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Product News: Automata launches the LINQ platform to fully automate workflows and the transport of labware in lab spaces

28 Feb 2023

Automata recently launched LINQ, a new open, integrated laboratory automation platform. The LINQ platform features a laboratory bench, with integrated automation capabilities and accompanying powerful, proprietary lab orchestration software. As a result, labs can easily reduce human touchpoints and increase efficiency and accuracy without needing to dedicate additional lab space to bulky equipment. 

One of the platforms most significant features is its openness, enabling labs to digitally and robotically integrate any number of common automated benchtop instruments, such as liquid handlers and plate readers. This ensures a customer’s pre-existing equipment or preferred instruments are well accommodated.  

The LINQ bench robotically connects instruments using a robot arm and a transport layer, both of which feed labware and consumables throughout the workflow . This set-up helps to increase the throughput of a lab as benchtop instruments can be used at maximum capacity. 

The LINQ bench is also modular, allowing work cells to be configured to suit almost any laboratory interior space including central island formations and corner shapes.  Modularity makes scaling simple, laboratories can simply add additional LINQ benches to their LINQ platform to expand their capabilities. Designed to mirror the size and shape of traditional lab benches, the LINQ bench is a direct replacement which can automate workflows from end-to-end. 

Instruments integrated into LINQ are also connected via the platform’s software. LINQ software is an easy-to-use, intuitive interface that simplifies how experiment workflows are created and visualised. The algorithm works to automatically calculate a schedule of actions to optimise workflows for efficiency and consistency, enabling true walk away time. Teams can design, run and manage multi-step and cross-functional processes within workflows from one centralised application. They can also access audit logs to approve and track changes and monitor overall system status and productivity. It integrates fully with widely used vendors and data management solutions to deliver a unified ecosystem. 

Daniel Siden, Director of Robotics at Automata said, “We have designed the LINQ platform to make scientists’ lives as easy as possible – hence why the bench can be replaced on a one-for-one basis with a traditional bench. We want to support scientists to get the most out of their limited lab space and equipment in a way which is familiar to them and doesn’t require onerous training to be able to use. The LINQ bench efficiently moves lab ware to where it is needed, and automates repetitive tasks like liquid handling, enabling scientists and lab technicians to focus on the science – such as analysing data or designing new workflows. This helps maximise the significant investments made into lab equipment, as well as increase walkaway time for scientists.” 

LINQ is designed to offer open, integrated automation. This means lab technicians can continue to engage closely with the workflows they are familiar with, have hands-on access to equipment and use labware manually where required. Collaborative safety features of the LINQ bench ensure that collisions will not harm laboratory staff, and will not unduly disrupt any running automated workflows. 

Nick Pattinson, VP of Product & Strategy said, “The lab of the future is an automated one, where scientists are free to work on innovative research, while automated systems effectively and efficiently carry out routine tasks. Most automation software and hardware is inaccessible with a steep learning curve, with the LINQ platform, we are excited to bring automation to labs in a way which is accessible, efficient, scalable and reliable. Bulky, inaccessible automations are now a thing of the past: if you have space for a lab bench, you now have space for automation.”