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Laboratory Complexity to Simplicity – Fact or Fiction?

There is a vision that the laboratory of the future will be a fully integrated, networked series of sample preparation/analytical ‘modules’ with seamless transfer of data and workflow integration, including video/sensor monitoring = flexible laboratory environment, some have called this Labor 4.0. This ‘vision’ tends to ignore the fact that there is significant cognitive work that humans have to do such as experimental design and data interpretation. We should also differentiate between laboratories working on research (high flexibility) versus those that are routine and perform the same assay on the same type of samples day after day (analytical ‘factories’).

In this presentation, we will outline our approach of focusing on the laboratory workflow as the chemistry, simple or complex, fundamentally drives what is appropriate for module choice and integration. Design choices, based around a deep understanding of laboratory user needs and the challenges they face now and in the future, can make complex systems easier to use and apply. Some of our experiences in the field of laboratory automation will be compared to the ‘Labor 4.0’ vision and you can decide – fact or fiction?


Dr. Ian Shuttler, Head of Strategy and Portfolio management, Life Science Division, Tecan Trading AG

He is an analytical scientist with over 25 years experience in product, business and R&D management at Tecan Trading, PerkinElmer and Agilent Technologies. At Agilent Technologies, he led the R&D team for developing chromatography consumables. In his time with PerkinElmer, he worked in the United States and Europe in a variety of positions. While based in the U.S., he served as vice president for strategic initiatives within the environmental health division and vice president leading the global inorganic analysis business.

Tecan is a leading global provider of automated laboratory instruments and solutions. Our systems and components help people working in clinical diagnostics, basic and translational research and drug discovery bring their science to life. In particular, we develop, produce, market and support automated workflow solutions that empower laboratories to achieve more. In under four decades Tecan has grown from a Swiss family business to a brand that is well established on the global stage of life sciences.



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