The LIMS
for Device Integration

Experience the integration of lab devices, sensors, robots, and analysis software in a specific application scenario

Made in Germany by passionate lab people

At analytica 2024, the world’s leading trade fair for laboratory technology, analysis, and biotechnology, we presented a comprehensive laboratory process with the integration and automation of lab devices in collaboration with six partners.

Starting with the sampling of the beer and continuing through to the final analysis results, the entire process was orchestrated and managed by our LIMS and Lab Execution System, SAMPLES. The specific implementation has been detailed for you below.

Our partners:

  • SensorspH measurement and environmental sensors from Essentim
  • ActuatorsMagnetic stirrer from 2Mag, pipette from integra
  • AnalyticThermal desorption, autosampler and gas chromatography from Gerstel
  • Sample transportationCobot Kevin from UnitedRobotics
  • EquipmentiHex laboratory furniture from SmartLab Solutions

 

Interview followed by a live demo of a semi-automated laboratory process during the special exhibition “Digital Transformation” at analytica 2024.

Lab devices

Actuators & sensors

Robots & Cobots

Analysis software

The implementation of the laboratory process

1. Monitor room temperature

Integration: To monitor the crucial factor of temperature, it is recorded throughout the entire workflow. The sensors were already equipped with LADS adapters and could therefore be easily integrated into the device list. The data analysis was conducted using an external analysis software, which was therefore integrated into SAMPLES.

Result: For temperature monitoring, the user can select and activate the corresponding sensor in SAMPLES at the beginning of the investigation. In the background, continuous collection of temperature data now takes place. Subsequently, these data are automatically transferred by the LES to the integrated external software for analysis. The user is proactively notified of significant deviations.

2. Determine pH value

Integration: The pH sensors were also equipped with LADS adapters, ensuring easy integration into the device list. Subsequently, the device was connected via the method using the work step parameter “Read value”.

Result: The specific sensor can be selected by the user in the process step or is automatically set if only one sensor is available. During the addition of the buffer solution, the pH value is continuously monitored. The final value can then be actively transferred to the LIMS and Lab Execution System SAMPLES with a click.

3. Pipetting

Integration: The pipette was already equipped with a SiLA adapter and could thus be easily integrated. The sample volume parameter was connected to the device functions aspirate and dispense using the “Execute” interaction.

Result: The device selection is made by the user. The transfer of the correct sample volume for uptake from the beaker and dispensing into the stirring tube occurs automatically. The sample volume to be transferred is specified in the work instructions.

4. Stirring & Adsorbing

Integration: Magnetic stirrers and temperature probes were equipped with LADS adapters and were therefore easy to integrate into the device list. The interaction between the work step parameter and the device was accomplished using the“Write value” interaction. The start and stop of the stirring process were implemented using the “Execute” interaction.

Result: The rotational speed and torque are automatically adjusted on the device according to the specifications, with the start and stop controlled directly by the user in SAMPLES. The temperature is automatically monitored and recorded during the stirring process using the selected sensor. The analysis of this temperature data is then automatically conducted using integrated external analysis software. This avoids media breaks.

5. Thermal Desorption

Integration: The integration of the analysis platform was facilitated through existing LADS adapters. The execution of the individual processes within the rather complex operation, however, is handled by a encapsulated program within the platform. SAMPLES simply initiates the program using the“Execute” interaction, the details of the execution remain within the device. An external analysis software was integrated for analyzing the temperature data.

Result: After the user inserts the adsorber with the loop into the TD tube and enters the position on the workbench, they start the program directly in SAMPLES. The execution itself as well as critical parameters can be continuously tracked and monitored. The temperature profile is preset on the device according to the work instructions and is monitored throughout the process. It is automatically analyzed using integrated external software.

6. Gas Chromatography

Integration: The gas chromatograph is also addressed through its encapsulated program. Additionally, the data exchange between the external analysis software used and the LES was implemented to transfer the analysis results back into the LES.

Result: At the end of the preceding process step (5), the LES starts the program, allowing the adsorber to automatically transfer the extracted substances to the gas chromatograph. The raw data obtained from this process are manually transferred to an external analysis software. Once the results are available, they are automatically transferred to the LES via data exchange and recorded in the protocol.

7. Visual status display on the iHEX

Integration: The LEDs integrated into the hexagonal modular lab furniture iHEX already had LADS adapters, making their integration straightforward.

Result: To inform the user visually about the current status throughout the workflow, the status LEDs of the iHEX modules change colors, indicating which work step or iHEX module is currently active. SAMPLES automatically controls this in the background based on the status and progress of the investigation process.

8. Control of the cobot Kevin

Integration: The Cobot Kevin already had a LADS adapter, allowing it to be integrated and controlled via its own middleware. The complex process was developed as a separate workflow.

Result: Cobot Kevin’s role is to assist laboratory staff with tasks that can be done concurrently with other activities or require special skills. Kevin can be started directly through SAMPLES by initiating a command. In the described use case, Cobot Kevin was responsible for picking up, handling, and transporting the examined sample carrier for cleaning. Also, the battery charging of Cobot Kevin at the charging station was done automatically based on its needs.

Conclusion: Significant increase in efficiency

The support provided to users by this semi-automated laboratory process has brought significant benefits. A crucial aspect is the plug-and-play feeling enabled by the smooth interaction between the devices and the LIMS. This interaction with SAMPLES ensures seamless integration and significantly simplifies device control.

Device control from the LES functionality of SAMPLES is facilitated through pre-configured interactions, easing operation for users and increasing efficiency. Devices can be easily selected and actions automated, speeding up and simplifying the entire process.

 

Moreover, the LES automates and simplifies the sequence of work steps and associated data flows between different devices and applications. This results in accelerated execution times and a significant reduction in sources of errors.

Furthermore, the implementation of this use case ensures high data quality by adhering to the ALCOA principle: the data is always attributable, legible, contemporaneous, original, and accurate.

Overall, device integration significantly contributes to increasing efficiency and improving quality in the laboratory by supporting users and optimizing workflow processes.

Isabell

Come and talk to us!

You have questions or want to learn more about SAMPLES?

  • Use the live chat via the icon at the bottom right of every page. If no one is online at the moment, we will receive the message by e-mail.
  • Write us an e-mail.
  • Book a personal demo.
  • Or take part in one of our live webinars.

Isabell and the SAMPLES team look forward to exchanging ideas with you!

FAQ

General questions about SAMPLES

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What is SAMPLES and how can it help my laboratory?

SAMPLES is a Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS), but also a Lab Execution System (LES).

Depending on how you use it, you can use SAMPLES to manage all the information about your laboratory equipment (devices, consumables, methods, etc.) and the laboratory routine, i.e. the samples and details of their analysis. You can even automate your processes by connecting devices and other software systems.

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What kind of samples and data can I manage with SAMPLES?

From waste water to tensile tests, everything has its place. SAMPLES is the chameleon among LIMS systems. Basically, all departments can be set up with the specific devices, methods and sample types. Do you have special parameters? No problem, you can even configure measured variables and units yourself and add to them at any time!

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Is the LIMS compatible with other systems used in the laboratory?

Of course. SAMPLES is an absolute team player! Depending on which interface the other system offers, we can implement the connection to all possible systems (ERP, CRM, order portals, etc.). Connection to device and measuring systems for the automation of your laboratory processes is also possible.

Questions about use

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How do I start setting up SAMPLES?

As a rule, it makes the most sense to start with a laboratory process incl. of all master data, etc. in SAMPLES and to refine it over a test period. With the knowledge gained, it is easy to gradually transfer further processes.

The system makes it easy to set up, but you still need time to set it up. No problem! We also offer the setup of your systems as a service. You determine the scope, from start-up assistance to complete set-up, everything is possible.

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Can I import existing data into the LIMS and how does it work?

Yes, in principle you can import existing data in different places. The decisive factor here is the form in which the required data is available. We can support you with this as part of the system setup.

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How can I generate and customize reports?

Once the measurement results have been approved, you can create a report for each order. To do this, you need just one click to automatically generate a PDF report from the stored template and attach it. You can even adjust which data appears in the report during the test.

Questions about the operation

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What operating models are there?

SAMPLES is usually hosted on our Microsoft Azure Cloud. However, if necessary, it can also be rolled out on premise on your servers.

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How does the LIMS secure my data and guarantee data protection?

As part of our quality and IT security management, we place the highest value on the security of your data.

The systems are usually hosted on our Microsoft Azure Cloud and benefit from Microsoft's high security standards. However, if necessary, they can also be rolled out on premise on your servers.

In cloud mode, the data can be stored either in Western Europe (standard hosting) or on servers in Germany (premium hosting).

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What happens if I do not have a connection to the Internet?

SAMPLES is a web application. Data created in SAMPLES is stored online or in your internal network if you opt for the on premise version.

A stable Internet connection is required for cloud operation. We offer an optional offline-capable app for sampling.

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How are updates and upgrades for SAMPLES handled?

SAMPLES is alive and growing. Our development team works daily to add and improve features. Technical updates are provided regularly, and we offer you extended functionality as an optional upgrade.

Services around SAMPLES

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What training options are available?

Sure! In addition to a manual in the app and video tutorials in our media library, we also offer training courses with our service partners. Whether at your premises, at one of our locations or remotely - we will find a suitable solution!

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What kind of technical support is available?

In addition to assistance from our support team, we also offer help for self-help: you can find video tutorials for many work steps in our media library.

Every lab is different.

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