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Supporting laboratory work during coronavirus crisis


Shimadzu Corp. began selling Lab Total Smart Service Net and LabSolutions LCMS/Insight, respectively, on December 28. Lab Total Smart Service Net is a remote control software that makes it possible to confirm the operating status of liquid chromatographs (LCs) within labs on a smartphone or PC. LabSolutions LCMS/Insight is an analysis software for liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry (LCMS) that makes it possible to carry out the same analytical work as in a lab, even from outside a lab.

Accompanying the spread of coronavirus infections, lock-downs and stringent restrictions on going out have been put in place in regions worldwide. At companies and research institutions in fields such as medicine, food and chemistry, researchers and technicians have become unable to enter their labs, and this is impeding work such as research and development and quality control because they are unable to get near their analysis/measurement equipment.

It has also become difficult for the service engineers who carry out maintenance and inspections of the equipment to visit their customers’ labs. However, labs such as these are also bases for developing therapeutic agents, vaccines, antiseptic solutions, functional foods and other items that fulfill important roles in combating infections.

At the end of April 2020, when a state of emergency was declared in Japan, Shimadzu distributed free analysis software online to researchers unable to go to their labs. This initiative saw the software logging over 1,000 downloads cumulatively inside and outside Japan, centering on manufacturers of medicines and medicine ingredients, foods, hygiene products and so on.

Accordingly, in order to allow this function to continue to be used Shimadzu turned it into a product. Namely, the LabSolutions LCMS/Insight analysis software that the company brought to market recently. Up to now, when compiling measurement results for reports it was necessary to analyze the results on PCs in the labs. However, with LabSolutions LCMS/Insight it is possible to continue the analysis and report preparation work even while at home. Additionally, Shimadzu has been able to offer it at low cost, so that a greater number of researchers can use it more readily.

Furthermore, Lab Total Smart Service Net is a software that enables the operating status of all LCs in a lab to be managed remotely on a cloud server. In addition to equipment abnormalities or declines in consumables, it notifies administrators of URLs for maintenance and inspection websites by email.

In labs that use lots of equipment, confirming the operating status of individual equipment takes time and energy, but because this software makes it possible to readily grasp by video or other means how to respond, it contributes to improved operating rates for equipment and continuity of lab work.

In addition, Lab Total Smart Service Net does not require communications infrastructure such as a VPN (virtual private network) to be put in place, so it can be introduced at low cost.

This article has been translated by JST with permission from The Science News Ltd.( Unauthorized reproduction of the article and photographs is prohibited.

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