When designing or implementing laboratory automation, we often have a fully automated end-goal in mind. We dream of leveraging automation to enable processes that run uninterrupted, preferably day and night. Achieving such fully automated workflows, however, is often a lengthy and challenging journey, where pitfalls along the way can result in frustration and a sense of unrealized potential. It is important to recognize though, that even when implemented only partially, or even minimally, automation already brings significant benefits to your organization. Identifying and recognizing such intermediate gains is essential to achieve value realization early and throughout the automation journey. In this presentation I will showcase how automation (1) enables process standardization, (2) streamlines processes so that bottlenecks can be avoided, (3) realizes assay miniaturization, (4) enables sophisticated design-of-experiments that are notoriously difficult to execute manually and (5) accounts for consistent data storage, along with its necessary metadata. I will demonstrate examples of these 5 benefits from Synthego's CRISPR genome engineering automation journey. Finally, I will also highlight how parametrization and API interactions can help implement scalable automation solutions, specifically in light of recent focus on API support by major automation software and equipment vendors.
1. Identify five values that lab automation brings, even when implemented only partially.
2. Discuss how automation enables experiments and processes that are not possible with a manual workflow.
3. Explain how APIs help to build scalable, parameterizable, lean workflows.