Automation Scheduling Software: Determining What Solution is Right for Your Lab

February 24, 2021

Over the last 30 years, laboratory automation software has advanced from a sequential batch process software to controlling a handful of instruments through solutions that can optimally schedule workflows, including multiple robotic components and vast amounts of data. But one common theme has remained – automation it’s intimidating.

Even though automation is easier to use in today’s environment, it certainly isn’t “simple.” The complexity of lab workflows has increased, and some automation builds are so expansive they cover the whole floor of a building.

So, how do laboratory personnel determine what automation software is the right fit for each individual lab? Before implementing software into the lab, assess its suitability:

  • Is it scalable, flexible or even changeable with different workflows?
  • Does it integrate with upstream and downstream data?
  • What instruments and data drivers are available?
  • Are there scripting capabilities and error recovery features?

What differentiates the software solutions available today is the abstraction level they operate at, including the user interface and the scheduler type used to automate workflow processes.

The abstraction level is how a workflow is defined with the scheduler. In some cases, this is relatively high, where the user simply maps out the flow of labware and data to perform a specific workflow. With other software packages, the workflow description is defined at a much lower level using pseudo-code where programming constructs, such as loops and decision trees, automate the process. The pros and cons of each approach are, in essence, the balance between flexibility and simplicity.

Biosero’s Green Button Go™ Automation Scheduling Software works with a wide variety of workflows to integrate manual processes, capture and contextualize data and automate instruments. The software operates at a high abstraction level, making it simple to automate multi-plate processes with several incubations. However, it also provides a lower level of control for workflow modifications or specific operations and functionality.

Green Button Go software works effectively as an event-driven scheduler with features that allow users to dictate how and when labware moves through the workcell process. It runs static schedules, ideal for kinetic assays, and enables multiple schedules to interweave and run simultaneously.

Talk to an automation expert to learn how Green Button Go software caters to a variety of users to create end-to-end workflows that multiply productivity in the lab.