Depth and diversity at the Fair

Important but behind-the-scenes science and technology take center stage at the Global Technology Fair.

More than 500 colleagues from around the world participated in this inaugural fair held at the Mannheim site in mid-May. The 40 booths showcased innovations in manufacturing equipment technology and processes, ranging from the use of disposables in clinical manufacturing to 3-D printing technology for creating prototypes to evaluating laboratory facilities through virtual reality.

Ursula Redeker, General Manager, Roche Diagnostics Germany, welcomed participants. “Take the time to listen, to see, to learn from each other at this fascinating event,” Ursula said. “The depth and diversity here are immense.”

The theme of improving efficiency ran through many exhibits, said Karl-Heinz Kleimeier, Head of Manufacturing Service and Technology, Mannheim. Several booths highlighted efficiency through advances in automation; the Building Monitoring System exhibit showed how detailed monitoring of energy use could help make buildings significantly more energy-efficient.

Everyone’s a winner

As no fair is complete without games, one Mannheim team created a fun yet educational way to demonstrate their XTS eXtended linear Transport System. Using colored golf balls and a spinning wheel, they turned a small-scale model of the system into a game of chance. Every player walked away with a prize—and a glimpse into the potential manufacturing applications of this high-precision, high-speed system for challenging assembly and handling processes.

A special exhibit allowed visitors to don virtual reality (VR) stereoscopic headgear and then “walk through” a simulated manufacturing environment showing the new engineered Dispenser Verification Module (DVM) in place at Ventana/Roche Tissue Diagnostics (RTD) headquarters in Tucson, Arizona. The DVM earned Andreas Trapp and team the Roche Diagnostics Innovation Award (category: generate value).

The VR technology shows Roche Diagnostics’ fully automated workflow solutions. Since its 2012 introduction, it has been successfully applied in the EMEA/LATAM regions and used at trade shows, customer events and fairs.

“We have currently prepared one small, one mid-sized and two high-volume VR reference lab cases aimed at Roche Professional Diagnostics (RPD) that people can inspect and learn about,” said Peter Weisenburger, Head of Lab Design and Visualization in Mannheim. Future applications will focus on highly automated workflows in blood banking.

Tags: Science