Hannover, Germany. To design the laboratory of the future you need pioneering and innovative thinkers and developers from research and industry. Scientists and businesses joined together for the smartLAB project to develop a vision of the laboratory of the future. The second edition of this fully functional model laboratory is on display at LABVOLUTION with BIOTECHNICA from 16 to 18 May 2017. At the European trade fair for innovative laboratory equipment and optimized laboratory workflow, smartLAB focuses on how the laboratory learns to think and communicate. It combines market-ready applications with forward-looking vision. smartLAB stands out not just for its individual components, but for how they come together and interact. The smartLAB 2017 partners are:
Eppendorf supplies devices, pipettes and consumables for the use cases presented by smartLAB, and support for the integration of these products. “smartLAB gives us as a company the opportunity join forces with others to showcase a vision of the future of the laboratory,” says Dr. Tanja Musiol, Project Manager Portfolio Management Marketing at Eppendorf. “Our collaboration as a group and discussions with customers at the fair also give us plenty of ideas for future projects.” As a leading company in the life sciences sector, Eppendorf develops and sells devices, consumables and services for liquid handling, sample handling and cell handling for use in laboratories worldwide.
Another smartLAB partner is the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA with its Laboratory Automation and Biomanufacturing Engineering department. Workers here focus on implementing relevant digitization trends for the laboratory of the future. A key research focus is the digital networking of lab devices. Communication standards, such as the SiLA standard codeveloped by IPA, play an important role here. But the mere communication is not enough. For the lab of the future, Fraunhofer IPA is developing a laboratory ecosystem comprising a device operating system, an app development platform and an app store for laboratory machines.
Herr M is specialized in user-centered design for the field of innovation management. As a creative partner to smartLAB 2017, the company illustrates how the complex strands of digital data processing and data preparation can merge with the physical world of the laboratory workers. Innovation only has value when it is understood and experienced by its audience. To achieve this goal, Herr M is designing new work processes in the laboratory based on user psychology, ergonomics and interaction criteria. Distinctive design for connected elements and tasks helps make even hard-to-understand relationships clear and simple.
iTiZZiMO integrates new mobile devices not previously used in the lab environment, such as smartphones, tablets and smartglasses, into digital work processes in smartLAB. The smartglasses function as protective goggles, as well as providing instructions for work steps and displaying information on processes or warning messages when using hazardous chemicals. Tablets and smartphones serve as digital lab notebooks and can be directly linked to the laboratory IT systems, so that all data can be called up and modified. Documentation is conveniently generated without spending additional time.
Flexibility and space – those are Köttermann's concerns in smartLAB. The leading international service provider for comprehensive laboratory solutions made of steel has developed mobile facility units. These are hexagonal modules based on a “ballroom” concept: This laboratory design based on cleanroom technology places flexibility of spaces and apparatus at the center, with devices often integrated directly into furniture. Köttermann's mobile honeycombs can be easily rearranged at any time, form space-saving islands and house a wide range of technology. Magnetic stirrers can be integrated into the surface, for example, or shelving units recessed into the countertop.
“In 2015, smartLAB showed how much interest there was in research and development for digitization of the laboratory environment,” says Dr. Simon Bungers, founder and CEO of Labfolder and 2017 spokesperson for the smartLAB group . “And it was very clear that the participating partners made a great team, capable of meeting this demand for innovation.” Labfolder's contribution to smartLAB 2017 is a software solution for the design, presentation and automation of laboratory processes. The lab process visualizes the exhibition experiments and the underlying data structure in a form similar to a flow chart. And the Protocol Designer app sends the process results directly from Labfolder to the electronic lab notebook (ELN). Despite this role that is central to the entire lab process, Labfolder is not designed as a monolithic mainframe solution, but rather allows all participating partners to create their own apps and interface them with Protocol Designer.
Lorenscheit Automatisierungs-Technik supplies its customers with products and services in the field of process automation and smart manufacturing consulting. This young company is specialized in solutions for workpiece handling, optical component recognition, signing and measurement technology. Lorenscheit contributes the robot arm to smartLAB. As sales partner to Universal Robots, MIR and Robotiq, Lorenscheit knows its way around flexible, user-friendly and quick-assembly robots. Universal Robots' robots work collaboratively, hand-in-hand with their human coworkers. For internal transport and logistics solutions, the MiR100 robot is an ideal partner, and with Robotiq, Lorenscheit offers just the right products for gripping and sensor technology and teach-in solutions.
Lighting and sensor specialist Lupyled is taking part for the first time. This high-tech startup has developed planar lighting that can be used to display a wide range of light scenarios. Its wavelengths range from 390 nm (UV) to 660 nm. Lupyled supports the smartLAB project with lighting and the treatment of a wide range of materials using special wavelengths, as well as sensor controls. The company also has an app that can be programmed to control and evaluate lighting and sensor technology.
At smartLAB 2017, PreSens is integrating non-invasive sensors into functionalized surfaces. In the Bioreactor Inoculation use case, the SFR vario provides data on biomass concentration, pH and O2. Special attention is also paid to how contactless measurement results can be optimally combined with other analysis data, and how simply such measurement engineering can be integrated into every laboratory, and every lab bench. The first results from the smartLAB working group on new sensor technology for bioprocess development are also on display. PreSens is a leading global provider of chemical-optical sensors for oxygen, pH, CO2 and biomass.
Sharing knowledge and trying out creative approaches is Sartorius's view of the driving idea behind smartLAB. On the one hand, smartLAB serves as a bilateral platform from which shared ideas can flow into new product developments. On the other, Sartorius contributes very concretely to the success of the lab of the future with its modular and configurable Cubis® laboratory scale. “When we combine openness and exchange with our technological expertise, we generate innovations that move things forward and point the way towards the lab of the future,” says Michael Melingo, member of the Group Executive Committee and Director of the Laboratory Division at Sartorius. “So we not only want to support smartLAB with Sartorius products, but also apply our know-how to finding new solutions for the laboratory.” The academic sector as well as laboratories in various industrial sectors can benefit.
Sartorius is a leading international pharma and lab supplier with its two Bioprocess Solutions and Lab Products & Services divisions. With its innovative products and services, the company helps customers around the world safely and cost-effectively implement complex and quality-critical processes in biopharma production and laboratories.
Schmidt + Haensch
Another smartLAB partner is Schmidt + Haensch, founded in Berlin in 1864 and thus one of the oldest companies in the field of optical measurement technology that continues to serve this market. Today the firm is led by the fifth generation of the founding family. The product range includes in particular polarimeters, refractometers, photometers, densimeters and process analysis systems for the food, pharmaceutical and chemical industries. Some 15 percent of annual revenue is reinvested in research and development for new devices and methods.
TCI – Technical Chemistry Institute
The Leibniz University of Hannover Technical Chemistry Institute has had a leading role in the development, coordination and implementation of the smartLAB project since its inception. “For us, smartLAB is an opportunity to help shape and target the development of the drastically needed modernization of laboratory infrastructure,” says Dr. Sascha Beutel, TCI Work Group Director. “As a university institute, we have excellent access to young scientists who can share their expectations and demands on the future lab environment, so that these spaces can be adapted to actual needs.” TCI's core expertise lies in the development of application-centered products and processes, with a focus on bioprocess engineering.
The foundation for a smartLAB is the flexible networking of different systems, as well as the storage, structuring and evaluation of different source data. For smartLAB 2017, Zühlke has adapted and expanded its own “Industry 4.0 Accelerator” for laboratory applications. Zühlke's Industry 4.0 Accelerator is a modular building kit containing prefabricated functions for communication, data storage and administration of connected devices. It offers solution elements at every level of application development for laboratory digitization. As a service provider for innovation projects, Zühlke develops products, services and business models for the digital future – from initial idea to execution to operation. Zühlke also supports medical technology and life science companies in the development of products and software solutions.