This invention provides an automated chemical analyzer with improved processing flexibility and ease. In one embodiment of this invention, the analyzer includes an incubation station, a wash station and a read station. The incubation station includes an elongated, movable track to carry reaction vessels along an incubation path, the wash station includes a movable track to carry vessels along a wash-cycle path, and the read station is adapted to move vessels along a read path. A first transfer station is positioned adjacent a first end of the wash-cycle path to transfer vessels from the incubation path to the wash-cycle path and a second transfer station is positioned adjacent a second end of the wash-cycle path and a first end of the read path for selectively transferring a vessel from the wash-cycle path to either the incubation path or the read path. Optimally, the first transfer station is positioned adjacent a second end of the read path, enabling the first transfer station to transfer a vessel from the read path to the incubation path, e.g., for disposal at a central waste container.
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