PlateButler® Technology in Action
Laboratory automation Lab Services

Written by Ferry de VugtCTO

Breda, 1 August 2019
After 27 years of Lab Services, our PlateButler® technology has developed into the strongest and smartest technology on the market.

I am often asked to explain the ins and outs of scheduling software. Although this is a perfectly understandable question, I generally point out that the key to the solution lies elsewhere. Features are not the answer.

At Lab Services, we receive hundreds of User Requirement Specifications (URS) from customers. A quick scan tells us that the same specifications are often requested. You could interpret this as meaning that everybody wants a similar type of platform, however nothing could be further from the truth. At Lab Services, each URS is analysed independently by several technical disciplines. This is a conscious choice to ensure an “out-of-the-box” helicopter view. It has the advantage of ruling out a “Been there, done that” mentality as the default position. This approach often results in the “Holy Grail” for the platform in question.

Obviously, the scheduling software is the most important element, but more is required to offer the market the highest possible level of performance. Because Lab Services operates independently, we are always able to choose the ideal tool in the platform, in accordance with the customer’s requirements. That combination - independence together with scheduling software - is the prime ingredient for achieving the highest possible level of performance. But how do you demonstrate this? Lab Services can simulate reality in various ways. The results help us fine-tune the product to achieve that ultimate goal, in collaboration with the user.

These days, this type of platform is expected to have a service life of 10 -15 years or more. However, technologies and ideas change constantly in an R&D environment. So adaptations and changes to the platform and methods are required on a regular basis. Through the dynamics of these changes and optimisation interventions, we ensure that a platform continues to meet the needs of the group of users. Obviously, new technologies do not mean the end of the platform. Developing a platform with future changes in mind ensures that both the platform and the users always remain up-to-date. Flexibility in the broadest sense of the word is essential in this respect.

Which explains why the PlateButler® dynamic schedule offers such a high degree of flexibility. Our application specialists use that flexibility to achieve the ultimate limits in the URS specification envelope and create the basic prerequisites for a long and successful system life.