In many laboratories, digitization and automation have not yet been introduced, meaning a lot of manual work and slow processes continue, says engineer Markus Sebeck. “This slows down the work and leads to high operating costs.” In many laboratories, for each individual sample an employee must read devices and enter their results into lists or into a computer. “This often leads to mistakes,” says Sebeck. “And then you have to do all the work again.” There are also problems in research laboratories, where, for example, a lot of time is lost during the setup of experiments.
That is why members of the “SmartLAB” network are dealing with the question of how lab work could function more quickly and more economically in the future. Markus Sebeck is the project manager of the network, whose members are distributed throughout Germany. “We want to digitize and automate laboratories and make them more efficient this way,” he explains. Twelve small and medium-sized enterprises, two large companies and six research institutes are currently involved in the network. They all pool their different expertise, including laboratory operation, instruments and other equipment, measuring and testing technology, consumables, software and IT. The network is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.