

Links to supplementary documents

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