Together for the journey

20+ years, 3 robots, 6 million samples - discover how our friends at IDS have benefited from Labman's technologies and continuity of support to tackle their ever-growing order requirements for Vitamin D immuno capsules.
10 min read
Featuring comments from
Iva BernardiHead of Production
Woman wearing white lab coat having a conversation with a man wearing a white lab coat. They are stood behind a Labman robotic system and can be seen through the glass
IDS, a global leader for in-vitro diagnostic solutions grappled with the manual filling and capping of Immunocapsules, facing issues such as excessive technician time, handling complexities, and a mounting workload due to the success of their products.
Collaborating with Labman over a period of more than 20 years, IDS implemented several interations of automated filling and capping systems to address the challenges, enabling 24-hour operations, and addressing health concerns related to handling small Immunocapsules.
Labman's solutions revolutionized IDS's production capabilities, elevating processing volumes from a few thousand to almost 72,000 capsules per week. The latest iteration of the Labman technology, demands barely any hands-on time, surpassing IDS's expectations in terms of efficiency and automation.


capsules per weekThe latest iteration of the Labman technology surpasses IDS’s expectations for efficiency.


operator hours required per week.Huge operational savings compared with manual operation.


IDS are a global leader in the manufacture of a number of manual immunoassays and automated immunoanalyser technologies to provide improved diagnostic outcomes for patients. In 2003 they approached Labman to develop an automated filling and capping system to become the primary method of manufacture for Immunocapsules. Since this first system was introduced, IDS have returned to Labman twice to provide 2 further systems, each iterating on the previous to allow them to meet the significant demand for their products.

Using automation to keep up with demand

Before the first system was introduced, IDS were filling capsules by hand, relying on regular goodwill and overtime, often in groups of 6-8 staff each Saturday to keep up with demand. They were producing a few thousand capsules each week. After the installation of their latest system, Iva’s team can process almost 72,000 capsules per week. During it’s lifetime, the system has enabled processing of more than ten times the number of capsules compared with manual operation, and cost less than a single technician. It can of course operate consistently 24 hours a day.

"What the first machine did in a week, the next machine did in a day. And likewise for version three"
Iva BernardiHead of Production, IDS

And it wasn’t just the throughput which improved IDS’ process. Capsules were packed in foam trays which threw up a challenge for both manual and automated handling. During development of the third version of the system, Iva changed the foam trays to a more robust, cardboard solution, however this tray required assembly. The Labman team were able to automate this step in-run, which kept the process streamlined and productivity was not affected.

Confidence in a stable, dependable business

IDS took their first step into automation in 2002 and partnered with Labman to provide a solution. Since then, they have replaced the robot twice to meet a specification for higher throughput each time. All three capsule fillers were designed, supplied, installed and supported by Labman. What is perhaps more remarkable is the fact that the project leader remained the same throughout. Iva and Labman’s Tony Cumpson worked together on all three systems and IDS are still benefitting from that ongoing relationship, knowledge and learning together.

"Labman always confidently interpreted our requirements and we worked together to make them a reality in an agreed timeline. Seeing the same faces, specifically having the same lead at Labman for all 3 capsule fillers, made the process so much easier, the knowledge learned from each previous machine being built upon rather than starting again."
Iva BernardiHead of Production, IDS

She commented that the system is now over ten years old, has lots of moving parts and in use on a regular basis. Despite this, owing to reliable preventative and reactive maintenance, plus great training provided to IDS, the system has never been out of action for any significant period over the years. When asked about the ongoing support, Iva went on to say;

“Labman has helped us grow and embrace automation, being involved from concept and all the way through, my team and some specific technicians now can not only run but also maintain the unit. It has always been helpful that Labman are only a call, message, or even a short drive away - they have always been happy to help remotely or in person when needed.”

Iva summed up her experience of working with Labman in one word; “Excellent”.

If it wasn’t the trips to see Labman’s quirky HQ, or the weird and wonderful projects we were running, Iva’s greatest memory of her visits Labman had to be “the best fish and chip lunch!”

We are humbled to have worked with such a fantastic and friendly team at IDS. Shout out to Iva, Stephen and everyone else - thank you for the support.