Industry 4.0, Laboratory 4.0 – how far have we come with lisa.lims?
The next stage of the “industrial revolution” will involve intelligently connecting machines and processes, or more specifically, product development, production, logistics and customers. But what does this mean for us, for our customers and for lisa.lims? Why are we all talking about the “laboratory of the future”? In many laboratories, there are working methods and structures which are geared to specific requirements and conditions. In many cases, these have grown and will continue to grow. Digitalization will not happen overnight. It is a process that is gradually beginning in many laboratories and will progress further. lisa.lims is ready for Laboratory 4.0. However, laboratory staff with their knowledge and skills still play a major role in every laboratory. As the level of automation increases, this role will change but the staff themselves cannot be replaced.
Given the increasing complexity of processes and more stringent regulatory requirements, we need to reassess and restructure our working practices. LIMS must be a flexible component which can adapt to the current needs of users and play a role in this reassessment and restructuring. With lisa.lims, we offer a laboratory information and management system with intelligent interfaces and structured connectivity – not just for all analytical work steps but also for all accompanying processes, e.g. in logistics and materials management. It thus meets all the IT requirements for Laboratory 4.0. Which features are available and used depends on the individual level of automation in the particular laboratory.
A service laboratory allows its customers to send in jobs online. Preparations for the sample are made with all methods before it arrives at the laboratory. All work steps are recorded and documented until the accounting department issues an invoice on the basis of the data. Via the web portal, the customer can obtain information about the processing status at any time. All analytical devices are connected to lisa.lims. LIMS transfers data and flags any breaches of limit values and is also able to plan and manage the maintenance and calibration of the testing devices. With the Mobile Data module, data can be recorded and transferred directly to LIMS, in the laboratory and in the field when taking samples for example. Documents are archived and managed with the Report Manager – the paperless laboratory is no longer a vision of the future.
lisa.lims can provide effective support in the areas of management and logistics too. lisa.lims paves the way for the Service Laboratory 4.0 with the management and use of chemicals, orders and formulations either as a complete package or when individual modules are used. With intelligent connectivity, not only various branches can communicate with each other. Other systems including those in the accounting department or at the (supervisory) authorities and customer systems can be connected to lisa.lims for the exchanging of data.
Laboratories in the manufacturing industry
The focus here is on the testing of materials, the production process and quality assurance. As soon as it arrives, the sample is recorded and digitalized with a barcode. lisa.lims automatically obtains the data via interfaces to DCS- or ERP systems and creates an entry for the sample with the relevant testing points. With mobile hand-held devices, all work steps, chemicals and testing equipment can be assigned to each sample. After all, these too are recorded in the system. After the samples have been processed, the results and/or a decision regarding use are transferred back to the ERP system via the interface. This ensures transparency and allows the seamless documentation of all steps. All stocks, from chemicals, samples and retained samples to stability tests, are managed with lisa.lims. Analytical devices are connected to the system and any breaches of limit values are automatically flagged. Reports are archived in paperless fashion with the Report Manager, thus ensuring traceability. Procurements are made centrally via LIMS and the stock information is updated immediately. Important information is assigned to the stock items while at the same time usage is documented. lisa.lims connects all tasks in laboratories in the manufacturing industry across sites and individual laboratories.
Authorities and the public sector
Laboratories in the public sector depend on seamless communication with a wide range of databases, sites and authorities. With lisa.lims, communication takes place with no media breaks and all incoming and outgoing data are automatically processed.
By integrating laboratory logistics and materials management, it is possible to save time and money while ensuring transparency and traceability. In the years ahead, the paperless documentation of all processes and work steps is sure to catch on in many public-sector laboratories. With lisa.lims, you can start implementing the new systems now and thus ensure that the process switchover takes place gently but effectively.
Research and development
Whether you are further developing your own products or working on behalf of customers – documentation, traceability and thus reproducibility are essential in R&D laboratories. In order to achieve successful digitalization, an R&D laboratory must not only get rid of the classic laboratory book but also link analytical devices and connect individual sites. With the Formulations, Formulation Development and Batches module, each development can be managed and documented electronically. In conjunction with the Chemicals and Reagents module, stock management for the chemicals used and manufactured is carried out automatically. lisa.lims also allows you to work in a project-oriented manner.