Instrument Interface should be considered an essential part of a laboratories on-going goal of increasing compliance and efficiency. No longer will there be the thought of transcription errors, fears of data manipulation, and the time spent printing report and pasting them into notebooks. Understanding the demands of instrument interface are important, and as the benefits far exceed the effort, lab personnel will want to know how to navigate through the process of using their data repository (ELN/LIMS) to interface with instruments.
These kinds of processes can be improved by switching to an ELN/LIMS, which offers a number of benefits:
Instruments such as balances or pH meters often produce discrete measurements without automated sample introduction. This requires scientists to introduce the measurement target and instruct the instrument to obtain a measurement. SciCord can facilitate this process with pre-configured instrument resources and data extraction to link results to samples.
Instruments requiring a real-time connection can be handled in any of the following ways:
Older, simpler instruments may require being connected to a networked printer to produce any output. SciCord can act as a “virtual printer” to obtain this output and record it appropriately.
Application controlled, relatively high throughput instruments such as Moisture Meters or Chromatography often require manufacturer or third party software to run (such as Empower™). SciCord can then interface with this third party software to retrieve the data and further process it or link it to samples.
Many instruments are capable of generating an electronic file documenting either a single measurement or a sequence of measurements. The files often contain instrument parameters and may also contain the context of the measurement.
Some instruments can regularly report one or measurements over time.
Instrument output can be parsed from an output string or file.