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Specification and production of prototype automatic instrumentation

Journal of Automatic Chemistry
Hindawi Publishing Corporation
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1155/s1463924679000237
  • Research Article
  • Chemistry
  • Design


Specification and production of prototype automatic instrumentation J. E. Carlyle Department ofBiochemistry, Gartnavel General Hospital, Glasgow, G12 OYN. Introduction In many laboratories staff salaries and overheads represent more than 70-/0 of the total laboratory costs. The advent of automatic chemical analysis has permitted laboratories to accommodate large increases in workloads without proportional increases in staff numbers. In addition, levels of inaccuracy and imprecision are more easily standardiscd on automatic systems than on labour intensive manual methods. The needs of chemical laboratories vary enormously. Certain tests are requested in large numbers and require a rapid ’turn- round These tests arc generally carried out on multi-channel analysers of high capacity, e.g. 300 samples per hour, and each ’channel’ of the instrument is dedicated to the analysis of a single sample constituent. Other tests, of lower volume and priority, are processed on single channel instruments which may be converted to carry out different tests during a working period. Prototype instrumentation Manufacturing industries have successfully identified the needs of the clinical, university and other laboratories, and have generally provided the instruments required. Many commercial instruments today however are develop- ments of prototype units produced by users in individual labora- tories. These have either been developed as a research project or in response to a laboratory’s needs to accommodate routine requests. The design and production of prototype automatic instru- ments is a complex project involving a range of expertise. It is generally only necessary when a suitable instrument is not commercially available or if available instrumentation cannot be readily modified to meet the user’s requirements. These situations will arise when new separating or measuring techniques are developed, for example ion selective electrodes, or when a number of new features or developments of an existing system are not

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