Automated benchtop instruments often extend a lab‘s capacity by performing routine tasks while freeing their operators to focus on other elements of their research. Automated titrators, incubators and imaging systems are all becoming increasing common in labs where accuracy and consistency are paramount.
6 Questions to Ask When Buying Benchtop Automation Instruments
- How much bench space do you have available for an automated instrument?
- Will the instrument work with other equipment currently in your lab?
- Is the instrument modular? Can it perform more than one task, or will you need separate instruments for each task?
- Will the instrument be able to meet your needs? What is its capacity?
- How well will the instrument fit into your lab’s current workflow?
- Is there flexibility within the instrument’s protocols? Can the protocols be customized to your needs?
If the instrument you decide to purchase does not have a safety shield separating the work area from the operator, make sure other measures are in place to protect the user. The instrument should have a sensor to make sure it stops if any foreign objects enter the work area, preventing mechanical injuries. You should also place the instrument in an area that is easily decomantinated in case any splashes happen while the instrument is running a protocol.
An advantage of benchtop automation is that these instruments have pre-programmed protocols that allow for consistency when running experiments. These protocols extend beyond experiments and also include cleaning and maintenance programs. Use these programs regularly to keep your instrument functioning like new.