Laboratory trends & innovations 2022

Original Dutch Article by FHI Technology Industry |Title Futuristische laboratoria | Sept15th 2022

Interview Ivano Zuliani by Aden Spierings from FHI

With a lot of experience and great in depth knowledge of laboratory equipment, designing and setting up laboratories, Ivano Zuliani is talking about the latest laboratory trends and innovations. Ivano started Labolutions in 2009. This company specializes in supplying laboratory equipment and starting up laboratories. Labolutions has a broad portfolio of high-quality European manufacturers.

In 2021, Ivano became a business partner of Labs31. This innovative engineering company is engaged in the design and optimization of laboratories with over 25 years of experience. Labs31 gives specialized advise on the lab equipment, required connections, generated heat loads and how to improve safety based on their canvas process model. This is done digitally, in 3D and 4D.

Clear Approach Labs31

Think ahead

New projects for Labs31 always start with data collection and a laboratory design workshop. “We get all the key players together for a brainstorm session” says Ivano. Together they define who exactly works in that laboratory, what they want to achieve and how Labs31 can organize a well fitted laboratory for this. In addition, they look into the equipment and movements within the laboratory as well as safety aspects: "We visualize this all into a 3D/4D model. We involve the various user groups. This makes them involved."

Modular building

In order to be able to anticipate changes, a modular set-up for a laboratory is desirable. In Europe there are several manufacturers that offer such systems. “Which one you choose depends on the question and the User Requirement Specification that has been jointly established . A small laboratory that expects few future changes doesn't have to be as flexible as a large and fast-growing laboratory. However modular systems are valuable for every budget and every question: it can yield major cost savings, now and in the future.”

Business intelligence

Another trend in all fields is Business Intelligence (BI): data is collected and stored to continuously make processes more efficient. “This is also interesting within the laboratory world. BI allows systems to work together within large buildings. For example, optimal integration of fume hood controls within the systems for building management and air treatment: a great sustainability step.

Smart inventory management solutions

There are so many standards, laws and regulations that laboratories have to comply to. Good stock management is therefore a mandatory requirement for laboratories. “There is now much more attention for product management. Which substances or solutions do you have in stock? How much? What is their expiration date?” Exceeding the expiration date of chemicals or bioreagents can lead to incorrect results and losses. “They have to be reliable and safe in a laboratory.”

A SMART laboratory stock system, or an intelligent laboratory stock system, can provide a solution here. This innovation is still under development. “We are following this very closely. It is expected to be launched soon.”

More attention to sustainability

We cannot ignore it: sustainability also plays a prominent role in the laboratory sector. Sustainability – for the planet and people – is becoming an increasingly important theme. You notice that in this industry too. Sustainable buildings are gradually becoming a fixed starting point. When choosing an air handling unit, which often already requires a considerable investment in the technical room or on the roof, a minimum capacity or unnecessary overcapacity is often chosen.

In the first case, there is soon a question of exceeding general occupational health and safety standards (and specifically the Lab Arbo Norm 18-0). In the latter case, it becomes an expensive, energy-guzzling installation. “With well-substantiated data you are ahead of this. You check in advance what you need and avoid a problem afterwards. Because sometimes I don't hear until later: 'Now I understand why it was always too hot in our laboratory.'"


4D lab design and VR

The latest trends that are definitely worth mentioning: 4D design and virtual reality (VR). “We designed such a lab furnishing project in 4D and VR for a large German manufacturer. By using these technologies in the design phase, we visualize walking routes, use of space and placement of equipment. This way you know already during the designing stage whether something will work or not. People can walk through the room with VR glasses and test whether the design is useful in practice. This gives a lot of understanding”

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