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Importance of Automation In Streamlining Laboratory Workflows

   January 17, 2024

There has been an increase in the use of automated laboratory instruments in recent times. This rise was mainly due to increasing pharmaceutical R&D expenditure, increasing prevalence of chronic and infectious diseases, and the growing preference for automation among laboratories. This growing preference is majorly due to its ability to manage complex tests and workflows, replace manual and repetitive tasks, increase throughput and improve quality. This article explores the benefits of using lab automation in large and small-scaled laboratories in order to streamline workflows, increase the number of samples tested at once, and reduce any kinds of manual errors.

Benefits of Laboratory Automation

Automated laboratories are equipped with advanced systems and technologies that streamline various laboratory processes. Automation in laboratory instruments increases the capacity of the laboratories in terms of processing samples by reducing manual processing and increasing accuracy. Laboratory automation makes use of robotics, computers, and software. A combination of robotics, sensors, and software leads to the development of automated systems that perform many pre-analytical tasks, from storing and labeling, to transporting and centrifuging, ready for sample transferal into the analytical phase.

The laboratories have been facing a struggle with staff shortages, which leads to decreased quality of care and efficiency. This leads to existing employees conducting cross-trainings in other disciplines of the laboratory in order to improve flexibility and efficiency and take on additional duties such as overseeing safety, quality and managing errors as well. For instance, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of laboratory technicians or technologists is expected to grow by 5% from 2022 to 2032, with around 24,000 openings of jobs each year.

The introduction of laboratory automation can significantly improve the capabilities of laboratories to provide improved and faster results and increased screening, leading to significant improvement in patient care and also providing employment opportunities to people with the essential qualifications and requirements.  

The growth of the lab automation market is attributed to the rising prevalence of chronic and infectious diseases, increasing pharmaceutical R&D expenditure, and the growing demand for automated labs and instruments.

High Growth Potential in Emerging Economies

Initially, laboratory automation was not prevalent in emerging economies or developing countries such as India, China, and Brazil, among others. However, technological advancements and globalization in developing countries have led to the adoption of laboratory automation technologies in certain Asian countries. For instance, pharmaceutical companies in India are adopting lab automation technologies in order to enhance R&D, manufacturing, and regulatory compliance. It will also improve working safety conditions and enhance product quality and consistency.

In countries such as Africa, employee turnover is high due to the migration of experienced staff to either European or American countries for better opportunities. This is a major reason for countries like Africa to shift to laboratory automation, which requires fewer professionals to oversee the instruments and procedures. For instance, in March 2022, Hersol Manufacturing Laboratories (South Africa) added a fully automated microbiological testing system called the CertaBlue System that completes assays in reduced time as compared to the time required while doing this manually, and therefore, improving the speed, efficiency, and turnaround time to market the products to customers.

Advancing Lab Automation Through New Technologies

Initially, when laboratory automation was introduced in the 1870s to automatically wash filtration residues on filter paper, the automated instruments were designed and constructed by certain end users due to the shortage of electrical components required to build these automated lab instruments. But this situation gradually progressed leading to the introduction of automated clinical chemistry analyzers in the 1950s. After the launch of this instrument, the lab automation market has grown rapidly with the introduction of several other automated instruments, such as automated liquid handling systems, automated clinical chemistry analyzers, automated immunoassay analyzers, and automated storage and retrieval systems, among others.

In recent times, the inclusions of various technologies in lab automation have been introduced with the latest technologies being artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). These solutions provide better data handling, decision-making, and more efficient operations. For instance, Synthace Ltd. (U.K.) introduced a cloud-based platform called Antha that provides the automation of design of experiments, to optimize biological processes and assays. This platform analyses historical data from previous experiments and prepares trial experiments to improve efficiency and outcomes, such as optimal concentrations of reagents and reduced incubation times, which eventually lead to precise and cost-effective experiments.

Unlocking Lab Automation: Insights from Lab Automation Market Analysis

Recent insights from Meticulous Research® provide valuable perspectives on the future trajectory of the Lab Automation Market. Projections suggest a potential worth of $11.31 billion by 2031, driven by a remarkable Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 7.3% from 2024 to 2031.

Significant trends are emerging due to the ongoing evolution of the lab automation market. In 2024, the technologies being used for lab automation have emerged as an important aspect, propelled by the increasing prevalence of chronic and infectious diseases and increasing pharmaceutical and biotech R&D expenditure.

As the global landscape takes shape, the North American region is expected to hold a substantial market share in 2024. Notably, influential industry players, including Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. (U.S.), Abbott Laboratories (U.S.), Danaher Corporation (U.S.), Hamilton Company (U.S.), and Siemens Healthineers AG (Germany), have established a broad presence across various regions, leading to the widespread adoption of lab automation worldwide. In essence, this comprehensive overview from Meticulous Research serves as a gateway into the lab automation market.


The growing demand for automated labs and instruments and the increasing pharmaceutical and biotech R&D expenditure have led to an increase in the adoption of lab automation across several countries. Additionally, the technological advancements happening in this field, such as the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning to optimize workflows, the compact sizes of automated instruments, government initiatives, and the launches of new automated laboratories, are making it more significant and recognized.

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