Lab Innovations, the UK’s only trade show dedicated to the laboratory industry, beat all records for the show, attracting 3,113 attendees - a 10% increase on the previous year. Underlying the headline number were significant increases in visitors involved in purchasing products and services. Overall, 79% of visitors were involved in the purchasing decision, with a 43% increase in lab managers, a 53% increase in lab technicians, and an impressive 125% increase in procurement managers. In addition, the number of scientists attending increased by 49%.
This dynamism was clear from the buzz of activity on the floor, with the statistics highlighting the enormous contribution that Lab Innovations makes to the business of laboratory science. Carolyn Jones, Lab Manager, University of Birmingham, summarised the event as “… well worth attending. I’d definitely recommend this to anyone with a budget to spend.” These sentiments were supported by Jacqueline Balian, Head of Laboratory Technology Sector at GAMBICA, who said: “GAMBICA has exhibited at Lab Innovations since the start. We find it one of the most effective events for connecting our members with purchasers and distributors.”
Living up to its name, Lab Innovations saw many new products, technologies and applications introduced to the UK by big brand laboratory names and smaller niche suppliers, including:
- Eppendorf’s range of centrifuges, a large capacity biological shaker and CO2 incubator family
- HORIBA Scientific’s award-winning Duetta absorbance/fluorescence spectrometer
- Elementar’s UNICUBE and UNICUBE trace instruments for C and N measurements
- IKA’s ROTAVISC series of highly functional viscometers
- Analytix’s Milestone DMA-80 evo high-sensitivity mercury analyser
- Malvern Panalytical’s Zetasizer Pro and Ultra systems for measuring particle size, molecule size and zeta potential
- Haier Biomedical’s intelligent, energy-reducing Salvum Ultimate freezers
- OHAUS’s Pioneer PX analytical and precision balances
- Appleton Woods’ appPETTE single channel variable pipettes
- Socorex’s Qualitix tipfill system for quick and easy filing of pipette racks.
The Innovation Gallery Award, sponsored by Innovation DB, recognised these product innovations, with new exhibitor, CN Bio, winning the award for its PhysioMimix T1 organs-on-chips system.
At the core of the event’s success was the mix of numerous laboratory products on show, along with networking and CPD-accredited educational opportunities in the four open-access seminar theatres: the Royal Society of Chemistry theatre; the Laboratory News Insights and Innovations theatre, sponsored by PerkinElmer; the new Cleanroom Hub area, in association with Cleanroom Technology; and the LIVE lab. Most presentations were packed, with ‘standing room only’ the order of the day, especially for the keynote speakers, broadcaster Maggie Philbin, highlighting ‘Hidden Innovators’, and science presenter Steve Mould, anecdotally discussing ‘What it means to be a nerd’.
The Sustainable Laboratory area – another new feature for 2018 – proved to be a very important draw, with Jane Banks of The Science Council commenting: “Sustainability and innovation, which is at the heart of the laboratory industry, means that Lab Innovations is an event not to be missed”. Ruth Wilson, a researcher from Proctor & Gamble particularly enjoyed the focus on sustainability, “which is very relevant to my company. I would love to come again and will definitely be passing on a lot of information now and recommending it to my colleagues for next year.” Lab Innovations also presented a great opportunity to discover new options for improving efficiency in the lab, as Ralph Munonyedi, Microbiologist, Mondelez International, explained: “I’ve found many products that would be beneficial to use in our own laboratories to support efficiency savings – including time, costs and also energy.”
Conceived to support the industry by introducing purchasers to innovative products and ideas, Lab Innovations 2018 proved highly successful, as many exhibitors emphasised: “I wouldn’t miss it for the world,” said Christopher Austin, Managing Director, IKA England. “IKA are proud supporters of Lab Innovations…we want to come here and show our innovations, we’ll have more to show you next year, and we can’t wait.”
Stephen Dey, Operational Marketing Team Leader, Eppendorf UK, commented: “Lab Innovations is one of the only places where we get to see this breadth of customers. You get everyone here…and it gives us an opportunity to engage with a huge range of people.” Joshua Chapman, Marketing Director, Scientific Laboratory Supplies concurred, saying that Lab Innovations “is very much a priority on the scientific calendar for us and it’s one that we’re certainly going to be supporting for years to come.” New exhibitors were also impressed: “Lots of people placed pre-orders for our novel cell washer product,” said Amrat Imrali, of Imrali Inventions, with Jim Watts of Network Scientific, confirming that “It will definitely be worth coming back.”
Further underlining the significance of Lab Innovations for exhibitors, Simon Mortimer, Area Sales Manager, Veolia, observed: “It’s been a very busy and lively show. We’ve had a really enthusiastic response and have been talking pretty much non-stop with laboratory decision makers from organisations ranging from universities and pharma companies to the MoD and BP.” Sara Osman, EMEA Field Marketing Leader, PerkinElmer, summarised the exhibitor feedback saying: “We definitely made the right decision to attend and sponsor Lab Innovations as it has allowed us to meet new prospects, as well as catch up with many existing customers. We will definitely be back next year.”
The organisers are already working on providing even more reasons to visit and exhibit in 2019, with Lab Innovations Divisional Director, Alison Willis, commenting: “This seventh year of Lab Innovations has beaten all expectations and we are really looking forward to Lab Innovations 2019. We have over 76% of our current exhibitor space rebooked already and we will be growing the show next year; it will be even bigger and better.”
Lab Innovations 2019 will take place on 30th to 31st October 2019 at the NEC, Birmingham, UK.