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Journal of Automatic Chemistry
Volume 16 (1994), Issue 5, Pages 231-233

Positioning laboratory automation for today's dynamic climate

Eli Lilly and Company, Lilly Corporate Center, Indianapolis, Indiana 46285, USA

Copyright © 1994 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.


Laboratory automation has existed and matured at Eli Lilly and Company for well over a decade. The author's section serves as a developer of laboratory automation systems for customers within Lilly and embodies ‘robotic friendly’ laboratories with highly technical and experienced personnel. With several systems showing signs of age, second generation ‘smart systems’ have been developed and delivered during the last three years. These systems were built with an ideology different from previous systems. Upon their delivery, the ‘smart systems’ met the customer's functional requirements but the overall acceptance of this ideology is still being debated due to the perception of failure. Much of this perception can be attributed to the delivery of a system heavily dependent on system maintenance, something totally unexpected by the customer. This paper discusses the ideology of a‘smart systems’ and the results following implementation. The events that led to the review and subsequent departure of the ‘smart systems’ ideology are also described.