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Journal of Automatic Chemistry
Volume 14, Issue 2, Pages 43-45

The laboratory of the 1990s—Planning for Total Automation

Development Department, Pharmaceuticals Division, CIBA-GEIGY Corporation, Ardsley, New York, USA

Copyright © 1992 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The analytical laboratory of the 1990s must be able to meet and accommodate the rapid evolution of modern-day technology. One such area is laboratory automation. Total automation may be seen as the coupling of computerized sample tracking, electronic documentation and data reduction with automated sample handling, preparation and analysis, resulting in a complete analytical procedure with minimal human involvement. Requirements may vary from one laboratory or facility to another, so the automation has to be flexible enough to cover a wide range of applications, and yet fit into specific niches depending on individual needs.

Total automation must be planned for, well in advance, if the endeavour is to be a success. Space, laboratory layout, proper equipment, and the availability and access to necessary utilities must be taken into account. Adequate training and experience of the personnel working with the technology must also be ensured. In addition, responsibilities of installation, programming maintenance and operation have to be addressed. Proper time management and the efficient implementation and use of total automation are also crucial to successful operations.

This paper provides insights into laboratory organization and requirements, as well as discussing the management issues that must be faced when automating laboratory procedures.