The laboratory equipment industry has witnessed a steady growth over the past few years led by continuous demand from various end-user segments at a global level. The laboratory equipment market is driven by the pharmaceutical industry which constitutes 38 percent of the overall demand for lab equipment and supplies. Globally, the growth of the lab equipment market is strong in emerging markets such as China and India and stable in developed markets of North America. The adoption rate of new technologies has been decelerated by financial pressures and high acquisition costs despite the interest of the pharmaceutical industry in new hybrid technologies.
Apart from pharmaceuticals, laboratory equipment services are also used by biotechnology companies, clinical & diagnostic laboratories, environmental testing industry, agriculture & food industry, and by academic institutes. The current laboratory equipment services market consists of general equipment, analytical equipment, specialty equipment, and support equipment. The most popular service providers are original equipment manufacturers and third-party service agencies. While laboratory equipment comes at a considerable expense, proper maintenance protocols ensure that the equipment has a long life.
Recent sensational trends of laboratory equipment services market are:
The concept of 3-D printing and the flexibility it offers has revolutionized the field of production and is used by industries ranging from medicine to engineering and construction, although the costs involved currently limit its use. However, considering the costs involved in the production of laboratory equipment, 3-D printing is a cost-effective alternative, and also provides effective means to customize the equipment design as needed. Also, the material used for 3-D printing is also changeable and can be selected to suit the application of the concerned lab equipment.
Lab equipment is becoming smaller than ever, increasing the portability of devices which makes field testing easier. Smaller equipment is cost-effective and saves time that would have otherwise gone in transporting samples to elaborate labs for simple procedures that can be conducted directly in the field. Even used in laboratory settings, smaller equipment saves space in terms of storage and space to conduct the experiments. New technology has made it easier to get a full analysis from smaller samplers, saving space and time in the storage of large samples. The use of smaller equipment with smaller valves also reduces the risk of contamination of larger samples. The maintenance of smaller equipment is also easier, cheaper and quicker, making this a trend that is expected to stay.
Although lab equipment automation is not an entirely new concept, the technology involved is advancing at a rapid pace. The new technology is more focused towards a continuous flow of information, decreasing the requirements of batching experiments and providing more functional flexibility across applications. The automation of lab equipment serves to eliminate time-consuming and repetitive steps, enabling a single machine to do multiple tasks without manual efforts. As a result, speed and accuracy are improved and laboratory technicians can redirect their time towards analysis of the data rather than spending time in recording it. Automated lab equipment can be used in the areas of primary screening, genomics, proteomics, and robotics.
The use of cloud technology has grown exponentially across multiple industries for various purposes of recording information at a remote and accessible location. The lab equipment market is also tapping into the usefulness of having cloud technology, by providing lab equipment that can record data and save it to the cloud. In addition, the equipment can also provide alerts in case there is any error.
In any laboratory environment, careful monitoring and recording of data are essential and safekeeping of the data gathered is also important. The cloud technology aids scientists in safe storage of data and easy accessibility which allows them to share the findings sooner than would otherwise be possible. For a multi-scientist project across different locations, lab equipment with cloud technology streamlines the process resulting in higher productivity, quicker turnaround time and minimal errors.
Environmental concerns are growing at a global level, permeating through all the industries, including scientific research and laboratory operations. Traditional lab equipment tends to take up a lot of energy and resources, which is expensive and not very environmentally friendly. As a result, there is an increasing initiative to utilize energy efficient, eco-friendly and sustainable laboratories and lab equipment. Efforts to support sustainability include the establishment of new ‘open labs’ all over the world where independent researchers share equipment and resources.
The laboratory equipment services market has been growing at a steady rate at a global level led by the pharmaceutical industry and supplemented by other research industries. Driven by the demand for laboratory equipment, new trends and innovations in the market are coming up, to provide cost-effective, personalized and eco-friendly solutions.