How An Automated On-Deck Thermocycler Saves Your Lab Time, Part 2: Time Savings Breakdown

In 1 hour a researcher can prep 100 samples or answer 10 emails. But with a lab robot and on-deck thermocycler doing the sample prep, they can do both.

This post is an excerpt from our 10-page "How To Save Time In The Lab With An Automated On-Deck Thermocycler" e-book. Click here to download the e-book.

This seems obvious, but is worth thinking through: what does saving time really mean for a lab?
Figure-2-1
The first type of time saving is a basic one-for-one task completion kind of benefit. If a person can prep 100 samples in an hour, and answer 10 emails in an hour, they need 2 hours to do both tasks. But if they have a robot do the sample prep, they can do both tasks in 1 hour—which is a fairly simple way to double your productivity.

But time savings compounds when you look at longer chunks of time. Let’s say you have 600 samples to prep, at the same rate of 100 samples per hour-long robot run. There is also a six-hour conference you have the opportunity to present at. Can you automate your sample prep and go to the conference?

In theory, sure: 6 hours x 100 samples / hour = 600 samples. But who is going to load and unload the robot? Who is going to set up the automation between runs? You can automate all 6 hours of sample prep, but you can only do it in six one-hour long blocks. So even though you can save yourself six hours of productivity, you can’t go to the conference.
Figure-2-2
What you need (in this example) is a robot that can do all 600 samples in a single run. That way you can hit ‘go’ and come back after presenting at the conference six hours later and have all your lab work done.

The difference between one six-hour block and six one-hour blocks can be the difference between meaningful work and busy work.

Plus, some jobs just require long blocks of uninterrupted time to complete. In the essay Maker’s Schedule, Manager’s Schedule, Paul Graham points out that some creative tasks like writing an essay or programming an algorithm are best completed in this way: two hours is just not enough to focus and make meaningful progress. With only two hours to dedicate to complex tasks like these, you barely have enough time to get in the groove—and, what’s worse, you’re forced to quit once you’ve hit your flow state.

An automated on-deck fully automated thermocycler enables you to have that dedicated, focused time in the lab.

This post is an excerpt from our 10-page "How To Save Time In The Lab With An Automated On-Deck Thermocycler" e-book. Click here to download the e-book.