Keeping Your HPLC and Mass Spectrometer Safe in Earthquake Zones

earthquake-mass-spectrometer-safeRecently, a client reached out to us and asked how they could keep their mass spectrometer safe in an earthquake. We thought we’d share our answer, as some of our readers and clients—for instance those working in notorious earthquake zones like California or Japan—could no doubt benefit from the advice. While earthquakes are unpredictable and nothing is certain when it comes to protecting your equipment from them, here are our suggestions for keeping your mass spec and HPLC safe if your lab is in an earthquake zone.

Strap It Down

To start with, you can customize any of our IonBenches with strap holes. This allows you to strap your MS or HPLC to your dedicated lab furniture. For straps, you can use a smaller version of the same type of secure, flat strapping material that truckers use to strap down loads. These straps can handle sharp edges to some extent, so you’ll be able to safely strap down your equipment.

Now, the mass spectrometer is a pretty heavy machine with a lower center of gravity, so the chance of it falling off your lab bench, at least in a smaller earthquake, is reduced.

The HPLC, however, is another matter. When you’ve got a 40-inch-tall machine on top of a 34-inch-high piece of dedicated lab furniture, the equipment is standing six feet off the floor. The solvents at the very top, of course, are an additional hazard if they spill or if the HPLC itself topples over. For this reason, we highly recommend strapping down your HPLC if your lab is in an earthquake zone.

Don’t Lock It Up

Another recommendation made to us by some of our clients in earthquake prone areas is to leave the caster wheels unlocked on your dedicated lab furniture.

Naturally, we’ve put locks on our lab bench wheels because leaving the bench unlocked is not a good idea in general terms. If you bump up against a bench while a mass spectrometer is operating, the turbomolecular pump could be damaged, or even blow up. So if you don’t work in an earthquake zone, lock those wheels!

On the other hand, experience has shown that if you leave the wheels unlocked and the floor starts to shift, the bench absorbs some of the energy and moves in opposition to the floor. This means that the energy is not translated up to the instrument and it’s less likely to wobble or fall off.

So if you work in an earthquake zone, you might want to park your mass spectrometer in an out-of-the-way place—but not right up against a wall—and leave the casters unlocked.

Trust in IonBench’s Strength to Protect Your Mass Spectrometer and Other Lab Equipment

Of course, when we build the IonBench, we build it strong enough to sustain a lot of wear and tear. With a tubular steel structure and a work surface that’s over an inch thick, nothing is going to snap or break off should the bench strike any sort of object while it’s moving or if anything lands on it. This provides protection for the rest of your lab during an earthquake.

It’s also another reason to choose dedicated lab furniture for all of your lab equipment, not just the HPLC and mass spectrometer. For more information on our customizable lab benches, give us a call today.