Optimizing laboratory sample transport - Interview with Christopher Kranz
In laboratory logistics, it is important that samples reach their destination safely and quickly for analysis. At the same time, high hygiene standards must be maintained, and transports must be gentle so as not to falsify laboratory results.
In an interview, Christopher Kranz, Head of Solutions Management, reports on how Telelift laboratory solutions can support logistics processes in laboratories.
Mr. Kranz, what makes the laboratory market so interesting for Telelift?
Basically there are a number of factors that motivate Telelift to intensively deal with logistics solutions for laboratories. First of all it is important to mention that the transport of laboratory samples is not a new field of application for our systems. Currently, and also for decades, thousands of samples are reliably transported to laboratories worldwide by our transport trolleys every day. These are primarily in-house transports in hospitals but there are also several reference applications in central laboratories - both in human and veterinary medicine.
So we already know that we can make an outstanding contribution to safe, efficient and reliable sample logistics with our system. And this, of course, not only in the medical field, but in all fields of laboratory analytics, such as the food industry or other, manufacturing industries.
Both newly developed analytical methods and efficiency improvements in existing procedures are resulting in steadily increasing volumes in laboratory analysis - and thus also a steadily increasing volume of necessary sample transports.
In addition current developments such as tailor-made medications, which require corresponding examinations to determine the actual condition, as well as the increasing centralization of laboratories as regional service providers for the largest possible user groups, contribute to the fact that we see an important and growing field of application for our systems in laboratory logistics.
Christopher Kranz, Head of Solutions Management
What do these developments mean for sample transport and laboratory logistics?
The developments described lead to a permanently growing demand for the transport of laboratory samples. At the same time, this transport must be as efficient as possible in order to make new analytical methods accessible to many users - especially patients, of course.
On the one hand, this increase in efficiency is achieved by centralizing laboratories - i.e., several users, e.g. GP practices, share resources by using the services of central laboratories. On the other hand the automation of laboratories is a very important and crucial component for increasing efficiency in this context. The trend towards automated laboratory lines in analytics has already become apparent in recent years.
The increasing shortage of skilled workers is accelerating this development even further.
How can the Telelift laboratory solution help?
Our contribution to increasing efficiency in the laboratory is a crucial stage in sample logistics. Almost every one of us has probably encountered the situation of needing a laboratory test at some point in the past few years in the context of the pandemic. The collected samples are couriered from the family doctor's office to a laboratory where the analysis, e.g. the PCR test, is performed. And it is exactly there - namely at the front door of the laboratory - that the link in the logistics chain in which we can make not only an efficient, since automated, but also a reliable and safe contribution, begins,
After receipt of the samples, depending on the system used, they can be transported individually, loose, as a bulk delivery in bags or pouches or even palletized in racks by means of our transport trolleys directly to the point of need - usually the start of the analysis. If desired this can be done with the corresponding data acquisition - the keywords being digitization and traceability.
The transport itself can take place over long or short distances and, as typical for our systems, horizontally and vertically and thus over several floors and through entire building tracts. The rails for the transport trolleys are usually suspended from the ceiling and are only brought down to operator height at the points of need for loading and unloading in order to achieve the smallest possible footprint for the conveyor technology and to save mostly expensive floor space.
That sounds very exciting. What other scenarios are conceivable for sample transport in the future?
We are currently working intensively on further ways to increase the benefits and efficiency for our customers. One key aspect is increasing the degree of automation through the possibility of automatic loading and unloading of laboratory samples with the option of distributing samples to several target destination within the laboratory or building. Based on this innovative approach, we significantly contributed to the degree of automation in several applications, such as libraries with automated return, sorting and transportation of books with our UniSortCars.
Another important field for further developments are interfaces – in both manners: physical and communication interfaces to neighboring systems - e.g. automated laboratory diagnostics or software interfaces (LIMS).
Thank you very much Mr. Kranz for this interesting interview!