From the viewpoint of a visitor, Samantha Morgan, Analytical Reporter.

Labotec decided that the month of October needed to be celebrated. They organised an event – aptly named Labotec EXPOsed – a four-day extravaganza of seminars, discussions, displays, and networking in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban. But it was no ordinary roadshow: it was Labotec’s very own Octoberfest.

Donned in Trachten vests and waistcoats belonging to a German traditional costume that is mostly worn in Bavaria and Austria, the Labotec team warmly welcomed delegates to the event, with offerings of free gifts, a traditional German lunch of Bratwurst and Frankfurters, accompanied by a fine craft beer to wash it all down. It was a feast on all levels and I was lucky enough to be invited.

This expo was a collaboration of specialists from South Africa, Switzerland and Germany, sharing their expertise with people in the industry. There was an underlying theme of Good Laboratory Practice (GLP), daily laboratory challenges and how to overcome them, and new standards within the laboratory industry. Day one in Johannesburg got off to a roaring start with a seminar in the Hofbrau Room, presented by Steve Sidney – Director and the Honorary Treasurer of the National Laboratory Association – South Africa (NLA-SA).

Running concurrently downstairs in the Löwenbrau Room was a seminar entitled: The media frenzy: How Integra can make you enjoy media preparation. This was presented by Hans Rudolph Merz of Integra Biosciences, Switzerland. Coffee and networking was the order of the day after each seminar: a chance to absorb all the wonderful information, write up a few notes and gather for the next sessions.

There were talks on centrifugation, media preparation, weighing, pipetting, equipment qualification, electronic documentation to FDA and water purity. While Liezl Wichmann of Labotec hosted a seminar entitled: Take the pH(ew) out of pH – Tips and tricks to make measuring pH a breeze, Michael Biljon of Gilroy’s Brewery entertained us with his seminar: Micro brewing – the art and science of crafting beer. A most valuable seminar indeed!

Industry experts also informed us about their current work. Dr Hendrik Hansen from Embryo Plus, where the first cloned animal in Africa was born, spoke about their quest in Assisted Reproductive technology to save endangered wildlife such as the Zimbabwean Black Rhino. Bianca Sansom from Geneway gave an enlightening lecture on current genotype trends in SA while Theresa de Beer from SA Grain spoke about gluten and dough rheology in baking.

Labotec’s proud offerings are built to last. Their suppliers produce products of the highest quality, for long lasting optimised use. Exciting new products launched included a brand new range of balances and furnaces called the Labotec Precision Series plus a new Buchi freeze dryer, the first of its kind to offer continuous operation.

Stefan Harth, CEO Labotec said, “With Labotec having German origins, the beerfest/seminar concept was born in the 70’s and is still going strong today. The event gives our staff, clients and suppliers an ideal platform to connect and exchange ideas. This year, Labotec EXPOsed was once again a testament to the excellent staff teamwork and high degree of professionalism so engrained at our firm. I was very proud to be able to showcase the event to our suppliers and clients and thank both for going that extra mile to attend the occasion and making this a success.”

So, four days of invaluable learning, informative discussions, networking and fun. Labotec’s mantra for this event was: Exposing knowledge, products and people. I for one look forward to the next one!