• Examples of LAS Design
  • LAS Short Tour
  • Presentations

LAS Short Tour

LAS (Laboratory Automation System) is realized and sustained by the techniques of many pioneers. We will focus on LAS using Sample Transportation System and trace its history and technological trends in this cyberspace. If you find any links interesting, select it and jump to that page. You will find more interesting information or knowledge.

I. History

Here are some institutions that are milestones in the history of LAS. The links will take you to English sites.

Kochi Medical School (1981-)

The laboratory system of Kochi Medical School (so called the “Belt-Line System”) was the first attempt in the world to the Integrated Automation System that connects analyzers by a transportation system combined with LIS (Laboratory Information System).
More information can be found in our Lab. Report.

University of Virginia (1986-)

They have installed the first robotic system. Established MARC (Development Center) to further investigate LAS construction.
More information can be found in MARC.

Akita University (1989-)

Developed and constructed the system with the cooperation of Hitachi. The trial of automatic aliquot system or auto-rerun system by loop backed sample could be seen. The current second generation system has been running since 1999.

Taiwan University (b.w. 1989 and 1992-)

One of the first overseas user of Hitachi’s LAS.

Saga Medical School (1990-)

The system was developed and constructed with Hitachi. The multi-joint robot connected transportation system and analyzers. Currently, their renewal plan is proceeding.

Tokyo University (1992-)

One of the outstanding systems in the large scale Laboratory Automation Systems by IDS. Currently, the next generation system with new attempts is running. You could see some new trials such as linked transportation lines by in-yard trailer or transportation line for blood collection section. Some information can be acquired from HERE. (personal website of Mr. Sugioka from Tokyo University Laboratory)

Osaka City University (1993-)

One of Hitachi’s big systems similar to that of Osaka University installed around the same time. It has been renewed in 2000.

Kobe University (1994-)

The system was constructed with IDS. It represents the 1P rack type transportation system.
(1P rack type: Samples are sent one by one. There are also other types where 5P-10P are sent together.)

Hamamatsu University School of Medical (1995-)

Constructed in the name of “Shuttle System”.

Kagoshima University (1995-)

The system was developed and constructed with A&T. New trials could be seen as follows: One-line Multi-fields-and-items test, using several single-multi analyzers as main, real-time reversing-transportation-rerun test and so forth. The outline can be seen HERE or in another content of ours.

Mie University (1996-)

Another typical 1P rack type large-scale system by Toshiba. A relatively small-scale system of the same system from the same period is implemented at Miyagi Cancer Center.

Showa University (1997-)

Our representative large-scale system developed and constructed with the laboratory staff centered around Professor Gomi. The system focuses on ROI and constructed with Hitachi, Toshiba, and A&T biochemistry automated analyzers. Even as a large-scale laboratory with over 3,000 outpatients and 1,000 beds, they realized prompt pre-consulting testing service with an unconventional small group of staff and integrated routine testing and emergency rapid testing. A unique LAS at a private facility where investment efficiency is critical.

Beth Israel Medical Center (1997-)

A large-scale system by IDS.

Leiden University Medical Center (1997-)

The first European user of Hitachi’s LAS.

Samsung Medical Center

Laboratory with a large-scale system by IDS which also has the world’s top level equipment and facilities.

South Bend Medical Foundation

The first North American user of Hitachi’s LAS.

II. Manufacturers / Integrators

In the current situation, Japan stands in the center of the development of LAS with many companies in the competitive market. Yet, many companies have entered the market with the growth of the US and European market.

Please note that information of company introductions below may not apply for overseas due to the information being translated from domestic information. Please check for details at each company’s website.


Please visit our other pages. Products (Reagent / Analyzer / LIS / LAS) and our company concepts and newest information are introduced.

Hitachi High-Technologies

The former companies are Nissei Sangyo, and Instruments Group and Semiconductor Manufacturing Equipment Group of Hitachi. In addition to transportation systems, mainly biochemical, the organization offers continuous service from development, sales to after service of semiconductor manufacturing equipment in the nanotechnology field. Their system is sold by Roche Diagnostics overseas.


It is one of oldest manufacturers of transportation system known for their top installation record of 1P rack type system. Beckman-Coulter is the overseas distributor.


With the No.1 installation record of hematology systems, their number of sales and distribution is No.1 in the world without the classification of clinical chemistry and hematology.


Their transportation system is centered on their own clinical analyzers. They were the first to adopt the 5P rack type LAS. You can find information on analyzers and transportation system on their website.

Matsushita Electric Industrial /Panasonic

Domestically, they are one of the two manufacturers (IDS the other) with 1P rack type system. The centrifuge that uses the same auto balancing principle as spin-dryer is excellent. You can find information on the system on TOSHIBA MEDICAL SYSTEMS CORPORATION’s website (Japanese only).

Hitachi Aloka

They focus on the preparation system with aliquot unit. Other manufacturers adopt their aliquot system for their transportation system. You can find information on their preparation system and others on their website.

MARC (Medical Automation Research Center)

A development center in collaboration with Virginia University. You can see the example of IDS’s system and Axsym connected by a robot on their website. The design aid software for the system is valuable to see.


They have two systems since the merger of Beckman Instruments Inc. and Coulter Corporation: one is AccelNet from Beckman Instruments and the OEM product of IDS from Coulter.

Abbott Laboratories

They placed a new Architect series that connects immunology analyzer, ARCHITECT and Toshiba’s subtype clinical chemistry analyzer by an exclusive transportation instrument on the market. Unfortunately there is no information on the transportation system on their website.

Roche Diagnostics

Hitachi’s distributor in the US and Europe. You can find 7600 type clinical chemistry analyzers based on modular concept and Modular System with ECLusys and Hitachi’s conventional transportation system (CLAS) on their website.


In cooperation with JEOL they distribute clinical chemistry analyzers manufactured by JEOL and started selling transportation systems with this analyzer. ADVIA’s exclusive website offers information on the automation system, Lab Cell.

Thermo Labsystems

European manufacturer of automation system by full-scale transportation system.

PVT Probenverteiltechnik

German manufacturer of preparation system which provides consulting support in cooperation with Roche Diagnostics in sorting systems.

III. Standardization

Standardization of specifications in various areas is necessary for the further development of LAS. Proceeding ahead, Committee of Analytical Systems of JSCC took lead in standardizing LAS related specifications in Japan. Recently, by the organization for standardization in the US NCCLS began standardizing operations in cooperation with other countries, global standard is beginning to organize.

Standardization Bodies

Committee of Analytical Systems of JSCC

Involved in NCCLS activity for over 20 years and contributed to the making of 5 standards and POCT data related to automation.

JAHIS: Japanese Association of Healthcare Information Systems Industry

Attempting on the technical improvement, quality and safety security, and promotion of standardization related to healthcare information systems.

CLSI (former NCCLS): Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute

Standardization organization of clinical chemistry recognized worldwide. They promote the development and announcement of standards, guidelines and the optimal testing methods.

HL7: Health Level Seven

Organization working on promoting and implementing international standard rules for exchanging information within medical information systems.

ASTM: American Society for Testing and Materials

A standardization organization for industrial materials and their testing methods in the US. The authority in world standards.

IEEE: The Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers

Organization active in electronic and information science technology related standardization as well as coverage in broad areas.

IV. Conference / Symposium

As LAS is regarded as the necessary strategic tool for advanced laboratories, conferences and academic meetings on LAS are held all over the world. JSCLA (Japan Society for Clinical Laboratory Automation) of Japan and AACC (American Association for Clinical Chemistry) and CLMA (Clinical Laboratory Management Association) Meeting of USA are the major conferences where presentations and discussions on LAS are held but there are also smaller scale and more LAS specialized conferences or symposiums which are listed below.

Waterfront Conference

4 LAS pioneer laboratories in Japan (Akita University, Hamamatsu Medical School, Kochi Medical School and Saga Medical School) have been holding this dedicated conference specializing in LAS. Recently in addition to LAS, studies for future automation and systematization have started.

Cherry Blossom Symposium

An international symposium for LAS held in the Japan, the leading country in laboratory automation system. In addition to LAS, TAS (Micro Total Analysis Systems) and Lab on a chip (Micro chip analysis) have been added to the theme of the symposium starting the second conference. With simultaneous interpretation provided, a full-scale exchange of information for the development of LAS between Japan and the world takes place.
To the Latest Symposium

Laboratory Automation 2003 – Customizing Solution That Work

Conference specializing in automated systems sponsored by The American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC) is in its fifth year. Dr. Felder from Virginia University and Keynote Presentation by the opinion leader from North America as well as anecdotal reports by vendors were presented. Although behind the trend in Japan, automated system has been focused on in North America recently in view of the lack of workers.

LabAutomation ‘XI

The specialized conference dedicated to LAS and TAS held annually in January by The Association for Laboratory Automation (ALA) in the U.S. With the spread of LAS in North America, the number of participants from Japan for information exchange is growing. The conference topics are High Throughput Screening in the medical development field along with LAS in hospital laboratories and the prospective next generation μTAS.
LA2006 in Palm Springs, CA : Jan. 21-25, 2006