Implementing an innovative solution at Ketterthill in Luxembourg

22 April 2016

The fourth laboratory in the world to equip itself with this technology, and the first in Luxembourg, Ketterthill, part of the Cerba group, has implemented an innovative, robotic track system, completely integrated with GLIMS version 9. It offers innovation in automated pre-processing, routing and archiving of blood samples.

The decision to implement this equipment was made possible by the relocation of the laboratory to Belval, into a spacious and adapted site. This investment enables the laboratory to improve its productivity by automating low-added-value tasks, and thus improve its responsiveness, to deliver results in a half-day or even a few hours for urgent tests.

The automation also allows a significant improvement in the quality and security of results. And finally, the technical teams and clinical biologists can use the gains in time to refocus on scientific and medical expertise, enabling them to develop new, more complex techniques.

The Ketterthill lab handles:

  • 260,000 blood samples/year   
  • 4,000 tubes/day 
  • 165,500 patients/year     

Analysing blood samples from 70 centres around the country, the clinical biologists, medical laboratory professionals, IT professionals, administrative and logistical staff work across seven key laboratory domains:

  • Haematology
  • Clinical biochemistry
  • Infectious serology
  • Microbiology
  • Molecular biology
  • Fertility
  • Immunopathology

Working together with the Ketterthill project team (consisting of information technology professionals plus key users from the laboratory), the MIPS team set up the test environment, and the two teams jointly validated the GLIMS 9.5 production environment.

Within the MIPS project management, based on the Prince² methodology, the IT infrastructure, configuration, parameterisation, key user training, start up and follow up were all arranged according to the client’s expectations.

Intelligent cars

The system’s ingenuity lies in its concept of intelligent cars circulating on a plastic rail. This makes the system easy to install and maintain, as well as very adaptable to future developments. The flexibility of the track even enables vertical routing of samples in three separate storeys, using a spiral system.

Modules can be added to the track. These modules, with robotic arms, can carry out a range of operations on the tubes: loading, unloading, centrifugation, pausing, etc. Analysers are then necessary for carrying out the actual lab tests.