Excerpt from wikipedia (translated from german entry):
Laboratory automation is a special field of automation technology. It deals with the automation of laboratory processes in chemistry, biotechnology, pharmaceutical and food technology as well as in medicine.
Today, the term laboratory automation spans a broad field in the chemical, biotechnical and food and beverage industries and is no longer unique. The devices and programs for laboratory automation differ considerably depending on whether they are used for the automation of a laboratory process, e.g. a laboratory reactor system, or for the automation of an analytical laboratory. Accordingly, laboratory automation providers have generally specialized in the fields of synthesis or analytics.
Many work processes in a modern laboratory can be performed by computer-aided laboratory automation systems. This includes the automatic execution of all types of measurements (with the aid of suitable sensors and analyzers), the control of actuators (pumps, valves, robots, etc.), the automatic keeping of the laboratory journal as well as the filtering, evaluation and presentation of information from databases. To get a computer to perform the necessary operations automatically, simple yet powerful and versatile programming languages are required. Standard programming languages such as Basic, C or Delphi are poorly suited for these tasks because they lack the important features of time-dependent commands for implementing time-controlled processes and multitasking capability. Normal automation languages are suitable in principle, but are too complicated to use for normal laboratory users.
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