Although technology and automated equipment have the reputation of improving performance, laboratories still use outdated equipment and manual processes for routine tasks. Accuracy, precision and throughput capacity issues can be the result of obsolete equipment, which can be extremely expensive.
Equipment upgrades and automated feature utilization can create more efficient and accurate operation, while simultaneously reducing costs. There are many reasons why labs should consider using automated equipment and modern technology, with five key ideas listed below.
Firstly, automation has become extremely prevalent in all industries and is a brilliant tool to enhance production and efficiency, while limiting faults in the lab space. Automated processes complete the same tasks as human employees, but at a more efficient and more accurate rate. Routine responsibilities can be completed with just a small amount of human supervision. This allows employees to dedicate their time to additional projects within the lab.
Figure 1. There are many automated options like titrators with autosamplers and chemistry analyzers. Image Credit: YSI
With constant monitoring and contact with lab equipment and harsh chemicals, manual procedures and traditional testing methods have their drawbacks. Overexposure to substances in the lab can be very harmful to employees and the testing environment.
Safety is greatly improved in modern lab equipment as it minimizes contact with reagents, samples, and other harmful substances throughout the lab. An additional and reliable tool for most methods is instrumentation as this limits the handling of fragile glass equipment. Using modern instrumentation and utilizing automation reduces safety concerns that manual methods pose.
Accuracy and Precision Enhancement
As well as improved efficiency and safety, labs should consider modernizing out-of-date equipment and testing procedures to produce results that are more consistent. Dated lab equipment can have negative implications on the accuracy and consistency of results and traditional testing procedures can be subjective.
Unfortunately, this can result in the collections of uncertain results or require supplementary data collection for validation. Acquiring modern equipment and upgrading manual processes removes the concern of inconsistent results and subjectivity.
Figure 2. Upgrading your lab can improve accuracy and precision. Image Credit: YSI
Online Monitoring or Computer Integration
Software and computer monitoring capabilities continue to improve as technology grows in its advancements, providing a complementary component. Advances in observation create an easier and more efficient data collection, processing and storage process in comparison to traditional methods.
Innovative software gives employees the opportunity to stream surveillance near real-time and remotely control the number of trials. These advanced software capabilities can be used by laboratories as an influential tool to conduct several trials for prolonged periods of time with online monitoring.
Figure 3. Online monitoring in the lab allows for computer integration. Image Credit: YSI
Return on Investment
For modern equipment, initial capital investment can be expensive. However, in general, updated equipment and automated testing procedures lead to increased savings and productivity.
Due to the exponential increase in repair costs and the possible dismissal of specific products, it is considered a risk to continue to use older equipment. As regulatory requirements grow and audits become more standard, the price of operating manual methods will surpass the price of upgrading to an automated system.
When upgrading equipment or processes, Xylem has a comprehensive portfolio of analytical laboratory equipment with a diversity of different features to suit all users’ needs.
This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by YSI.
For more information on this source, please visit YSI.