SoftLinx lab automation software is designed to let anyone who can make a flowchart develop a SoftLinx protocol. SoftLinx uses a drag-and-drop flowchart approach to define every movement of every microplate and every instrument action during the protocol.
SoftLinx is a multitasking application capable of dynamic scheduling. It makes the programming and operation of lab automation workcells easy for lab personnel, yet flexible enough for extensive custom modification by programmers.
Users can run multiple batches in different stages of a process at the same time or run any instrument individually while executing another, fully-automated run.
SoftLinx automation software turns even large, integrated systems into combinations of small workcells, mixed and matched whatever way the user may need to use them. SoftLinx’s large library of optional software interfaces for controlling third-party instruments are written in Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) script. Users can even write their own, custom interfaces.
SoftLinx allows users to start and run additional methods, even while others are already running, and even using the same instruments.
SoftLinx allows users to:
- Develop Complete Assay Protocols – Define the timing and detailed parameters of each dispense, wash, shake, plate movement, incubation, etc.
- Add individual steps from a library of instrument functions – Each instrument’s interface provides a method object for every available function.
- Add instruments as needed
- Simulate unavailable instrumentation
- Design processes that change dynamically based on results – A further level of flexibility
- Develop and insert user-defined functions with Visual Basic for Applications, giving any SoftLinx protocol access to, literally, any function available to the user’s computer
Protocol Editor allows the user to generate a flow diagram, including all of the process steps desired for this workcell. The user simply drags an icon depicting the desired process step into the flow diagram and enters all parameters associated with the operation identified by that instrument’s device driver, called a “plug-in”. When the protocol design is complete, the user can save the protocol, assign labware input, and then save, or start the protocol using the Run Module.
The Plug-In Manager is used to load, develop or modify instrument interface drivers (called “plug-ins”) that will be used in the automated workcell. The user can also monitor the exact lines of program code that make up the plug-in while it is executing. Each plug-in controls a specific instrument, either a Hudson instrument or a third-party device. Plug-ins are written in Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) and their complete program code is accessible to the user.
The Run Module controls execution of every step in a SoftLinx protocol, and dynamically schedules each instrument’s operation. It allows the user to start and stop multiple protocols that can be run in parallel, and provides the user interface, error reporting and real-time control of the entire workcell.
Data Tracking and Handling
SoftLinx allows the user to setup links to any in-hous LIMS system, and to read/write to Oracle, SQLServer, Access, or any common relational database table. SoftLinx automatically records and stores every step executed by the workcell in its own event log SQL Server database as well.
Instrument Device Drivers (Plug-Ins)
SoftLinx has nearly 200 pre-tested instrument interfaces that just “plug in” to your SoftLinx application. Developing a plug-in driver for a new instrument usually takes only a few days, and is routinely done by Hudson‘s software team.