Data Handling

Data handling & laboratory information management systems

Database handling and interactions with databases are key areas in laboratory automation. Often it is easy to generate large amounts of data, but less easy to automate its storage and handling. Overlord provides full integration tools for all common database formats.


Data handling in laboratory automation workcells

Key stages:

  • Receive instructions for sample preparation/analysis from external source
  • Collect data from the automated instruments
  • Archive runtime data
  • Perform data manipulation or reduction to get key results
  • Report key results to external source


Often the data from the analytical step (usually a plate reader) is in a format decided by the instrument manufacturer and usually contains unwanted information. Overlord allows the user to call either a Microsoft Visual Basic Script or Microsoft EXCEL macro to extract the required information and restructure it, ready for integration with the next level of data processing.


The external data source can be a database or a flat file repository. Overlord handles all common data formats with ease.

For data and method input, Overlord can receive information from flat data files or database tables. For data output, Overlord can send information directly to flat data files or database tables.

A flat file is a text file or binary file.  The most common format of which is a comma separated variable or csv file (each line relates to the information of one sample, multiple information per sample is separated by commas, see below).

..... , ..... , .....
..... , ..... , .....
<sample name>,<data point 1>,<data point 2>

Any database that conforms to the Microsoft ODBC standard can be used for input and output with Overlord, these include Oracle, SQL and of course Microsoft Access.

contact for more information about using Overlord with a database


  • Overlord’s enhanced tools for data exchange allow you to work with a wide range of sources
  • Overlord fits in with your system – the existing system does not need to be re-engineered