What is the SL160 Slide Loader?

Posted in Microscope automationOEM and custom solutions Oct 25th 2023

SL160 Slide Loader

Slide loaders are essential for automated slide scanning: they ensure the slides are accurately positioned on the imaging platform for processing with a minimum of human intervention. However, Our SL160 Slide Loader doesn’t just increase productivity in high-throughput automated imaging; it’s been designed to enable the development of new automated high-throughput imaging techniques.  

Facilitating fast imaging in high-throughput slide scanning 

The SL160’s slide holders fit 4 slides at a time to keep loading and scanning times to the minimum. Its large 160-slide capacity frees up operator time as the system can be left to work unattended for long periods. The slide trays are supported from both ends at all times during the scan, ensuring precise positioning relative to the objectives. 

Samples are fully protected from contact with moving parts at all times. The integrated sensors and encoders monitor critical operations to ensure operation is fast, accurate and reliable. The SL160’s repeatable and fast loading is critical for obtaining high-quality images during rapid slide scanning.  

With less time spent at the microscope, researchers can focus on sample preparation and analysis, leading to higher-quality data in much greater volumes.  

Fully customizable for OEM projects  

As well as being compatible with many commercial upright microscopes, the SL160 was designed to be fully customizable for use by OEMs or integrated into one-off research systems. The SL160 comes with an open access software development kit so that developers can hit the ground running when designing their system.   

For example, it can form the basis of a robust slide-scanning system designed for a specific clinical application. This would involve minimal customization, with our engineers overseeing the requirements to ensure that the system would operate as needed and advise on control software for integration with the rest of the system.  

Another, more complex, scenario would be using the SL160 as part of a custom-built research scanning system, involving a variety of imaging techniques plus the ability to handle multiple types of slides. In this type of project, our engineers would work closely with the customer from the initial project scoping through to installation of the system.  

Finally, we have the capability to provide this complete product development service, together with contract manufacturing, for OEM products 

Typical applications for the SL160 

Slide scanning can be used outside of clinical and biological imaging to speed up inspection processes in many other sectors. Using the Prior OpenStand as a development platform, the SL160 can be used to create a high-quality, customized imaging solution dedicated to specific applications: 

Life Science 

  • Histopathology – customisable transmitted light optics combined with an extremely robust slide loading method. 
  • Neuroscience – tray-based system allows adaption to larger slide types, with customizable OpenStand optics allowing the addition of an optical sectioning solution, or the addition of fluorescence or darkfield for tissue detection.  


  • Geoscience – petrological slides can be used with an adapted tray system, alongside addition of polarisation microscopy optics. 


  • Materials science – planar samples could be mounted in customised trays, increasing the volume of data that could be acquired for use with dedicated image analysis techniques, such as phase analysis or grain sizing.  
  • Elemental analysis – the SL160 itself can be modified to be combined with a larger dedicated industrial instrument. 

Learn more 

Contact our technical sale team to discuss your application.  

Watch the SL160 demo video.