The development of scientific instrumentation has profoundly impacted research and discovery, allowing experts to gain new insights into the world around us…

Take the electronic centrifuge (it was hand powered until 1912!) as an example. Without it, researchers would struggle to carry out processes like separating blood components, isolating DNA and purifying chemical samples.

Now, electronics are the backbone of most modern tools and equipment for research centres, laboratories and universities worldwide — with the scientific instruments market expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.2% until 2028.

As such, it is imperative that these tools are designed with the highest-quality electronics to ensure experts can guarantee consistent, controlled and repeatable research results…

The fate of faulty lab electronics

In scientific environments, even the tiniest equipment inconsistencies can create critical technical and safety issues.

Incubators, for example, demand reliable electronics to create a controlled and contaminant-free environment for the growth of cell and tissue cultures. The incubator’s microcontroller processes data from precise temperature and humidity sensors to control the conditions of the incubator. When the microcontroller notices a change in these conditions, it can activate the fan or lamp.

So, if the electronics in an incubator fail and the temperature and humidity are no longer regulated, the tissue culture (which is likely challenging to cultivate in the first place) could be impacted, compromising the experiment.

As research facilities are subjected to numerous potential hazards — including dangerous chemicals, biological substances, extreme temperatures and potential toxic gas emissions — it is also essential for every piece of equipment to be safe for use in high-risk environments…

The overheating of poor-quality electronics, especially around high-risk substances, can expose professionals to harmful conditions, for instance.

Many of today’s ultrasonic scientific instruments require cooling to ensure ambient temperatures do not reach extremes. For example, most ultrasonicator devices have fans to cool the power transistor circuitry — but if the generator is installed in a confined area or the fan mechanism is defective, the generator will cook and eventually fail. Not only is this dangerous, but the breakdown of an ultrasonicator could also affect the facilitation of cells, bacteria, spores or tissue.

So, how can scientific and industrial instrumentation equipment manufacturers guarantee accuracy — and prevent faults and downtime from tarnishing results or disrupting progress?

Introducing: instrument connectivity

Designing electronic lab equipment with advanced internet of things (IoT) connectivity allows research hubs to reach new heights in efficiency and collaboration — without compromising accuracy and reliability.

IoT sensors can facilitate boosted connectivity between research equipment and laboratory information management systems (LIMS) — supporting advanced data collection, software analysis and predictive maintenance to improve efficiency and accuracy in scientific settings.

Plus, instrument connectivity can help diagnose faults in scientific instrumentation and determine whether it functions correctly. For example, sensors in incubators can react immediately to correct sudden changes in the environment — before the different temperature or atmosphere affects cells in culture vessels.

IoT technology also allows research hubs to connect their equipment to a network that can be monitored from a workstation or mobile device remotely.

With the rollout of 5G connectivity (and its increased bandwidth), experts can have greater control — no matter where they are conducting their experiments — when it comes to parameter adjustments, data sampling and the storage and retrieval of information.

IoT and 5G connectivity also enables researchers to access each other’s lab readings in real time, eliminating the need for time-consuming and error-prone communication. As a result, collaboration is more efficient and accurate, leading to reliable (and faster) breakthroughs.

Wiring in the experts

Though the scientific instrumentation industry presents several attractive opportunities for original equipment manufacturers, these technological advancements mean the design of electronic components is becoming increasingly complex with many logistical considerations.

So, finding an electronics manufacturing services (EMS) provider with an established track record of developing high-quality products for scientific environments is crucial…

At EC Electronics, we are well versed in manufacturing PCB assemblies, cable assemblies and electronics box builds for use in instruments across a range of scientific research applications.

Our industrial and scientific instrumentation customers continue to use our electronic manufacturing services because we offer a truly bespoke service — as well as flexibility, advanced manufacturing capabilities and a commitment to consistent quality.

Our quality management systems (QMS) are certified in line with EN ISO/IEC 80079-34:2018 standards, meaning your electronics are manufactured to the highest specifications, and our team of IPC-A-610 and IPC/WHMA-A-620 certified specialists ensure reliability for all products in high-risk applications.

Our electronics manufacturing team can support your next scientific instrument project from concept to reality — bringing it to market competitively through our product realisation service. To discuss your requirements, get in touch at 01256 461894 or email