Editorial Article: Discovering Digitization at the Forefront of Scientific Innovation: analytica 2018 Highlights

Digital solutions, food safety & security and sustainability all high on the agenda at 50th anniversary of analytical conference

04 May 2018

Eager scientists from around the world descended on Munich, Germany, for an exciting four days of high-impact science and technology at analytica 2018. Now in its 26th iteration, this biennial exhibition has grown to over 35,000 visitors and over 1,000 exhibitors, who come together to focus on the latest innovations and breakthroughs.  

Eager scientists arrive at analytica 2018. Image courtesy of Messe München GmbH

From basic research to application-based studies, analytica featured an impressive array of both exhibitors and supporting forums focused on areas including material analysis, bioanalysis, food analysis and pharmaceutical analysis. There were also many key identifiable trends across the conference floor, ranging from digitization to sustainability. 

The importance of digitization in the laboratory

Digitization was a recurrent theme throughout analytica, and with 90% of conference attendees indicating that laboratory digitization is one of the key challenges they will need to overcome in the next few years, exhibitors were keen to show off their digital expertise and offerings. Encompassing both in-lab and office-based innovations, the solutions found across the conference were as varied as the scientists using them. 

The announcement of key digitized solutions was a highlight of the show. Thermo Fisher Scientific announced the launch of its first cloud-enabled biological safety cabinet, the Thermo Scientific HeraSafe 2030i BSC, which brings with it the addition of cloud-technology enabling seamless workflow connectivity.  Peter Huber Kältemaschinenbau AG meanwhile highlighted its Pilot ONE Controller System. By utilizing one core system which is compatible with a full range of products, Huber has successfully managed to cut down on training time and made its products even easier to use. 

The importance of food security and analysis

The importance of food analysis was highlighted at analytica 2018. Image courtesy of Messe München GmbH


In a increasingly connected world, the safety of our food has never been more important. Analytica therefore hosted a Live Lab on food analysis, exploring the top techniques for analyzing the quality of our food, as well as for detecting toxic compounds. The showcase highlighted the interdisciplinary nature of food analysis, as well as some exciting equipment systems and methods. 

The NMR FoodScreener from Bruker Biospin continues to be one of the key pieces of technology for research around Europe, having been selected by the Hungarian government for use in its wine profiling initiative, which aims to map the quality and authenticity of all the wine produced in the country. 



The sustainability transformation and innovation across the industry

Sustainability is already transforming the world we live in, but with laboratories consuming more energy than other work spaces such as hospitals or office buildings, the need for solutions is critical. Agilent Technologies has been focusing on its role in sustainability and highlighted some fantastic innovations during the conference. These included a drive to create smarter packaging and reduce water and energy consumption, as well as to cut the amount of hazardous waste produced. 

The issue of plastics in the environment was also a key consideration throughout the conference, with microplastics  the small plastic particles formed when plastics are discarded in the environment  being of particular concern. An enlightening presentation during the conference highlighted new techniques for the analysis of microplastics in water using FTIR, Raman and pyrolysis-GC-MS methods.  

The impact of biotechnology on clinical diagnostics and laboratory medicine

Over the past few decades biotechnology has revolutionized diagnostic, medical and clinical chemistry. From start-ups to leading manufacturers, there were exhibitors across the conference focusing on this exciting area of research. One such manufacturer, SCIEX, had recently announced the launch of a high-performance mass spectrometry technology that brings ultimate sensitivity and speed to clinical diagnostics laboratories. The SCIEX Citrine™ MS/MS medical device provides clinical labs with one solution to tackle today’s difficult assays, and the versatility to address tomorrow’s precision medicine and wellness testing.

A time for celebration 

Overall, analytica 2018 had an atmosphere of celebration, with the conference itself marking its 50th anniversary, an impressive feat indicating the conference organizers' commitment to developing a strong and relevant program. It was also heartening to see that several manufacturers were also celebrating key anniversaries, including  Huber Kältemaschinenbau AG and Julabo. SelectScience, meanwhile, marked its 20th anniversary with a special party and the launch of the new European Scientists’ Choice Awards, which served to reinforce the event’s sense of shared success.

For updates from across the conferences check out the analytica 2018 special feature >>