From Lab Monitoring to Science | Real-World Smart Lab Applications

There’s lots of discussion about lab monitoring, the Smart Lab and the next generation of technologies, including promised benefits for both lab operations staff and scientists. The top-of-mind question for many is how real-world teams are using these platforms today? Here’s a snapshot of one.

With critical equipment distributed across multiple campus buildings, knowing whether a freezer has failed, a door has been left ajar, or when a liquid nitrogen tank is running low presents daily challenges for academic research team at a leading medical school. Not to mention, tracking incubator performance to ensure proper tissue growth.

After exploring a range of options, the team tested and then deployed the Elemental Machines’ Smart Lab system, initially to monitor freezers in the lab and in the basement storage area, and subsequently to monitor incubators.

“Having the system in place has saved us more than once, alerting us to equipment issues” shares the Research Lab Manager. “What’s more, we now have visibility into how long it takes equipment to return to normal performance after being accessed, for example. Lab equipment is expensive to repair and replace, but the bigger issue is the potential loss of cells that represent months or years of work.”

With easy access to historical performance data, the team can project when certain equipment will fail, which helps avert disaster. And, when there are conditions that cause alerts, the team is notified and can review system data to see if the problem is as simple as a freezer or incubator door accidentally left open, or if it’s something more serious. If the alert comes in after hours or on a weekend and the data shows that someone needs to fix the issue, the team has a response protocol and the person closest to campus visits the site.

The Research Lab Manager sums up his perspective saying, “There are aspects of monitoring that are critical to operations and other monitoring tasks that are critical to science. The combination is important to us.”

This customer’s practice of extracting both operational and scientific value from Smart Lab technologies is shared with many organizations we work with. In fact, we often engage with the lab operations and lab management teams, as well as scientists and their IT teams to map near-term and longer-term strategies and make sure everyone is getting the value they need from the system and the data it provides. (Here’s a link to a post about how teams are using their Smart Lab data for planned maintenance, as well.)

If you’re developing your Smart Lab strategies and plans, we would be delighted to talk with you!