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Germany: Intelligent Laboratories Smartlab Goes Into Third Round in 2019

Editor: MA Alexander Stark

The Labvolution Smartlab showcase will again provide answers to how intelligent laboratories might look like in the future. The showcase has become a mainstay of Labvolution, Europe’s fair for innovative lab equipment and laboratory workflow optimization.

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Smart Lab will be back for a third season at Labvolution 2019.
Smart Lab will be back for a third season at Labvolution 2019.
(Bild: Deutsche Messe AG)

Hannover/Germany — Germany’s Lower Saxony state government has given confirmation of funding, paving the way for a 2019 edition this showcase on the intelligent laboratories of the future. While the government decision marks the official start of the project, preparations for the showcase have been ongoing for some time, and the organizers now announced that Smartlab 2019 will put the spotlight squarely on integration and interactivity, both with respect to the technologies on display and the visitor experience.

This showcase combines market-ready applications with forward-looking visions. Supported by a core group of regular partners and several new ones, next year’s show will take the “intelligent laboratory of the future” theme to the next level. A joint project by science and research organizations and industrial companies, the showcase has built a worldwide reputation as a forum for dialogue and a driver of digitization in the lab sector.

Dr. Andreas Gruchow, a member of the Managing Board of Labvolution’s organizer, Deutsche Messe, said that the financial backing of the state government gave his team added confidence as they continued their preparations for Labvolution 2019, which would have lab automation, digitization and integration as its keynote themes.

Sabine Johannsen, Lower Saxony’s State Secretary at the Ministry of Science and Culture, described the showcase as a model example of a multi-stage research project that achieved the all-important linkages between fundamental research, applied science and communication. Smartlab also showed how an interdisciplinary approach could help science-based industries, such as the chemicals industry, come to grips with the challenges and opportunities of digitization. All this made the project an important catalyst for the future development of the lab technology sector as well as a key driver of added value, the State Secretary said.

Preparations for 2019 Already in Full Swing

The Institute of Technical Chemistry at the Leibniz — University Hannover (TCI) will once again head the joint initiative. According to Sascha Beutel, Smartlab Project Coordinator at TCI, next years edition will feature many innovative new elements. The show will make full use of the latest technologies — everything from interactive media and AR applications to the latest generation of VR headsets and drones — while ensuring that the objective of creating a fully functional ‘Lab 4.0’ will be achieved, explains Beutel.

Apart from TCI and Deutsche Messe, the regular partners include Eppendorf, Labfolder, Köttermann, Presens, Schmidt+Haensch, Sartorius and Fraunhofer IPA. New partners this year are Mettler Toledo, I Go, Advus, Noack Laboratorien, Qiagen, Realworld One and Ostfalia University of Applied Sciences.

Thus the event functions as a platform that allows competitors to come together to jointly drive digital transformation of laboratory technology. Open collaboration between partners from research and industry fosters the development of integrated and interoperable lab solutions. This touches on another key objective of the project: to establish shared standards. For 2019, the project team is planning to standardize the lab’s IT infrastructure even more, to further optimize its modular, integrated design and to introduce interactive communications solutions, such as touch projectors and Amazon Echo.

Closer to Trade Visitors

Visitors like to interact with the exhibits, Deutsche Messe reports. That’s why the project team is planning to expand the interactive sections of the Smartlab display in 2019. The team is also expanding the scope and duration of use case demonstrations. About 50 % of the trade visitors who attended Labvolution 2017 visited the display at least once during the show, and about 20 % returned to the display three or more times, the organizers said.

Unlike the other displays, the Smartlab showcase didn’t cease operations on the final day of the show. Instead, it was transferred straight to the on-site Deutsche Messe Technology Academy, where it has attracted numerous delegations and served as a venue for numerous industry and political events ever since. The Smartlab II display’s final event will be a function by the German high-tech industry association SPECTARIS at the end of July. Straight after the function, the lab will be dismantled and moved to Leibniz University where it will be transformed into Smartlab III.

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Labvolution 2019

The next Labvolution will be held from 21 to 23 May 2019, in Hannover, Germany. The trade fair covers aspects of laboratory work, from the life sciences to analytical chemistry. Its displays feature the full spectrum of equipment and infrastructure for research, analysis, production and training laboratories in the chemicals, pharmaceutical and life sciences industries, as well as in the environmental, food, bioanalytics and R&D sectors. It grew out of and replaces the long-established Biotechnica show, and several areas of its lineup, including, most notably, the Biotecnica Forum, have a strong focus on biotechnology and biotech research. Labvolution is staged in Hall 19/20 (adjacent to the Nord 1 entrance) at the Hannover Exhibition Center.