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Interfaces and digitalization The Digitalized Laboratory at Achema

From Dipl.-Chem. Marc Platthaus |

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One of the biggest tasks in the coming years will be to make analytical, bioanalytical and laboratory technology fit for a networked future. During Achema from August 22 to 26, there will be a dedicated action area for this, among other things, where solutions will be presented.

1 In Hall 4.1, various exhibitors from the laboratory and analytical technology sectors will also be showing their innovations.
1 In Hall 4.1, various exhibitors from the laboratory and analytical technology sectors will also be showing their innovations.
(Source: Dechema e.V./Jean-Luc Valentin)

Dr. Björn Mathes, Managing Director of Dechema-Ausstellungs GmbH, emphasizes how important the laboratory technology sector is for Achema: “Laboratory and analytical technology offers numerous exciting innovations at Achema 2022. The topic of “Digital Lab” is one of Achema's focus topics this year and will be presented interactively in a dedicated action area in Hall 4.1.”

Highlight Session at the Achema Congress

On August 24 from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. during the Achema Congress, a highlight session will be held on the topic of laboratory and analytics. The interaction of digitalization, miniaturization and automation is fundamentally changing workflows and thus also how researchers in biotechnology and life sciences work. Among other things, experts will discuss the question of what role robots and artificial intelligence will play in the laboratory of the future?

Achema 2022: Digital lab to touch and try out

There will be various things to see at this action area. In five use cases, 14 partners will demonstrate their cross-vendor solutions for the networked and digitized laboratory with the help of innovative products and software. The spectrum ranges from cobot-assisted work processes for sample preparation and analysis, to user-oriented process control with laboratory execution systems, to horizontally and vertically networked and yet modularly adaptable equipment solutions with the perspective of shared laboratory infrastructure and seamless integration from sample receipt to quality-assured analysis results.

A special highlight is offered by the Mixed Reality Lab in which visitors immerse themselves in an augmented reality with a Holo-Lens, incl. voice and gesture control, virtual reality, and a Holo-Lens. Voice and gesture control, virtually superimposed experiment schematics and technical support with live transmission of laboratory equipment.

These companies and institutions are involved in the action area:

  • 2mag AG
  • Amensio GmbH
  • Better Basics Laborbedarf GmbH
  • Düperthal Safety Engineering GmbH & Co. KG
  • Essentim GmbH
  • Fluics GmbH
  • Fraunhofer IPA
  • Holo4Labs LLC
  • Integris LIMS GmbH
  • Labforward GmbH
  • Schmidt + Haensch GmbH & Co.
  • Smartlab Solutions GmbH
  • Spectaris e.V.
  • Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc.

In addition, there will also be a lecture program with presentations on bioreactor scale-up to new cell cultivation workflows to a digital fully automated and miniaturized laboratory concept.

Interfaces as a prerequisite for the laboratory of the future

A key prerequisite for such modern and digital laboratories is networking. And this, in turn, is best achieved with standardized interfaces in order to generate smart devices that can communicate without restriction and act independently, can be integrated intelligently and easily into the laboratory environment, controlled centrally and used in flexibly configurable laboratory workflows.

At the German trade association Spectaris, the “Networked Laboratory Devices” working group has been working on this since 2016. This then culminated in 2020 with the launch of the Laboratory Agnostic Device Standard (LADS) project, which aims to define a common interface standard for the laboratory. The Spectaris working group decided to use the generally accepted industry standard OPC UA (Open Platform Communications United Architecture) as the basic technology for networking devices, systems and processes in the laboratory. This not only enables networking in the lab, but also allows connection to the industrial infrastructure at the same time.

But digitization does not stop at technological implementation: In the laboratory of the future, processes and structures must also be rethought, which in particular involve the customer earlier, more strongly and constantly in the idea-finding and development process in order to better align new products with customer needs.

The digital transformation has also found its way into the laboratory, and it is important here to generate the right data at an early stage, which can be seamlessly exchanged with subsequent production.

Dr. Björn Mathes, Managing Director of Dechema-Ausstellungs GmbH

Mathes is certain: “But, before this vision can become reality, it is particularly important to bring together the interfaces between individual devices and specific laboratory software within the laboratory so that laboratory technology can easily communicate with each other. This is precisely where the LADS initiative of the OPC Foundation, Spectaris and the VDMA comes in. LADS also underlies the use cases of the “Digital Lab” action area.”

Achema 2022 takes place August 22 to 26 at the Frankfurt Exhibition Center and is open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.  n


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