Our mission is to establish international standards
which create open connectivity in lab automation
- We create interoperability, flexibility and resource optimization based on standardized communication protocols and content specifications.
- We promote open standards to allow integration and exchange of intelligent systems in a cost effective way.
- At the same time we foster technical progress extending the common set of commands by vendor specific functions.
- The “Lab of the Future” will reuse and exchange instruments to support innovation and deliver increased productivity.
The SiLA consortium for Standardization in Lab Automation develops and introduces new interface and data management standards allowing rapid integration of lab automation systems. SiLA is a not-for-profit membership corporation with a global footprint and is open to institutions, corporations and individuals active in the life science lab automation industry. Leading system manufacturers, software suppliers, system integrators and Pharma/Biotech corporations have joined the SiLA consortium and contribute in different technical work groups with their highly skilled experts.
Benefits of SiLA Standards to suppliers, intergrators and users
Designing an integrated lab automation system necessarily means making choices. Steps have been taken to allow more modularity, i.e. devices can be swapped into and out of an integrated system with minimal disruption, however this is typically limited to one manufacturer. In order to achieve true “plug-and-play” automation, regardless of integrator, a set of industry wide standards should be adopted.
The SiLA (Standards in Laboratory Automation) Consortium exists for this purpose
A precedent for this is in the SBS (now SLAS) standard for microtiter plates which allowed researchers to choose which plates to use based on utility and price without concern that the plates would be compatible with their instrumentation. SiLA attempts to do the same for device and data interfaces, allowing the researcher to choose solutions based on the best functional fit, without concern as to whether they will work seamlessly in their system.
Challenges in Lab Automation
Pharma companies and academic research institutions are under growing pressure to increase the return on their R&D investments. They require flexible automation systems that adapt easily to new applications. Users request to rapidly accommodate innovations provided by instrument suppliers on their systems, regardless of the vendor.
However, due to the lack of compatibility, automation users are restricted in choosing specific instruments. Adapting existing hardware and software to new workflows is difficult and time consuming. As a consequence, only few specialized labs are able to manage complex automation systems. This will change with SiLA!