Trends and Emerging Patterns in Realizing Laboratory 4.0
In the Digital Manufacturing era, the Laboratory of the Future or Laboratory 4.0 concept is fast emerging with the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) technologies playing significant roles in defining a connected laboratory ecosystem. R&D is critical for new product launches in industries like Oil and Gas, Life sciences and Mining. Due to the high regulatory environment, these industries spend significant effort in the R&D stage.
They have an extensive network of labs with considerable investments in infrastructure, and quality control (QC) is a critical process. The success of the QC and R&D process will determine the launch of the new products and the quality of the technology transfer to manufacturing/production. Laboratories like the QC Analytical Labs worldwide, R&D Labs, Bio-banking labs and niche functional Labs are the focus of Laboratory 4.0. Accelerating innovation and time to market being prime requirements, there is ample scope to digitize lab operations at multiple levels, enabling collaboration by sharing relevant information between labs with great speed and accuracy.
Recent advancements in technology, viz. IoT helps automate the laboratory process by connecting instruments, systems, applications and people. By enabling lab devices to communicate with each other and integrating information systems like Laboratory Information Management Systems (LIMS), Electronic Laboratory Notebook (ELN), and Chromatographic Data systems (CDS) under connected laboratory concepts, industries can transform their laboratory ecosystem and gain competitive advantage. High throughput screening systems and the adoption of AI increase speed and efficiency and enable informed decision-making.
This paper describes ways IoT can be utilized to transform brownfield and greenfield labs for digitizing and automating lab operations. It also provides a roadmap for the Lab of the Future across industries.