The ability to connect multiple instruments in the lab has enabled centralized management of equipment, user and data. LabX®, for example, is a platform laboratory software which connects multiple Mettler Toledo instruments such as balances, titrators, melting point instruments, density meters, refractometers, UV/VIS spectrophotometers and SevenExcellence (pH-)meters. This simplifies processes for users by helping to ensure standard operating procedures are followed, data is stored securely, all changes are recorded, and results are automatically transferred to a LIMS, just to name a few advantages.
In the interview below, with Fabian Hobi, of Mettler Toledo, discover why LabX has been instrumental in labs for the past decade - and how its future as ‘must-have’ laboratory software is shaping up.
SS: Why is integrated software important in a modern laboratory?
FH: Efficient workflows, avoiding errors, being compliant to regulations and low maintenance costs are key factors for any successful business. These are exactly the areas where a well-designed laboratory software can help. By using methods which control every step of the analysis, provide automatic calculations and send data directly to other systems, human error is minimized. Being compliant to regulations is key for many business areas and a lot of effort is needed to fulfill those by paper processes. In some cases, it is not even possible to fulfill the requirements by paper processes and a technical solution such as an integrated software is a must for any modern laboratory.
SS: What was the main goal when launching LabX?
FH: When the first version of LabX was launched almost 10 years ago, the goal was to create an easy-to-use, flexible and modular laboratory software which combines multiple Mettler Toledo instruments on one platform with a unified interface and assures data integrity. Nearly all of the key points are still valid today, just the priorities might have changed a bit.
SS: If a scientist was considering purchasing LabX, what are the key points you would want them to know about the software?
FH: You can use one software for multiple instrument types and combine the data from those instruments in one database. This reduces massively the training and maintenance efforts.
The greatest benefit I see for a scientist, is the secureness they get during their daily work with LabX, which makes sure that they always follow the SOPs, avoid transcription or calculation errors and store the data securely. Even when they are not sure if everything went right, they have access to all data and can check it before doing any unnecessary reanalysis.
SS: How does SevenExcellence fit into the LabX world? How does it enable data integrity and multi-parameter measurements?
FH: SevenExcellence meters fit perfectly into the LabX world, as at least one meter to measure pH, conductivity, ion concentration or other parameters can be found in any laboratory.
As with any other Mettler Toledo instrument connected to LabX, SevenExcellence profits from a centralized user management, database, audit trail, controlled workflows and storage of data, including metadata which enables the generation of complete, consistent and accurate data which is readable throughout the data lifecycle. These are the key factors for data integrity.
As SevenExcellence is connected via LabX to the same platform as any other LabX compatible instrument, it is possible to exchange data between those instruments and create combined workflows (multiparameter measurements) and reports.
SS: What do you think is the future for laboratory software like LabX?
FH: Changing from error-prone and cumbersome paper-based processes to efficient electronic processes in laboratories is a must for every modern laboratory to stay competitive. Therefore, we will keep improving LabX and add new functionalities to be ready for the laboratory of tomorrow. Our goal is clearly to stay the best-in-class laboratory software when it comes to the variety of compatible instruments, regulation compliancy, flexibility and data integrity.