Lab work can be a messy business, even in a sterile environment, and lab benches can really take a beating. When it comes to keeping your expensive equipment and precious projects safe, there are four big reasons why you cannot expect inexpensive lab furniture to perform as well as high-quality dedicated lab benches.
The expensive equipment and machinery in your lab weigh a lot. Imagine for a moment how it would feel to hold a machine weighing anywhere from 400-700 pounds, constantly, day after day. Lab furniture never gets a break from gravity, so it must be built to stand immense amounts of pressure—the sort of pressure that will crush any of the cheaper department store furniture you might try to convert into lab benches.
Sure, you can find a metal trolley on wheels that claims to be able to move a thousand pounds—but it’s not just the structure of the bench that matters. Wheels can flatten over time, especially if they aren’t moved frequently. The rubber the wheels are made of gets stiff and when it’s time to move your equipment around, it will crack, and allow the air to escape. Scooting that half-ton machine around on useless, flat wheels is difficult, and the vibrations caused by doing so can cause irreparable damage to your mass spectrometer or other equipment.
Gouging and Dents
There are other dangers involved with moving your expensive instruments around the lab. Most lab instruments rest on rubber feet which are intended to minimize vibration and aren’t so much concerned with protecting the surface of the furniture below. Sliding them around eventually wears out the rubber feet, and scratches and dents are likely to result in the laminate surface of the furniture—or worse, the laminate could pull away from the base material altogether. This leaves room for dirt and bacteria to nestle in and take up residence.
Solvents and Surfaces
Tearing the laminate opens the door to yet another problem with cheaper lab benches. Sure, you can get a bench with a chemically resistant surface, since solvents are often corrosive. But if you get even the smallest tear in your laminate, it will allow spilled solvents to seep between the laminate and the base material on your lab furniture. This will prove nearly impossible to clean and eventually eat away at the bench surface, destroying it.
Handling the Heat
This last danger is an element that gets below the surface of your lab bench. If you choose a cheaper bench for your mass spec, you’re probably going to find yourself constructing your own acoustic cabinet for those noisy vacuum pumps. The problem is that the materials in many foams and glues can’t stand the heat generated by vacuum pumps. Over time, those materials will degrade, causing the foam to fall apart and the glue to separate. In a worst-case scenario, falling foam could even cause a fire when it hits your vacuum pumps, creating a serious lab safety issue.
How Our Dedicated Lab Furniture Stands Up to Wear and Tear
Now that we’ve got you worried, we want to reassure you that none of these issues are insurmountable. We’ve carefully addressed each of these problems with IonBench dedicated lab furniture. It comes with solidly built, lockable casters and a weight capacity of 440 kilograms or 970 pounds. The laminate work surface is designed without joints and an epoxy resin work surface upgrade is available. Our built-in vacuum pump enclosure is designed to take the heat and even comes with a temperature alarm.
We are also happy to provide you with tips for prolonging your investment. So connect with us for information and answers to your questions about how dedicated lab furniture can improve safety and reliability in your laboratory.