Lab Automation and Connected Lab Solutions

Automation is a growing reality in life sciences laboratories

Routine tasks that were once time consuming and fraught with potential variability can now be automated. A leading example includes automated liquid handling devices and the long list of processes they can streamline, including: DNA/RNA sample prep, LC-MS, and high-throughput screening, to cite a few.

Automated lab solutions have taken pronounced role recently, with COVID-19 and the challenges the pandemic brought with regards to sample collection, handling, processing, and storage. In the area of testing, many companies stepped up innovation to create automated (and semi-automated) solutions. As mentioned:

  • Hamilton/RHINOstic created a solution for the time intensive process of patient sample transport and preparation. The introduction of the LabElite DeCapper focuses on streamlining decapping and capping of sample tubes while protecting biohazard exposure.
  • The DreamPrep NAP Workstation from Zymo Research/Tecan was designed to simplify the RNA extraction process upstream of RT-PCR virus testing platforms. Combining the Quick-DNA/RNA Viral magnetic bead extraction process with the Fluent 480 Workstation, automated liquid handling now provides a high-throughput solution to the tedious manual technique of extraction.

These and many other automated solutions have helped speed up and expand the scale of virus testing capabilities. Moreover, the advent of these and other solutions has helped accelerate the adoption of lab automation in general, decreasing the need for manual handling of samples and hand-on operation of equipment.

The goals of lab automation and connected lab solutions

Lab Automation has become a concept that transcends individual pieces of equipment such as automated liquid handling devices. Automated lab solutions aim to connect multiple devices through a central platform designed for scheduling, controlling, and managing data. Several companies now offer enterprise automated solutions for entire workflows, whether these be immunoassay lab workflows employing ELISA plate handling and detection, diagnostic lab workflows dependent on sample extraction and analysis by RT-PCR, or other complex processes.

Thermo MomentumTM Workflow Scheduling Software

Thermo Fisher Scientific now offers a portfolio of connected lab solutions including platforms, workstations, and other systems for rapid, high-throughput, and complex workflows.  The Momentum Workflow Scheduling Software sits atop these solutions, allowing users to define, execute, and monitor processes in a powerful yet efficient environment. Some of the advanced features inlcude:

  • The platform is intuitive, with a dashboard to monitor the system and drag and drop process creation. Touch screen access to teaching wizards provides intelligent guidance during process creation.
  • Momentum is versatile, allowing event-driven scheduling, on the fly decision making, and intelligent decision-based error handling. It also accommodates multiple sample runs simultaneously, with the option to switch to manual operation if the need arises
  • The platform is also flexible, with the ability to connect various instruments through the ever-expanding collection of device drivers.

View the LabX Product Profile Infographic for further details and a video description of the features and capabilities.

Tecan FluentControlTM Scheduler Software

Tecan has helped define liquid handling and process automation with the innovative Fluent® Automation Workstation. Through the flexibility of the Fluent (and Fluent GX) platforms, robotics, liquid handling, and application options can be combined to address specific lab requirements. In control of these configurable workstations is the FluentControl™ software, designed to enable users to build and optimize their own automated workflows with intuitive programming and diagnostic features.

The new FluentControl Scheduler software platform is now positioned to simplify the design of complex workflows, providing the flexibility and efficiency needed for automated lab processes. Some key features inlcude:

  • The platform is straightforward, allowing users to quickly and easily define processing for single or multiple sample plates. Easy-to-use features include a touchscreen interface and remote monitoring capabilities enable users to quickly operate the system with minimal interruptions to other processes in the lab.
  • FluentControl Scheduler is smart. The platform reacts dynamically during a run to continuously optimize throughput. It also permits on the fly changes to workflow specifications. Records are automatically kept for GMP monitoring and compliance.
  • It’s also capable, allowing the processing of single or multiple plates, automatically maximizing throughput without compromising time-critical actions such as reagent addition or microplate reading.

As mentioned, the FluentControl scheduling software has been developed with consideration of customer feedback and an in-depth understanding of future market needs, with intelligent and user-friendly features that help labs heighten productivity.


Connected automated solutions are now available to address the needs of any scale, from large enterprise processes to routine yet complex workflows in the lab. State of the art scheduling software, such as the solutions detailed above, allows the creation and monitoring of customized workflows -- bringing multi-instrument processes together under one centralized control platform.

Review our Lab Automation, Automated Liquid Handling, and Robotics listings on