The laboratory uses various automated testing equipment and computers to achieve automation of measurement, experimentation, and data processing, thereby reducing the manual operation of laboratory personnel and improving research efficiency. The primary stage of laboratory automation is the automatic measurement of experimental data. Modern laboratory automation includes research planning, research investigation, design and trial of experimental equipment, preparation of experimental samples, collection and organization of experimental data, publication and dissemination of research results, and construction of databases and other research and analysis activities. Therefore, laboratory automation has two meanings: narrow and broad.
In a narrow sense, laboratory automation refers to the automation of the process of acquiring data through experiments, data processing, and obtaining experimental results. In a broad understanding, it includes scientific experiments, simulations, image processing, computer-aided design, automatic measurement, automatic inspection, experimental equipment control, various databases, automatic translation, expert systems, and more. The equipment system for laboratory automation is a scientific research support system that fully uses technological resources, information resources, and human intellectual resources in the laboratory.
Mainly used for the measurement of small experimental equipment, automation of large-scale laboratory facilities, analysis and testing of industrial quality management, and biomedical fields. Since the 1980s, laboratory automation has also been combined with office automation, computer-aided design, and computer-aided manufacturing, and has become a part of factory automation.
The automated laboratory equipment mainly includes three elements: experimental equipment, computers, and scientific and technical personnel, which respectively complete the measurement and control of the experimental objects, collection and judgment of data, interpretation and judgment of the experiment, and other tasks. A general laboratory automation system consists of dedicated electronic computers, interfaces, and a local area network for measurement, and corresponding software. Advanced laboratory automation systems use expert systems with some reasoning functions, becoming assistants for human intelligent creative activities.
With the continuous development of society and the economy, the medical system is facing great challenges. These challenges are reflected in clinical laboratory work in two aspects: on the one hand, medical expenses continue to rise, requiring clinical laboratories to continuously reduce costs; on the other hand, with the improvement of people's living standards, they pay more attention to their own medical care and the demand for accurate testing continues to increase. These reasons have led to a sustained increase in the workload of laboratory work, and clinical laboratories face greater challenges. The equipment for laboratory automation provides an opportunity to solve the problems faced by clinical laboratories.