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In today’s fast-paced scientific world, lab automation has become a hot topic. With promises of increased efficiency, accuracy, and reproducibility, lab automation is seen as a game-changer in research and development. However, amidst the buzz, there are myths and misconceptions that can cloud our understanding of lab automation. In this blog, we will debunk some of the common myths surrounding lab automation, using actual examples to separate fact from fiction. So, let’s dive in and uncover the truth about lab automation!
Myth 1 – Lab Automation is Too Expensive
Contrary to popular belief, lab automation is not always prohibitively expensive. While there can be upfront costs associated with purchasing and implementing automation equipment, the long-term benefits often outweigh the initial investment. For instance, consider a high-throughput screening assay used in drug discovery. Manual execution of such an assay would require significant time and labor, leading to increased costs and potential human error. However, automating the process with a liquid handling robot can greatly reduce human intervention, minimize errors, and increase throughput, resulting in cost savings over time.
Myth 2 – Lab Automation is Only for Large Laboratories
Lab automation is not limited to large laboratories or research institutions. In fact, automation solutions are now available in various sizes and capacities, catering to the needs of labs of all sizes. For example, compact benchtop automated liquid handling systems are now available, which are suitable for small to medium-sized labs. These systems offer the advantages of automation, such as improved precision and repeatability, even in smaller spaces and with lower budgets.
Myth 3 – Lab Automation Replaces Human Expertise
Another common myth is that lab automation replaces human expertise. However, this is not entirely true. Whilst lab automation can automate repetitive and time-consuming tasks, it does not replace the need for skilled scientists and researchers. In fact, lab automation frees up scientists’ time, allowing them to focus on higher-level tasks, such as data analysis, experimental design, and interpretation of results. Automation can enhance human capabilities, leading to more efficient and accurate research.
Myth 4 – Lab Automation is Complex and Difficult to Implement
While implementing lab automation can have its challenges, it is not always complex or difficult. Many automation solutions are designed to be user-friendly, with intuitive interfaces and easy-to-follow protocols. In addition, most automation vendors offer comprehensive training and technical support to assist with implementation and ongoing maintenance. For example, a robotic plate handler can be easily integrated into a lab workflow, and the software can be customized to match specific protocols and processes, making it a seamless addition to the lab.
Myth 5 – Lab Automation is Not Flexible
Some researchers believe that lab automation is rigid and inflexible, limiting the scope of experiments. However, modern lab automation solutions are highly adaptable and can be customized to meet the specific needs of a lab’s research goals. For instance, robotic workstations can be programmed to accommodate various labware types, protocols, and workflows, making them flexible and adaptable to changing experimental requirements. Moreover, many automation systems offer modular designs that allow for easy upgrades and modifications as research needs evolve.
Lab automation is not shrouded in myths as commonly perceived. While there may be challenges in implementing and integrating automation solutions, the benefits of increased efficiency, accuracy, and reproducibility in research far outweigh the perceived drawbacks. Lab automation is not limited to large labs, nor does it replace human expertise. It can be cost-effective, user-friendly, and flexible, making it a valuable tool in modern research and development.
To learn more about how MESLO Americas can help you get the most out of lab automation, contact us. We’d love to hear from you.