Brighton Laboratory revolutionises sample staining with Cromatec

An acute teaching hospital in the South of England that is part of the seven hospitals that make up the University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trusts invests in a new automatic staining system.  Their pathology departments include Haematology, Biochemistry, Immunology, Microbiology and Cellular Pathology, which carry out clinical tests to get information on patients’ health, aiding diagnosis, treatment and prevention of diseases.


The Challenge

Source an automatic stainer, within budget, that has a smaller footprint, reducing the space taken up by staining equipment whilst maximising cellular staining and optimising the newly available space.

Work collaboratively with suppliers, laboratory staff and partners to deliver and install the stainer in accordance with the hospitals’ requirements, overcoming the limited access to the laboratory and providing equipment training and ongoing support to the Cellular Pathology team.


The Perfect Solution

The multiprotocol stainer that was previously in place was not fulfilling the needs of the Cellular Pathologists despite its sole purpose being for Papanicolaou (PAP staining) and therfore, was not being utilised to its best ability.

After being awarded funding for a capital purchase, the Lead BMS Cellular Pathology was on a quest to source a staining system that offered automation and a controllable management system that was smart and reliable for batch PAP staining, whilst maintaining a smaller footprint than a multiprotocol stainer for space-saving within the lab.

This new stainer must be cost-effective for the hospital staying within the budget that was set and easy to use, enabling them to maintain their high standards of care for their gynaecology patients.

The hospital has limited access to the Cellular Pathology Laboratory, with narrow dimensions through doorways followed by flights of stairs to the laboratory, in which the stainer must be able to be carried in order to be installed.




The Slee Cromatec Automatic stainer was the product chosen by the hospital, meeting all of the requirements set out, with the added benefit of being a system that can step up to any future demands if required, with its unique offering of the highest throughput in the market today.

The Cromatec makes its positioning profound, setting itself high above its alternative multi-stainers. Cromatec provides the highest, most competitive throughput of slides in routine staining, offering a 20-basket capacity that holds 30 slides each, processing up to 600 slides simultaneously.  A unique special lifter provides easy auto unloading of 3 slide baskets, enabling the stainer to operate continuously and achieve a maximum throughput of up to 1,800 slides per hour.

One of Cromatec’s many impressive features is an innovative Reagent Management System, allowing users to individually programme time settings for each station and schedule the exact timing of changing the reagents for maximum flexibility. To meet the requirements of a modern laboratory, real-time monitoring and access to the management system are available via an app, enabling users to stay connected remotely and manage and monitor the staining process from their phone or tablet.


No challenge is too big 

Solmedia’s Technical Service Manager, Darren Sheridan, visited the laboratory before the installation of the Cromatec to carry out a site analysis. Here, Darren measured the access points and doorways and mapped out the best possible route from the outside loading area to the Cellular Pathology Laboratory. Unfortunately, the hospital’s lifts were too small for the Cromatec, and weighing 110 kg, the piece of equipment required a 4-man team from Solmedia to carry it up the stairs. Entrances and doorways also measured up too small for the Cromatec and required the disassembly of the equipment in order to fit through.  Thankfully, due to the site analysis, Solmedia were able to plan the delivery and the handling of the equipment, disassembling the Cromatec before the installation date, and reassembly quickly and correctly within the laboratory, resulting in an efficient and successful installation for the laboratory on the day.

Utilising Laboratory Space 

The hospital and laboratory managers are required to assess and improve their use of space within the laboratory. Maximising space is crucial in any lab. The Cromatec endorses this and will create more space for analysis of staining results and opportunities for more equipment whilst PAP staining protocols continue.


The Future of Cytology with Cromatec 

With this new staining system, the hospital hopes to work more efficiently, diminishing the risk of human error and improving the quality of PAP staining results. The Reagent Management System supports the way the Cytology team works, allowing members of staff to stay connected through their phones, monitoring all staining steps and their individual run time with clear visibility and control at any time, anywhere, managing workflow better.

Cromatec is the perfect addition to this hospital, providing not only the Cytology laboratory with the equipment to fulfil the necessary Papanicolaou staining but also providing the hospital with the capacity to meet any increasing demands in staining across all specialities within the hospital. With hospitals seeing a steady year-on-year increase in workload, with some reporting up to 20% increase in the last year, the Cromatec is a wise investment by the laboratory which will safeguard their future requirements to maintain and increase sample turnaround times which in turn helps benefit patient outcomes.