Monthly Archives: November 2017

Incorporating Operating Expenses into Your Mass Spec Budget

OPEXWhether you’re adding your first mass spec to a brand-new lab or simply incorporating additional equipment into an expanding facility, you need to plan for both capital and operating expenses. We’ve talked about capital expenses, which include not only the machine itself, but also appropriate lab preparation, dedicated lab furniture, and one-time purchases of necessary accessories. Here, we will take a closer look at the accompanying operating expenses you need to include in your mass spec budget.

Consumables and Accessories

When it comes to a mass spec usage budget, most managers think first about consumables. This is appropriate, but can vary widely, depending on the number of samples being analyzed each month and the type and nature of those samples.

Gases and Solvents: Having enough gases and high-quality solvents on hand is critical for the smooth operation of any lab.

Cleaning supplies: You will need to remember to include cleanup materials in your mass spec budget as well, because, as we all know, accidents happen. For an additional level of lab safety, and as a way to cut down on damage control costs, you can prevent spills and injuries by investing in elevating dedicated lab furniture.

Accessories: There are many types of operational accessories that you will need to include in your mass spec budget. Some are disposable, or one-time use only and will need to be replaced regularly:

    • Chromatography columns
    • Ion samplers
    • Skimmer and sample cones
    • Dust filters
    • Flow interfaces, controllers and tubes
    • Autosamplers
    • Sample handling kits
    • Assay kits
    • Slit systems
    • Pump and anode tubing
    • Nebulizers
    • Connector kits

Machine Service and Maintenance

Regular maintenance is critical to minimizing downtime and insuring lab safety. This is a significant annual expense, which can run between five and ten percent of the initial cost of the MS. Tuning and calibration must be performed by licensed service technicians. These expenses will be lower if you have invested in dedicated lab furniture to support your mass spec. Furniture like our IonBench MS uses high-quality springs to minimize the amount of vibration and other movement that can shorten the life of MS components such as turbopumps.

Additional Mass Spec Budget Costs

There are a variety of other costs associated with operating any MS that might not be so obvious when you are setting up a mass spec budget for the first time.

Training: First, you need to train all users on each type of mass spec to maximize efficiency and promote lab safety. The level of training needed will vary, depending on the rate of lab worker turnover and the sophistication of the operations being performed.

Software: Second, you will need to keep appropriate accompanying software up to date.

Energy costs: Third, don’t forget the significant costs for electricity, not just for the mass spec, but also for ancillary machinery needed to keep your lab cool and safe.

If you want to run a safe and productive lab, it’s important to plan ahead. Consider both your capital and operating costs and configure your lab in the most efficient manner possible. Keep sufficient consumables on hand—safely housed in dedicated lab furniture to prevent lab safety accidents—and make sure to rotate stock regularly to maintain the freshness of your materials. Should you have any questions about how our IonBench products can help cut down on your operating expenses, please contact us today.

Capital Expenses: Five Components to Your Mass Spec Budget

2018 BudgetSometimes budgeting can be especially tricky. This is most true when contemplating the capital budget. When you buy most equipment, you hope—and plan—that it’s going to last quite a few years.

So, when it’s time to expand your lab or replace an outdated MS model, you’ll want to make sure you’ve put together a comprehensive budget that accounts for all foreseeable expenses. Trust us, you’ll be glad you took the time to submit a thorough and accurate request for funding the first time around.

Five Components of Your Mass Spec Budget

There are five categories you need to consider in crafting a complete mass spec budget. (If you’re looking for tips on other types of preparation, we’ve covered that too.)

  1. The Equipment Itself – Naturally, your new mass spectrometer is going to be your primary expense. While the MS itself is important, also be sure to calculate the cost of shipping, delivery, and safely getting that mass spec into place once it arrives.
     
  2. Mass Spec Accessories – What types of technologies will need to interface with your new MS? Is your current computer up to the task? Do you have access to an updated mass spectral database for analysis?
     
    Will you want one or more interface machines, a spray chamber accessory, consumable kits, sample cones, tubing, connector systems, flow controllers, a new gas bench? The list goes on. Take time to consider each type of process your new MS can be expected to handle, and what accessories you will need to make each happen smoothly and seamlessly.
  1. Lab Preparation – Will you need to requisition construction or install any materials to prepare your lab space for the new arrival? Should soundproofing be put in, or is your lab already prepared? Once the purchase is approved, you’ll want to get going on this as soon as practical, keeping in mind that construction projects can cause complications for ongoing work in your lab.
     
  2. Dedicated Storage Furniture – We’ve stressed the importance of having specially designed and dedicated storage available for combustible and otherwise dangerous elements that are used with the new MS in your lab. If this applies to your lab’s scope of work, make sure your budget includes proper storage shelving, cabinets and drawers, (and that the lab design of your construction project includes space for these storage elements).
     
  3. Proper Support for Your New Mass Spectrometer – After going to all this trouble and expense, you certainly want to make sure your new mass spec will be housed as safely and securely as possible in its new environment. This means investing in dedicated lab furniture that is not only strong enough to support the MS, but also all those supplies and peripherals you’re now ordering.

Remember to account for noise reduction: Will the MS be noisy enough that you should enclose the vacuum pumps in either our IonBench MS or a vacuum pump enclosure?

Incorporating Lab Safety into Your Mass Spec Budget

If you want to run a safe and productive lab, you need to plan. Getting approval for significant capital budget items is important, and making sure those numbers are accurate is just as critical. Consider your costs and configure your lab as safely as possible, and your foresight will be rewarded. To learn more, contact us today.

 

It All Adds Up: The Non-Auditory Effects of Lab Noise

Ear PlugNoise is a hazard in many modern work environments, and the lab is no different. A variety of issues arise when people are exposed to excess noise—and not all of them have to do with hearing loss. Lab managers need to pay attention to these noise related dangers—and learn about possible solutions, thereby increasing lab safety and disruption in the laboratory workplace.

Non-Auditory Effects of Occupational Noise

Over the years, researchers have determined that there are numerous effects that impact humans who are exposed to excess noise in the workplace. The first thing that comes to mind for many of us is hearing loss. While that’s a legitimate concern in workplaces that have very high noise levels, today we’re going to focus instead on the non-auditory effects that result from an excess of low-level noise:

Annoyance – While we understand that everyone can occasionally get upset over something, a steady diet of increased noise can make us upset over everything. This increase in annoyance can manifest in anger, exhaustion, and other stress-related symptoms.

Cardiovascular Disease – This one may surprise a lot of people, and it’s significant enough that we’ve talked about it before. Our bodies naturally respond to noise with increased blood pressure and heart rate. Over time, these responses put stress on the heart.

Cognitive Performance – One of the most troubling results from research is that exposure to excess noise has a negative impact on learning. Students exposed to excess noise do worse on cognitive tests, have more memory issues, and demonstrate poorer reading skills.

What Noise Levels Cause Lab Safety Issues?

How do you know if you need to implement noise reduction at your lab or workplace? Get out the sound meter. OSHA standards state that an average time-weighted noise level exposure over an eight-hour shift must not exceed 85 dBA. It is the accumulated effect of all noise sources which result in this noise level limit—meaning that all noise factors must be counted in the total.

With regard to laboratories, OSHA states: “The recommended upper limit for noise for speech to be intelligible is 55 dBA. If the noise level in the laboratory is too high for the staff to hear what is being said, whether in conversation or on the telephone, there is a danger of misunderstanding instructions or laboratory results.” (1)

Here are the three categories of causes that impact these noise level limits:

EquipmentJust about every piece of lab equipment generates some level of noise. In addition to mass spec vacuum pumps, we can think of fume hoods, fridges and freezers, compressors, homogenizers, stirrers, even the rock crushers in a geology lab. Together, all this equipment can really get your lab humming, making it hard to hear, hard to think, and hard to know when a situation reaches a critical lab safety threshold.

Human Activity – In addition to equipment, humans bring additional noise into the lab environment. Sometimes it’s radios and phones, which are used to drown out the other noises. Other times, it’s conversations, teaching moments, and simply the miscellaneous noises generated when humans work together in a lab environment. Each of these contribute to the noise level total.

External Environmental Sources – No lab exists in a vacuum—even if it’s working hard to create one. If your lab is in an industrial area, some noise from the industries around will seep into your facility. Vehicular traffic, the occasional siren, or even a loud thunderstorm will amp up the noise level until it becomes a lab safety issue.

Lab Noise Reduction Options

Naturally, where there is a problem, scientists work to find solutions. Some of the most effective lab noise reduction options include:

  • Sound dampening materials for walls, ceilings and floors
  • Strategic placement of noisy equipment, including into adjacent, sound-proofed rooms, if you’re in the design phase for a new or refurbished lab
  • Selecting lab equipment that’s designed to emit lower noise levels
  • Investing in dedicated lab furniture such as IonBench MS and IonBench LC
  • Isolating noisy vacuum pumps with specifically designed enclosures

The bottom line is that lab noise reduction will make for happier, calmer, safer, more productive staff and researchers. To learn more, request a quote from us today.

References:
(1) 
OSHA Fact Sheet 3463 8/2011 “Laboratory Safety Noise”