SOURCE: Kalorama Information

August 07, 2008 13:18 ET

For Lab Automation Systems, Being Open Is Better

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - August 7, 2008) - Clinical laboratories meeting the challenges of growing demand for diagnostic tests, reductions in reimbursement rates and a diminishing labor pool will increasingly seek lab automation systems. Manufacturers can expect growth rates of 6% to 9% annually in this market over the next few years, according to a new report from Kalorama Information, 'Lab Automation Markets Worldwide,' and those systems that are open and can best connect to competing platforms will do best.

New technologies based on manufacturing automation have been transforming hospital clinical laboratories and corporate drug development laboratories ever since the Japanese introduced lab robotics and automation in the early 1980s. Ever since, continuous pressure to do more with less has pushed manufacturers to develop ever larger and more costly systems. This approach was not too effective, and manufacturers are approaching the limits of improvements on current technologies.

With increasing demand for more intensive data gathering and comparison, such as for genomics and other advanced studies, technology continues to rely on automated systems. However, the next generation of analyzers must address the size issues by adopting emerging microtechnologies, such as microfluidics that will make it possible to create consumables that are much smaller per test unit.

As the complexity and cost of automation increase, labs are looking for flexibility in their automation solutions. Smaller flexible systems will offer a choice of powerful targeted solutions that provide the greatest advantages without the huge investment that large complete automation systems require.

"Openness is a virtue for lab automation systems," notes Bruce Carlson, publisher of Kalorama. "If you are non-proprietary, scalable and can connect to competing instrument platforms, while offering more testing options, you'll gain a disproportionate share of the market. Equipment makers can't be all things to all labs. Companies that offer cost-effective open systems will do better with labs that can't afford total automation."

Kalorama Information's report 'Lab Automation Markets Worldwide' reviews and analyzes the current and potential world markets for medical laboratory automation systems and equipment -- both for the clinical diagnostics lab and the drub discovery and research lab. For further information visit:

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Kalorama Information supplies the latest in independent market research in the life sciences, as well as a full range of custom research services. Kalorama routinely assists the media with healthcare topics, and can provide experts to speak about markets in the life sciences industry.

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