Pittcon’s target audience is not just “analytical chemists,” but all laboratory scientists—anyone who identifies, quantifies, analyzes or tests the chemical or biological properties of compounds or molecules, or who manages these laboratory scientists. Our team attended Pitconn to scope out design and market trends in this exciting high-tech industry. The expo showcases products for scientific labs involved with Analytical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy.
Manufacturers from Germany and Japan have a big presence at Pittcon, with precision products used in both corporate and government labs. We looked at equipment from a wide range of manufacturers and spoke with their representatives about important changes and trends in the industry. A few recurring themes were: automation, visualization, safety, simplicity, and size reduction. With increasingly sophisticated software, much of the time-consuming lab work can automated with robots that sort through large batches of samples.
Swiss manufacturer Metrohm has a product with a carousel of dozens of test tubes connected to a computer-controlled analyzer (shown below). A lab tech will program the machine to do a batch analysis, and the machine will run overnight. The machine will detect any samples that are over-concentrated and dilute them accordingly for an accurate analysis, saving lab time.
Along with automation, ease-of-use is also a big selling factor on new equipment. Many lab technicians don’t have the training or time to do complicated programming that older products used to require, so newer machines offer “touch-of-a-button” analysis to keep things simple. One product actually begins analyzing a liquid as soon as it is detected on a sensor— giving a touch-free operation.
Enhanced visualization and data recording is also a key trend in 2014, with new analysis techniques and software that give users a deeper and more controlled view of information.
Other trends included size-reduction of certain technologies to preserve valuable lab counter space, as well as an increase in concern for safety. Products that protect lab scientists by keeping them away from chemicals and reagents are a growing segment in the market. Check out images from the show below. For more on Pitconn, visit here.