As you might imagine, we get a lot of questions from lab managers and other professionals who are researching furniture for their labs. First-time buyers of dedicated lab furniture for mass spectrometry, HPLC, and related instruments often bring up some excellent points. Tim Hawkins, our IonBench expert, hears one question frequently: “Why can’t I build a good MS bench myself?” Read on, for our multi-part answer to this commonly asked question.
Yes, You Could, But…
The short answer to the above question is, “Well, actually you could build something similar yourself.” You could go to your local home improvement warehouse store, pick up similar, but likely less quality materials, and construct a basic piece of lab furniture on your own. You could build a sturdy table and make it the size and shape you need for the portion of your lab that’s set aside for mass spectrometry. You might even save a little money in the process.
However, there’s a lot more to developing a reliable and safe piece of dedicated lab furniture than what we just mentioned—which is why our IonBenches cost more than what you might build yourself.
Designing the Best Dedicated Lab Furniture
Let’s begin by talking about the design. We’ve seen a lot of labs in action and we understand how to make our IonBenches function efficiently in any lab configuration or situation. We know what types of electrical and other connections need to be included in the design and where they should enter and exit the bench without getting in the way of the mass spectrometer or becoming pinched or rubbed when the bench is moved.
We understand that mass spectrometry involves supporting the significant weight of these instruments while also allowing you to safely move your instrument around the lab. This is why we build our MS benches with strong, sturdy caster wheels—to keep your benches mobile and your procedures always moving forward.
Using the Right Materials for Mass Spectrometry
The materials used in our dedicated lab furniture—like those caster wheels—are another key component of our successful IonBenches. Mass spectrometry involves heat, oil, and a lot of noise from the roughing pumps. If you build a basic cabinet with materials from a home improvement store, you’re potentially introducing lab safety hazards that could result in a fire or accident.
For example, not all foams and laminates—and the glues that hold them—are up to the task. Can those materials tolerate the heat that is generated by roughing pumps? Remember, those pumps have to be put in some kind of insulated cabinet in order to keep lab noise down to a workable—and safe—level. Basic residential foam insulation and laminate choices also may not be able to handle the oils and various chemicals found in modern labs.
Valuing Expertise and Experience
There is a final reason why we believe you should leave the building of dedicated lab furniture to the experts. Just as expertise is key to the success of your lab procedures, the same is true with the building of lab benches.
As research professionals, you have been trained to run samples or manage the people who do. Through your education and experience, you have learned what’s required to run a lab in a safe and efficient manner. But chances are that education and experience, while considerable, didn’t include learning how to construct reliable, safe, and efficient lab benches. In other words, you’re better off spending time doing the things you’re paid to do.
In the end, it comes down to efficiency as much as anything else: Why spend your time and energy attempting to do something you haven’t been trained to do when you can instead rely on the dedicated lab furniture professionals at IonBench, who are experts in their field?
To discuss more of the advantages of our mass spectrometry furniture—or ask any other questions you may have—Tim Hawkins will be glad to help you. Please reach out to him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-888-669-1233.