This figure is projected to grow by as much as 8 per cent in the coming year to €5.7bn, according to figures gathered by Spectaris, the German Industry Association for Optical, Medical and Mechatronical Technologies. The positive data was presented during a talk presented by Sven Behrens, CEO of Spectaris at the L.A.B. UK trade show last week. The talk, entitled "The Market for Analytical, Bio and Laboratory Equipment - Figures, Trends & Tendencies", described the recent growth in the German market as well as highlighting the fact that exports from Germany accounted for 22 per cent of the world laboratory equipment market. The second largest exporter in Europe is the UK, which accounts for 7 per cent of the world market - together the UK and Germany account for half of European exports. In 2006, revenue from domestic sales of laboratory equipment accounted for 47 per cent (€2.52bn) of the total €5.3bn market, while exports from the country accounted for 53 per cent (€2.80bn) of total revenues derived from the sector. The forecast of 8 per cent growth for the sector to €5.7bn in 2007 involves a 9 per cent projected increase in revenue from exports and a 7 per cent increase from domestic revenues. The proportion of innovative products that were less than three years old account for nearly one third (29.2 per cent) of sales in the country, this is not too surprising as Spectaris estimates that the industry invests 8.6 per cent of its income into R&D - far more than the 5 per cent average in other industries. "This high rate of innovation is very impressive and the number of skilled people working in R&D departments helps the European Analytical and Laboratory equipment industry to be among the world leaders," Behrens told LabTechnologist in an interview. With end-users constantly looking for more efficient and more accurate methods of analysis the need for continuing innovation is likely to continue unabated. The industry currently employs over 32,000 people between 327 different companies that supply analysis tools for quality control (QC) applications, biotechnology and life science tools and general laboratory equipment. "The industry is an enabling industry that is both an innovation driver and a job provider. Companies in the sector depend on highly-skilled employees and even if times are rough they don't let them go because they regard them as a key asset," said Behrens. He continued by highlighting several major trends in the industry including the miniaturisation of reactions using microfluidics and flow systems that enable faster reactions and smaller quantities of expensive reactants to be used. High-throughput (HT) screening technologies that enable researchers to quickly conduct millions of biochemical, genetic or pharmacological tests are predicted to remain a major growth driver as the pharmaceutical industry continues to search for increased research efficiency. In addition, the automatic collection and processing of data in integrated quality control (QC) process will continue to close the gap between manufacturing and the laboratory. The high growth and healthy outlook for the industry was one of the key drivers for the L.A.B. UK show and organisers Leipziger Messe were very pleased with the inaugural event that saw 88 exhibitors and 1,300 visitors lay the foundations for future L.A.B. shows in the UK. "We believe that the laboratory industry in the UK now has a new home at L.A.B., and while there are some things to work on we have the support of most of the exhibitors for the next show in 2009," said Wolfgang Marzin, CEO of Leipziger Messe. "We believe that this show has huge potential that and I think we have laid the cornerstone for a truly international trade show in the UK."