What is systems integration?
Systems integration is the collecting of a number of pieces of equipment together and making a cohesive automation system with sample processing, sample tracking and data management.
We follow a simple life-cycle documentation process, which we find to be valuable but not time consuming.
What Do You Want To Do?
This is described in the User Requirement Specification (URS) which you will write (with our help if you have never done it before). This document describes what you would like the system to do, examples of sample preparation or analysis methods you would like to use, documentation of a standard operating procedure (if you have one) and any other information we need to understand what you want to do and how you want to do it.
How Would We Do It?
This document describes the equipment and the methods we intend to use to complete your project. This is the Functional Design Specification (FDS), this will include design information relating to the hardware and software components of the system.
How Do We Know We Have Done It?
Once the system is built, we need to know if it meets your requirements, so very early on in the project we will work with you to produce the Factory Acceptance Test (FAT) document. This describes a series of key tests that will be performed on the system prior to shipping to you, to determine if the system reliable, does it perform the method in the correct sequence, etc. You are invited to oversee and sign off these tests. This will be usually done dry or with water.
How Do We Know It Works And We Can Leave It At Your Site For You To Use?
The Site Acceptance Test (SAT) document describes how the full system will work, often repeating the FAT with extra tests with real samples. For smaller systems, the more compact Installation Qualification (IQ) will be performed.
What can PAA offer ?
PAA has been building robots and fully integrated solutions in the USA and the UK since 1989. We can supply anything from individual devices up to complete turnkey systems.
Choosing the right systems integrator is just as important as choosing the right equipment. We also support our 3rd party integrator partners laboratory automation workcell control software including event-driven and time-driven schedulers, all are trained to install and support our products.
We have experience in offering small workcells (such as cost effective plate loading systems for plate readers & washers) to large multi-robot systems than have included a 7m x 5m workcell with 3 pipetting workstations, 4 robots and multiple peripheral laboratory workstations.
PAA have a fully range of laboratory automation workcell control software solutions, scalable to work for small benchtop systems upto the large multi-workcell platforms. Please see the Software section for further details.
Integrator selection criteria
Here are five criteria to consider when evaluating a system integrator that will be responsible for putting together and supporting your system:
- Geographic Location: Your integrator should have offices reasonably close by whenever possible. Ideally, you want to avoid the monetary and time costs of needing to get on an airplane. PAA offer integration services in USA (for Canada, North America and Central America), Europe and and the UK, with a distributors working with us in a number of other regions across the world.
- Equipment Experience: Your integrator should have direct experience with the anticipated equipment to be used in the system. All our staff and integration partners have completed our product support training.
- Process Familiarity: Your integrator should be familiar with the type of process that you want to automate. If you need help with the biology, biochemistry or chemistry in your system, then you will want some expertise to help develop and prove out any unknowns. PAA have degree and postgraduate qualified staff in the biological and chemical sciences as well as mechanical, electronic and electrical engineering.
- Engineering: Almost every automated system has unique requirements that set it apart from all others. Make sure your integrator has in-house engineering capabilities to address any special needs of your system. PAA have built workcells for a wide range of different sized workcells and well as for a complete range of customer requirements (biochemistry, domestic & personal care products, petrochemicals, pharmaceuticals).
- Support: Regardless of what we’d like to think, every automated system will need ongoing support. Too often overlooked, but important considerations include rapid service time and long-term stability of the integrator. PAA usually respond the same day for all issues, with solutions within 48 hours depending on the problem.
PAA can get you to the position where you can confidently place an order, quickly, with the minimum cost by providing a professional design study.
- Reduce the cost of the final system, the requirement for contingency is greatly reduced
- Avoid getting a system that fails to fully meet your requirements
- Get the most cost effective system performance
- When you come to place your order for the system you will get improved delivery times, as the design work is already done
In case after case, money is saved and systems are delivered quicker and more reliably if investment is made at the design phase.
Invariably each work cell has a unique set of user requirements. As with buying any other complex bespoke system the risk factors are high. Design and careful selection of components are critical in achieving the performance that you require.
A PAA design study addresses: user requirement specification, enclosure system design, safety systems (interlocks/screens/light curtains), sample tracking, the use of barcodes, selection of robotic arms, 3D modeling of robot reach envelope, grippers, stacks, racks, instruments, scheduling software, the development of instrument drivers (not found in existing libraries), interfacing to LIMS or database, estimation of achievable throughput and provides a detailed costing.
PAA has ten years of experience designing and delivering small, medium and large automation works cells (hardware and software).
If you are considering an automation project, of any size project look for more details about our consultancy service lab automation consultancy service or contact us now
PAA systems integration & project management
We offer a fully professional system integration service. Our aim is supply you with the system you require. Initial drafted and approved on a CAD simulation of your system, once approved, the design will become a reality.
Unlike most suppliers, we offer the system that is tailored to your needs. We will integrate ANY piece of equipment into your system, not just those pieces of equipment that we manufacture. We are happy to advise on any aspect of the system as we have installed most pieces of equipment on the market.
Please contact us if you have a project that you would like to discuss and develop.
End user integration
If you want to put together your own integrated system then you should have your own internal engineering group that can define the process and specify the equipment and software, layout the system (3D CAD), assemble it, program it, make everything work together, and then support it. Make sure that your engineering group will remain intact during the years to come and that the system will be fully documented so that future technicians can support it.
If this all sounds realistic, then we would be happy to work directly with you. You might want to consider starting with our range of automation workcells.
Unlike most suppliers, we offer full data handling facilities with all our systems, with any data manipulation completed without user interaction, see how we can do it for you
Unlike most suppliers, we offer full interaction with YOUR database or LIMS system, see how we can do it for you
User Requirement Specification URS Document
If you tell us what you want to do, we are more likely to deliver it the first time. We can help you write this.
Functional Design Specification FDS Document
If we tell you what we are going to do, you are more likely to spot our knowledge gaps in your process.
Hardware Design Specification HDS Document
Detailed description of teh Hardware to be supplied for a larger project.
Software Design Specification SDS Document
Detailed description of teh Hardware to be supplied for a larger project.
Factory Acceptance Tests FAT Document
If we test it to your satisfaction before it leaves us, we will spend a minimum of time disturbing your lab on installation.
Site Acceptance Tests SAT Document
If we complete what you asked for, the project is complete.
Installation Qualification IQ Document
A more compact process for system approval for use.