Industry 4.0 Trends in the Laboratory

Industry 4.0 – digitalization – will open up new opportunities in the pharmaceutical industry. This also affects the analytical laboratory. The pressure for innovation and efficiency is making laboratory leaders rethink the way they operate their labs. The term "Laboratory 4.0" stands for innovative automation concepts and digitalization in everyday laboratory work.

Industrial Revolution

Before the age of Industry 4.0 was started, three industrial revolutions preceded it.

The path from Industry 1.0 to 4.0 went through the following phases:

  • Industry 1.0 (mechanization) end of the 18th century: use of machines driven by water and steam power.
  • Industry 2.0 (electrification) end of the 19th century: enabling mass production through the modern production line.
  • Industry 3.0 (automation) early 1970s: use of electronics and IT to automate production.
  • Industry 4.0 (networking) today: intelligent networking of machines and processes.

Key Industry 4.0 Trends

Industry 4.0 refers to the intelligent networking of machines and processes through information and communication technology. Among the key Industry 4.0 trends for laboratory are:

  • Big Data / Predictive Analytics / Connected Lab: The term "big data" is used to describe data volumes that are, for example, too large, too complex, too fast-moving or too weakly structured to be analysed using manual and conventional methods of data processing. However, big data also refers to the processing of such large, complex and rapidly changing amounts of data. In the so-called "connected lab", the individual data are combined into a large data pool and then evaluated.
  • Internet of Things ("IoT"): The Internet of Things is the term for technologies that enable everyday objects or machines to be networked with each other. The individual objects are equipped with sensors, software and/or other technologies to connect them with other devices and systems via the internet. In this way, data can be exchanged between the objects.
  • Visual processes / Virtual Reality: This refers to technologies that use image-processing sensors to promote object-human-machine interaction.
  • Robotics / Artificial Intelligence (AI) / Machine Learning: Artificial intelligence deals with the automation of intelligent behaviour and machine learning. Robotics is a subfield of artificial intelligence. Artificial intelligence has already found its way into the world of private life (e.g. through smartphones and fitness trackers).
  • Speech recognition / Lab assistants: This is about methods with which spoken language can be made accessible to computers.

Industry 4.0 will open up new opportunities in the pharmaceutical industry. How it can be implemented in the laboratory will be discussed in more detail in a webinar on Friday, 15 October 2021, from 10:00 - 11:30 h CEST. There you will get an overview of current trends and learn how these trends can be implemented in everyday laboratory life.

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