There are three forms of laboratory automation: standard type, integrated type, and customized type.
Standard automation equipment mainly consists of two types: automatic functional instruments and workstations with standard routes explored through customized processes. For automatic functional instruments, some time that would otherwise be spent on manual guarding is saved. However, due to the continuity of the experimental process, if upstream and downstream equipment are not designed uniformly, the collaboration of the entire process line is difficult to achieve.
As for the standard laboratory automation system, it is a collection of the key processes in the experimental process, continuously optimized, and achieves a one-click start and output effect. There are slightly customized and integrated elements in the process, such as customized supporting or auxiliary functions, and integration of some standard instruments, but it is not a kind of customized or integrated form.
As the name suggests, the integrated form is to achieve a platform goal by integrating multiple instruments through software intercooperation and hardware collaboration. The characteristic of the integrated form is that the instrument equipment of the laboratory automation system is usually selected based on its ability to interact with both software and hardware, or at least with software interaction.
The integrated form also has a significant feature in business operation, that is, the core technology is weak, and a large amount of R&D time is spent on software development and instrument selection, like assembling a computer. Its cost and return on investment are intuitive, which is especially suitable for development in a fast-paced business environment, saving R&D cycles and reducing manpower investment.
Customized products are not completely developed from scratch, but rather involve integrating behaviors that cannot be undertaken by mainstream applications on this equipment. The requirements of each function are difficult to find suitable standard products on the market, or the cost of investment is too high. Therefore, we need to develop custom functions and conduct comprehensive thinking of the overall equipment. The biggest feature of customized products is that it can be like a miniature laboratory, allowing users to unleash their imagination.
The integrated type does not represent a laboratory. The integrated form is based on the product model of upstream instrument equipment, while the customized form of the laboratory automation system is based on the product model of the laboratory "human-machine-material-process-environment." This is their biggest difference. Of course, in the process of customization and integration, if a certain form is found to be very universal, this product may have the opportunity to grow into a standard type product.
The requirements for the product team in customization are extremely high, and team members should have a wide range of knowledge and talents from various industries. Compared with integrated and standard types, the technical core of customized types is very obvious, that is, talent. Either the learning ability of talent is extremely strong, or the scope of talent is extremely wide, or the team's talent configuration is complete enough to support the landing of a customized product.