Many microbiological food testing laboratories face increasing workload, cost pressure, and shortage of qualified personnel, making process optimization and automation important. Full automation of the diverse test process steps (weighing food sample, diluting, homogenizing, dilution series, inoculating, incubating, and plate counts) can be challenging due to sample heterogeneity and many different test parameters. Complex high-tech workstations can perform these tasks but need high sample throughputs for profitability and can risk technical problems and system failures.
An alternative to full automation is partial automation, which eliminates repetitive, manually complex steps and increases output quantity and quality while improving employee well-being and job satisfaction. The established analytical process remains unchanged and there are no high investment costs or special skill requirements. Multiple workplaces equipped with partial automation solutions ensure necessary redundancy.
The Inlabtec Serial Diluter is a partial automation solution that boosts productivity and supports technicians by offering:
- Automated and standardized sample dilution in shortest time for reliable result
- Simplified laboratory logistics and work preparation by eliminating test tube procurement and preparation
- Reduced errors through process simplifications (no manual mixing or test tube handling)
- Easy integration into existing processes without requiring special knowledge
- Facilitates quality assurance and normalizes quality in case of staff fluctuations
- Low running and maintenance costs, no service contract or skilled staff required
- Minimal risk of laboratory failure if multiple workstations are in operation
Partial automation is a viable alternative for high sample heterogeneity, high flexibility demand, and lower sample throughput, and a step towards full automation. It sets the foundation for being a competitive lab capable of implementing full automation.