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Lab 4.0

The digital lab of the future

The ongoing digital transformation merges the physical and virtual worlds and provides great opportunities for increased effectiveness in the lab. Manufacturers of lab equipment and consumables as well as IT vendors contribute to this trend by adding digital technology to their products and by intelligent networking, letting laboratory operators optimise their processes and making their workflows transparent for their customers. Zühlke assists with engineering and business expertise in creating the digital lab and networking laboratory products and processes.

Healthy innovation

Personalized medicine is a big trend, supported by advances in diagnostics and a better understanding of medical conditions.

This creates innovation opportunities for the lab science, pharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors. The challenge: A shorter time to market and lower production costs compete with a rising product complexity. Possible areas of action are:

  • Diagnostics: High-throughput in the central lab vs. compact individual solutions at the point of care
  • Internet of Things: Interconnecting products, equipment, automata and humans
  • Data analytics: Development of evidence-based services for increasingly informed patients
  • Combination products: Product development in the area between pharmaceuticals a

"Lab 4.0", modelled on the "Industry 4.0" moniker, has become a convenient shorthand for the digital transformation in the laboratory. It represents progress in automation, networking and digital technology within the manufacturing industry and stands for the ongoing changes in terms of processes and value chains - a transformation that is only just beginning in the laboratory sector. The labs of the future will work more transparently, send out results to their clients more rapidly and fill production orders more flexibly. Intelligent analysis followed by interfacing process and analytical data opens up entirely new business opportunities.

Bioproduction and laboratory analyses will still require top-notch quality and accuracy. Networking and digital integration can help record and process data derived from technical equipment, samples, disposable products or process monitoring devices. Their integration into laboratory information management systems (LIMS) facilitates monitoring and control of all systems. Laboratory operators can use data analytics to examine and improve their processes and optimise the use of their equipment by providing data analytics.
The processing of orders for analyses or of batches in bioproduction will be more flexible and use more transparent procedures. Lab 4.0 allows the assignment and tracking of individual working steps.


Requirements for Lab 4.0

The transition to digital technology is subject to certain technical requirements in both industrial and scientific laboratories. Important starting points will be:

  • Lab technology and equipment
  • Standardisation, automation and flexible processes
  • Networking of systems and integration into laboratory information management systems (LIMS)
  • Transitioning processes and procedures from B2B to B2C
  • Improvement of business models

Zühlke as a development partner has supported medical and life science companies in the development of products and software solutions for several decades - from original concept to successful market launch.  Within a project, we assume overall development responsibility in terms of software, electronical and mechanical engineering all the way to the production stage. Expert provide support in areas such as business consultations for digital transformation, usability engineering, data analytics and regulatory compliance. Our experienced teams master modern technologies, address regulatory requirements and offer assistance during the production stage.
Our quality management system for development is certified according to ISO 13485. Your experienced partner Zühlke ensures that regulatory requirements are met efficiently.


Zühlke – from original concept to successful product

Focus area No. 1:
"We make your equipment fit for the digital laboratory."

Labs deploy a variety of devices and IT systems from different manufacturers. While automation has made enormous progress in some areas, such as pipetting, the solutions used are often isolated solutions. Equipment and procedures have not been fully networked and integrated. Manufacturers of laboratory equipment must make a tremendous effort to support the many different communication standards and to ensure access to the large number of laboratory information management systems (LIMS) or documentation systems (electronic laboratory notebooks, ELN).

We can help you improve and update your hardware and software and to integrate them into the laboratory of the future. Make sure you take advantage of our project experience in the following fields:

  • Electronics and software development
  • Networking devices with the cloud and with the office
  • Mobile apps as extended equipment features
  • Remote monitoring and predictive maintenance

Focus area No. 2:
"We will take your laboratory into the digital future."

For laboratory operators, digital laboratory processes facilitate better process control and optimisation, achieving more throughput and realising savings by providing better analytical results. IT solutions not only enable the seamless electronic documentation but also state-of-the-art analytical and visualisation options (paper-to-tablet). For example, analytical progress can be monitored in real time, allowing customers to react in a more timely manner. Digital services of this nature improve customer loyalty.

We integrate your laboratory, your laboratory equipment and your software to create custom solutions that let you stand out from the competition. Make sure you take advantage of our project experience in the following fields:

  • Networking and interfaces
  • Integration of heterogeneous IT systems
  • Indoor positioning for greater transparency in the laboratory
  • From paper to tablet - making business processes digital

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Our contact

Photo: Mr Thomas Rahn

Thomas Rahn

Business Solution Manager

Photo: Mr Thorsten Knauf

Thorsten Knauf

Director Business Development