Tag Archives: Lab Bench Maintenance

Five More Lab Bench Maintenance Tips for Your Dedicated Lab Furniture

One of our most popular posts provided some maintenance tips to extend the life of your dedicated lab furniture. Those tips have been so useful that we decided to add five more lab bench maintenance steps you can take to prolong the life of your IonBench (or any dedicated lab furniture) and the valuable mass spec that lives atop it.

1.    Replace Overheat Alarm Batteries

Our IonBench MS comes with an overheat alarm that is designed to warn you if the vacuum pump enclosures become overheated. (This is one of many reasons why it makes good sense to invest in dedicated lab furniture rather than re-purposing standard furniture to hold your mass spec.) Two AA batteries provide power to the overheat alarm. You can check the power at any time by pressing on the black button (see photo), but we recommend that these AA batteries be replaced annually.

2.    Check Air Intake for Blockage

One reason that the vacuum pump enclosure can overheat is that the air intake becomes blocked. In a crowded lab (which many are), storage space is at a premium. Staff can realize that there’s space under your dedicated lab furniture and decide to use it for storage.

However, with the IonBench MS, the enclosure’s air intake is located underneath the machine. This can mean the intake gets blocked when the area is used for storage, causing the vacuum pump enclosure to more easily overheat. (Using that space for storage can also make the lab bench more difficult and dangerous to move if a lab tech doesn’t realize that someone else used the space for storage!)

3.    Check Enclosure Door

Because it is opened and closed on a regular basis, the vacuum pump enclosure door may eventually become misaligned due to hinges loosening or someone leaning on the door as they stand up. If the door for your dedicated lab furniture is not well aligned, it will affect the bench’s ability to block vacuum pump noise, increasing the possibility of moderate noise effects such as annoyance, mishearing communications, and the potential for lab accidents.

If your IonBench MS door is no longer aligned, contact Tim Hawkins by email or at 1-888-669-1233. He can send you an easy to follow, step-by-step guide to readjusting this important piece of your lab bench’s noise suppression system.

4.    Prevent Caster Wheels from Flattening

Our dedicated lab furniture comes with solid casters that are engineered to withstand a lot of bulk. Those casters support an IonBench that weighs over 220 kg in addition to the weight of the MS and other instruments and computers it supports.

While the casters are strong, any wheel will eventually flatten if it is not moved periodically. We recommend that, when it is safe to do so, you move your dedicated lab furniture back and forth about 30 cm to redistribute the weight on those casters and keep all parts of them strong and flexible.

5.    Check Power Cable

Over time, especially if you do move your mass spec around your lab with the help of those handy caster wheels, the power cable might become frayed (see photo). Check it regularly and order a replacement if required.

We hope you find these additional lab bench maintenance tips helpful. If you have other maintenance questions, please contact Tim Hawkins for expert assistance.

Pointers for Lab Bench Maintenance and Countertop Care

Do's & Dont'sRemember the adage about being “part of the furniture?” It usually refers to something or someone that is such a reliable and regular feature that they are taken for granted or seen as a permanent fixture. If you’re fortunate, you might have a long-serving lab tech or two who are like that. The ones that always get their jobs done, and are generally low-maintenance. Even those steadfast lab techs need occasional attention, and so does your dedicated lab furniture.

All furniture—even incredibly durable dedicated lab furniture—requires proper care. We’ll share some cleaning and maintenance tips that will address the dos and don’ts of keeping your lab furniture and countertops in tip-top shape.

Lab Bench Vulnerabilities

But first—what are the risks? Unless a surface is made of diamonds or a solid sheet of Q-carbon (and frankly, could you afford to have it in your lab if it was?), any surface is vulnerable to damage if not cared for properly. Lab bench countertops can be damaged by any of the following:

  • Immense weight—stacking too much equipment on one surface can cause structural damage to the average bench. Good news is, our IonBench is equipped with specially-built casters that help support heavy equipment. The weight of equipment can also lead to…
  • Scratches and dents—something that is much more likely to happen with laminate, but can still damage Chem Res™ and other epoxy resin countertops if one is not careful.
  • Spilled solvents—which is why it’s critical to clean up any spill in your lab long before it has a chance to seep into cracks or the seams of the countertop (our countertop is seamless in design, to help eliminate risk of damage).
  • Heat and flame—fire-resistant (which our countertops are) does not mean fireproof, which is why no lab experiment should ever be left unattended.

Lab Bench Maintenance Will Extend the Life of Your Furniture

The epoxy resin used for the IonBench LC and the Chem Res™ countertops used for other IonBench products are largely heat, moisture, and flame resistant. With proper lab bench care, these types of countertops can last for many years.

Here are some tips for preserving the shine and maximizing the longevity of your new countertop.

  • Avoid cleaning liquids and supplies that contain abrasives. These can dull or scratch that new-bench shine.
  • Avoid waxes, or polishes that contain wax.
  • Use mild dish soap and water for daily cleaning.
  • With major spills, avoid volatile cleaning compounds such as acetone or paint thinner, which can permeate the lab and compromise future analysis results. Crystal Simple Green is a much safer lab bench care option.
  • Avoid scouring pads, except for white Scotch-Brite® Light Duty pads—which must always be used wet.
  • We prefer chamois cloths, which are both absorbent and gentle. If those are a little too costly for your budget, cotton rags and towels will also work.
  • Metal equipment can mar the surface. Ensure that the rubber feet of your various types of equipment are present and intact.
  • If scratches do result from metal contact, use the cleaning process above and apply extra elbow grease to remove any minuscule amounts of metal that may get left behind.

The bottom line is that nothing, and no one, should be considered just “part of the furniture.” There are many different aspects that can contribute to your lab’s success, and proper care of your surfaces is one of them.

To learn more about dedicated lab furniture that is built to withstand the many tests of time and everyday wear, contact us today.