Implement IIoT with LIMS for your Lab 4.0

IIoT and LIMS for smart manufacturing

What is the scope of an IIoT-laboratory with connected IIoT-devices?

IIoT means Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and has a lot in common with the emerging Internet of Things (IoT), a virtually connected network of physical devices, such as lab equipment and instruments. This is the modern solution to solve tricky tasks that laboratory technicians have traditionally in a laboratory environment, causing hours or days of direct monitoring.

In addition to collecting data about equipment performance and laboratory conditions, lab technicians can use the IoT to deposit vast amounts of experimental data into the cloud directly from instruments and control experiments remotely.

But the question is: who (or what) is going to support humans in these processes, especially in the manufacturing fields? In this article, we will talk about the role of LIMS (laboratory information management system) software in the digitalization and automation of workflows and how it can be the bridge to your Lab 4.0. In particular, we will analyze the case of [FP]-LIMS, the LIMS solution designed by the German company Fink & Partner GmbH.

However, let us analyze some critical facts before fully answering this question.

For the first time, the expression “Internet of Things” was used in 1999. What does devices performing functions with the sporadic need for human interaction mean?

Together with the concepts of Machine-to-Machine (M2M), cyber-physical systems (CPS), Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), cloud and cognitive computing, digital supply chain, and artificial intelligence, Internet of Things (IoT) belongs to the root-concepts of Industry 4.0.

However, let us first distinguish between the Internet of Things (IoT) and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), which is essential to understand the role of LIMS.

Internet of Things has been a rising concept in the last 5 years. Thanks to the extensive use of the Internet Protocol (IP), the rise of ubiquitous computing and the developing use of data analytics have been putting the bases for the concept of IoT.

In other words Internet of Things can be explained as an extension of the Internet and other network connections to different sensors devices, mostly connected to other “smart” devices. Their most important quality is to interact – under the concept of interoperability – and share data with other devices and networks. All this with little or no need for human power or interaction.

Industrial Internet of Things (also written as Industrial IoT or IIoT) sets the concrete goals of the industrial digital transformation, better known as Industry 4.0. In fact, IIoT concerns automation, optimization, intelligent manufacturing and smart industry, performance management, maintenance, and industrial control.

In other words, we can say IIoT is the key to intelligent and smart manufacturing for improved and next-generation industrial processes. Some examples of concrete application of IIoT are:

This explains the digital transformation in the manufacturing industry, especially in a laboratory environment. In this transition process, LIMS plays a vital role as a bridge for improved and digitalized workflows and all IIoT-devices.

Considering the criteria mentioned above, [FP]-LIMS might be the solution to your lab struggles. It is, in fact, designed to connect many different measurement instruments from most other manufacturers. [FP]-LIMS is conceived to collect, merge, archive, track, evaluate (and much more!) all the data you usually manually import from your IIoT-devices.

[FP]-LIMS stores them all in one database, even if imported from different IIoT-devices produced by other manufacturers. Once your test results are all stored in the database, you can generate certificates and automatic reports with just one click! As we already mentioned in our article about Industry 4.0, by installing [FP]-LIMS to connect all your IIoT-devices, you can avoid using MS Excel and, therefore, the factor “human-mistakes” like typos.

  • Fink & Partner - modules - ERP module - SAP S/4HANA ®

[FP]-LIMS has another strong reason to be the key to be the right laboratory software for smart manufacturing systems: it can communicate with upper-level systems such as PLS and ERP. What makes it even more remarkable is that since 2020 [FP]-LIMS has the certified interface to SAP S/4HANA®, the next-business-generation ERP system for big enterprises. Inspection lots, tests, and production orders for non-ending implemented digital laboratory processes belong, therefore, to the strengths of this laboratory solution.

Designed to reduce costs, improve quality, production, and productivity, and enrich innovation: this is why [FP]-LIMS is made for your Lab 4.0 and smart manufacturing processes!

However, let us talk about one last, but not less important, characteristic of [FP]-LIMS and why it fits into the upcoming standards of the IIoT for data integrity

The safety of IIoT-devices and processes has been an arising question mark during the last years. In fact, technicians often ask themselves the question if the online storage of data might be safe. You can consider [FP]-LIMS not only as your lab assistant that collects, evaluates, and archives your data and samples but also as the bridge to store all of them in digital safe clouds, thanks to its secure certificate and digital identity.

Fink & Partner GmbH is developing an interface to store all your data into a blockchain as a hash with the purpose to keep them safe and avoid any kind of falsification.

In summary, we can affirm that [FP]-LIMS is, for these reasons, an excellent fit into the IIoT-world. It can fit the new upcoming standards of Industrial Internet of Things for smart manufacturing to turn laboratory into a Lab 4.0.