This section presents both conventional SI apparatus as well as miniaturized SIA instruments and their components. The information is first presented for laboratory instruments (A,B) and then for process control systems (C).
Another way to view the expanding field of SI instrumentation is to categorize them as commercially produced or user made systems. However, in reality no system is entirely “home made.” No one builds valves or pumps – they all are purchased from commercial sources. The real question is where to draw the line.
In my opinion, huge effort is wasted, especially in Academia, by reinventing the wheel in effort to compile software for trivial tasks such as controlling valves, pumps or data collection. No one would dream of writing software for word processing, but compiling's software for instrument control is often attempted without understanding how labor intensive and complex is such endeavor. (2.5.5.) In my experience, the best approach is to purchase a core SI instrument (pumps, valves, electronics and software), and to proceed from there with innovations, by adding peripherals and by focusing on the core of the project on method development, exploration or application, or any other goal one has in mind.
For those who wish to use SI as a tool for automating a given application, entire systems including assay protocols, are now commercially available. Systems can be “packaged” either as laboratory instruments, or for continuous monitoring in the process control environment.