Olympus has installed three of its PK7300 fully automated blood-grouping analysers at the NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) blood centre at Filton, near Bristol.
This centre is the world's largest blood-processing centre, handling a third of NHSBT's blood supplies.
It currently processes approximately 630,000 units of blood a year, a figure that will rise to slightly fewer than one million units by the end of 2009.
To handle this volume of blood, it is essential the centre has reliable blood-grouping analysers with the necessary throughput.
On arrival at NHSBT Filton, blood donations are registered, processed and then quarantined while waiting for blood grouping and microbiology test results.
Once these screening results are received, the processed blood bags can be labelled for safe release for transfusion.
The PK7300 can send blood-grouping results via a direct interface to the NHSBT computer system, so expediting subsequent blood-bag labelling.
The PK7300 can also be used for additional blood phenotyping purposes.
Josie Jackson, regional testing manager at NHSBT Filton, said: 'We test approximately 2500 samples per day using our three PK7300 analysers, 75 per cent of these must be undertaken by 2pm to ensure that we can efficiently label and release processed blood bags for transfusion.
'This speed to blood-group results delivery is particularly crucial for blood products with a shorter shelf life, such as platelets.' The PK7300 also features user-friendly Windows 2000 software based on that used with the best-selling Olympus series of AU clinical-chemistry analysers.
This provides a graphic user interface, touch-screen control, simplified results-validation procedures, dedicated quality-control software, help functions and modem support.
Results editing is also password protected and start-up, end wash and shut-down are software automated.
All these features mean that staff can operate the PK7300 with minimal training.