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LABVOLUTION 2023: A Sneak Peek into the Future of Laboratory Technology

LABVOLUTION 2023: A Sneak Peek into the Future of Laboratory Technology
LABVOLUTION 2023: A Sneak Peek into the Future of Laboratory Technology (iStock)

LABVOLUTION is a trade show that presents the latest trends and advancements in laboratory technology, analytics, and biotechnology. The three-day event will take place from May 9th to May 11th in Hannover, Germany. Just a few weeks after Hannover Messe, we had the opportunity to catch up with the Chairman, Dr. Jochen Köckler, to discuss what we can expect from the upcoming fair.

Founded in 2015, LABVOLUTION is held every two years at the Hannover Exhibition Grounds, in Germany and is organized by Deutsche Messe AG, just like Hannover Messe. The event is a leading European trade fair for innovative laboratory equipment.

This year’s event will focus on digitalization, automation, innovative laboratory technologies, and solutions, as well as artificial intelligence and sustainability.

Prior to the show, Deutsche Messe Chairman Dr. Jochen Köckler shared with us exciting insights about what to expect from the fair.

Starting tomorrow, the future of laboratories will be on full display at LABVOLUTION. We’re excited to hear your thoughts on what groundbreaking insights the event will offer regarding digitalization, artificial intelligence, and sustainability.

Dr. Jochen Köckler: “Today’s laboratory infrastructures consist of many highly specialized devices from a wide range of manufacturers. Different interfaces and data formats make it difficult to connect these devices, let alone integrate them into existing IT infrastructures. However, this is a crucial requirement for end-to-end digitalization, automation, and the optimization of workflows. The success of tomorrow’s laboratories will hinge on how well the various pieces of equipment perform in connected scenarios. The connected laboratory is the only way forward and how this may look like, can be experienced at our special display – our very own lab of the future – the smartLAB.  

Digitalization is generating enormous amounts of data. Industry 4.0 already demonstrates how the obtained data can be used effectively. Data is connected in order to monitor processes and recognize trends, which allows us to react to changes early on. These advantages can be transferred to laboratories alike. In the future, AI will be used in laboratories to combine and analyze large amounts of data in a very short time – faster than any human would ever be able to.

One of the institutions presenting itself on the topic of artificial intelligence is the KIWI Biolab from Berlin. The aim of the Biolab is to link AI with biotechnology and to enable computers to plan and optimize laboratory experiments independently.

Sustainability is increasingly influencing all areas of our lives – and of course, research and laboratories too. This is why we will conduct a LAB Sustainability Summit in cooperation with the Freiburg-based NIUB sustainability consultancy. Exhibitors and experts will provide inspiration and solutions for a more sustainable laboratory world. However, sustainability also plays a crucial role in other conference sessions. Speakers from the fields of molecular cell biology and genome editing will bring the latest facts and potential for shaping more sustainable agriculture. 

Alongside the supporting program, visitors can also expect to discover sustainable innovations, such as Green Elephant Biotech’s CellScrew, a new cell culture system made from plant-based PLA.” 

LABVOLUTION’s focus on workflow optimization, communication standards, innovative laboratory equipment, and automation is set to revolutionize the laboratory industry. With such a broad scope of cutting-edge topics, what new products can we anticipate seeing at the fair?

Dr. Jochen Köckler: “Given the advent of automation and the widespread deployment of sensors and interconnected equipment, visitors can also expect to see a rise of smart laboratory containers, instruments, and equipment to be operated and monitored using tablets and smartphones. 

Start-ups too play an important role as they push innovation forward within the various laboratory technology segments. This year twelve young companies will present their products, technologies, and applications.

  • MagBio Genomics develops and distributes magnetic beads for isolating and cleaning liquid biopsies in genomic research.
  • Better Basics strive to create order at laboratory workstations to improve efficiency and safety with their modular 3D-printed organization system.
  • ARXUM aims to increase digital safety with its blockchain infrastructure. The start-up enables laboratories through its first-of-its-kind turnkey middleware to exchange data securely and fully automatically, including immutable documentation and traceability for maximum data security.” 

Will there be any premiere? if yes, can you give us more details?

Dr. Jochen Köckler: “At LABVOLUTION, many companies traditionally launch their latest products and services. However, I cannot spoil the fun by revealing all premieres in advance, can I? Let me introduce just three of them as an appetizer. 

  • Taiwan-based GeneDireX will celebrate the premiere of its μBLooK LED transilluminator at this year’s LABVOLUTION. Unlike conventional transilluminators, which work with UV light, the μBLooK LED transilluminator uses LED light, which is said to be less harmful to DNA.  
  • Korea-based company Curiosis Inc. will present their Celloger Mini Plus, a live cell imaging system, which operates even in hot and humid environments. Thus, enabling researchers and scientists to observe and analyze living cells in an incubator over a long period.
  • The German Industry Association for Optics, Photonics, Analytical, and Medical Technology SPECTARIS will launch a new communication standard called LADS (Laboratory & Analytical Device Standard), which is based on OPC UA. The goal of LADS is to create a manufacturer-independent, open standard for analytical and laboratory equipment that comprehensively reflects the different customer industries and their respective workflows while meeting future requirements of digitalization and automation.” 

Can you give us more details about the smartLAB?

Dr. Jochen Köckler: “Since 2015, smartLAB has been showcasing pioneering examples of the smart laboratory of the future. This year, together with our partner Smartlab Solutions GmbH from Dresden and 14 other exhibiting companies, we will be presenting new solutions for laboratory automation and digitalization in four use cases and a VR area. In addition to Smartlab Solutions GmbH, the smartLAB partners in 2023 are Eppendorf AG, 2mag AG, Better Basics Laborbedarf GmbH, Düperthal Sicherheitstechnik, Essentim GmbH, Kreativraum GmbH, INTEGRIS LIMS GmbH, Labforward GmbH, Berner International GmbH, Institut für Umwelt & Energie, Technik & Analytik e. V. (IUTA), Fraunhofer IPA, Amensio GmbH, smartAct GmbH and INTEGRA Biosciences GmbH.

All use cases are completely new and have never been shown anywhere before!

  1. LADSvolution is all about holistic mapping, controlling, and monitoring laboratory processes. It is an intelligent solution for the automated and quality-assured consolidation of all the process information in one laboratory management system (LIMS).
  2. Testing the activity and efficacy of chemicals is a frequent question in the laboratory. In the workflow Smart Quality Inventory visitors can observe in real-time how a dye solution is tested for its thermochromic dye content.
  3. Investigations of product quality, especially in pharmaceuticals, are standardized control processes, as fluctuating product qualities of pharmaceutical products can be detrimental to health. Smart Safety Cabinet gives insights on how to support analysis by automation and process control.
  4. Especially in the field of cell culture technology, experimenters encounter an increased risk of contamination. The workflow Smart Cell Handling And Imaging (Smart CHAI), demonstrates how the integration of innovative tools can partially or fully automate the process of cell culture handling – thus reducing user interaction and the risk of contamination.

In addition to the four use cases, the smartLAB also presents an innovative mixed reality experience in the so-called Meta-Lab. The virtual lab offers those interested an insight into modern laboratory environments and new ways of collaboration, communication, and intuitive knowledge transfer.

Visitors are invited to try out the all use cases live on-site in the smartLAB in hall 20 at booth C40.”

What new discoveries can we expect from panel discussions on genome editing and green chemistry?

Dr. Jochen Köckler: “New genomic techniques (NGT) such as CRISPR/Cas make it possible to modify and adapt the genetic material of crop plants in a targeted and precise manner. Scientists see these innovative methods as an important building block to complement classical breeding in the future. Their application makes it possible to overcome the limitations of classical plant breeding and thus contribute in many ways to more sustainable agriculture adapted to the consequences of climate change. So far, the use of NGT has been bound by the strict rules of European genetic engineering law, which dates back to 2001. However, the EU Commission sees very great sustainability potential in NGT – and is seeking to reform the regulation of these techniques.”

How many people are you expecting and how many exhibitors?

Dr. Jochen Köckler: “At LABVOLUTION 2023, more than 180 exhibitors from 17 nations will exhibit in hall 19/20 – including many market leaders such as Azenta Life Sciences, Berner International GmbH, Carl Zeiss, Düperthal, e-lab next, Eppendorf, Fraunhofer IPA, FUJIFILM Wako Chemicals, INTEGRIS LIMS, Miele, Nikon, Promega, Smartlab Solutions and many more.

After a four-year break due to the pandemic, predicting visitor numbers would be like looking into a glass ball. Here at Deutsche Messe, we are happy about everyone that will come, but we refrain from making any predictions at this point.”