Automation 101: Misconceptions about laboratory automation

October 27, 2021  |  Technology

Laboratory experiments typically involve a lot of repetition, with scientists performing the same tasks over and over again. Automation improves the efficiency of these experiments: robots can be programmed to pipette tiny samples in hundreds of plates or to monitor experimental conditions to ensure the quality of results, leaving scientists free to spend their time and mental resources analyzing and interpreting their data.

At Biosero, we talk to lots of people in labs who are considering automating their processes. Over the years, we’ve run into a few misconceptions about automation that are important to address.

The actual cost of automation

It is crucial for scientists who are new to automation to realize that this is an investment. Unfortunately, too many people look at the price tag of a robot and assume that’s the whole outlay for automation. But in reality, there’s the cost of the software plus the costs associated with implementing the proposed solution, maintaining it, and training lab staff to run it. At Biosero, we work with labs to create a customized solution and implementation plan that works with their budget and fully accounts for all expenses related to automation.

Automation replaces scientists

Automation replacing scientists is a common concern we hear, but we have found that automation is actually a significant career opportunity for scientists. Automated solutions are meant to take on some aspects of scientists’ jobs — mostly the repetitive, tedious tasks — allowing them to work more efficiently, use their time more productively, and generate higher-volume, higher-quality results. In addition to enabling better science, having automation skills can open career doors for researchers that are closed to most lab members.

Automation is easy to implement

At Biosero, we sometimes hear this sentiment from scientists who have some prior experience with automation. There are indeed aspects of automation that are simple — but that is not the case in every situation. When we start a relationship with a new customer, we work hard to set expectations, including a realistic time frame to get the system up and running. We want our customers to be satisfied with the solutions we provide, have clear expectations at every step, and be able to use these solutions for many successful years.

For labs where automation is under consideration, take some time to think through your needs and budget. The next step is to research the different product options. We recommend asking lots of questions and, if possible, testing solutions before making a final decision. Our team at Biosero has several decades’ worth of expertise in automation. We are happy to talk through customers’ needs and answer questions about our Green Button Go® software or automation in general.

Interested in learning more about automating your lab or Green Button Go® software?

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