Tag Archives: laboratory furniture

Budget-Friendly Ideas for Overhauling Your Mass Spec Lab Furniture

Piggybank and calculatorLab environments are not always easy on furniture. Sometimes laboratory furniture is damaged from harsh conditions and raw materials. Other times, it can become weak and unstable from being moved around and wrestled into complex lab configurations, over and over again.

While we’d all like to replace everything in our labs with the latest and greatest lab furniture for every instrument, sometimes fiscal realities mean that’s just not possible.

Here are three suggestions for upgrading your lab furniture without going over budget.

Adding Casters to Your Laboratory Furniture

Mass spectrometers are heavy. Rearranging your lab can cause damage to these sensitive instruments—not to mention the backs of those who have to lift them. This shortens the lives of the equipment and can cause productivity delays when staff members have to take sick time from work.

If ordering new IonBench dedicated lab furniture (with its accompanying casters) isn’t an option yet, try installing heavy-duty casters on existing lab furniture. Many casters have a weight tolerance of as much as 1,000 pounds, so they should work for most, if not all, of your equipment.

Installing Additional Shelving in Your Lab

One of the common issues many labs face is insufficient storage space. This is a serious problem, especially if you find yourself storing dangerous raw materials on cluttered workspaces.

Rather than inviting serious lab accidents (which can also lead to lost productivity), take steps to create additional storage space in your newest lab configuration.

Sometimes you’ll discover there’s room for an entire new storage unit. Most of the time, however, you’ll need to get creative, taking a hard look at your lab and lab benches to see where you might create room to install additional shelving.

In addition to preventing accidents, clearing your lab workspace provides the added benefit of allowing you to work more ergonomically.

Incrementally Upgrading to High-Quality Lab Furniture

One way to aim for an ideal situation, where your lab is filled with only the safest and most efficient high-quality dedicated lab furniture, is to approach things incrementally.

First, take some time to determine which pieces of lab furniture are the oldest, least efficient, or most dangerous. Perhaps your mass spec lab furniture was bought to hold an older model and now teeters on the brink of collapse with the heavier weight or broader footprint of a more modern or complex instrument. Or maybe your HPLC lab bench can’t be raised or lowered, making for difficult servicing.

In such cases, investing in a single IonBench during each, or every other, budget cycle can gradually modernize your lab with safe and efficient equipment. Heavy-duty casters come standard with our mass spec lab furniture, making benches easy to move around the lab. In addition, IonBenches house three drawers for easily storing materials that are not in use.

Our HPLC bench also comes on casters and can easily be raised or lowered with the touch of a button, allowing you to safely adjust height in order to maintain solvents or inject materials into mass specs with a maximum of efficiency.

For more ideas to help you with your lab upgrading needs, contact us today.

 

How Smart Labs Battle Bad Vibrations

QuietThere are no “good vibrations” when it comes to your mass spec. Every new generation of mass spectrometer brings forth more sensitive machines that produce increasingly finer spectra. However, this increase in analytic power comes at a cost to the lab, which must maintain these sensitive machines in progressively more solid and stable lab conditions.

Keeping the damaging effects of vibration at bay can be done. Making sure you have the right lab furniture is key, but there are several other techniques smart labs use that we’ll share with you as well.

Sources of Sound and Vibration

First, let’s think about all the places vibrations can originate from. There are plenty of common sources of noise and movement in and around your lab environment that generate subtle but impactful vibration. With super-sensitive, modern mass spectrometry, even walking down a nearby hallway or closing a door can cause undue vibration. Vibrations can arise from cars going by outside the building and mechanical devices within it, such as elevators, HVAC units, compressors, pumps, etc. Buildings sway in response to weather and small movements of the earth, not to mention larger seismic activity. Even exhaust fans can contribute to bad vibrations if they become unbalanced.

Avoiding Bad Vibrations for Good Mass Spectrometry

Take a look at the Quiet Wing, created by the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory. This lab space was specifically engineered to minimize noise and vibration. Not every lab is in a position to build such a protected building from the ground up, but there are some easier and less expensive changes that can be made:

  • If possible, locate your mass spectrometry labs on the lowest floors of your research building to decrease the effect of building sway, weather, and seismic activity.
  • Keep sensitive mass specs far away from elevators, HVAC systems, compressors, etc.
  • Installing acoustic tiles and other sound-absorbing materials on walls and ceilings can help minimize vibration.
  • Incorporating signage that reminds lab personnel of the importance of keeping noise and physical activity down whenever possible.

Minimize Vibration with Good Laboratory Furniture

Vibration not only impacts the performance of sensitive mass specs, it can also shorten the lifespan of their components, especially the turbomolecular pumps. The irony is that vacuum pumps also create vibration, challenging mass spectrometry teams to create the vibration free environment needed for their research.

The surest solution is to invest in dedicated laboratory furniture with isolating vacuum pump enclosures, like the IonBench MS. Our enclosures reduce vacuum pump noise by a guaranteed 15 dbA, eliminating the miniscule, but measurable, vibrations created by significant noise.

These enclosures are mounted on patented dampening springs which absorb 99% of vibration transfer. We believe every lab can benefit by utilizing mass spectrometry laboratory furniture that both isolates noise and eliminates vibration—regardless of the building or environment in which it is set. IonBench MS tackles the noise and vibration issues at the source itself.

To learn more about how our laboratory furniture eliminates bad vibrations, contact us today to request a quote or to get your questions about integrating IonBench MS into your lab answered. Your mass spec will thank you for it.

Learning to Love Your Lab Safety Officer: Why Bother?

LSOLab safety officers – love them or hate them, you must respect the critical tasks they are charged with accomplishing. His or her most basic responsibility is for the safety of the lab, ensuring compliance with federal and state regulations dealing with technical subjects. The lab safety officer has an important role in training lab personnel to meet occupational safety and health standards. They also serve as a liaison between the lab and EH&S, to make sure the lab is in compliance, maintaining safety and regulatory information, including Material Safety Data Sheets. If there’s a question about regulatory information, the lab safety officer gets that information from EH&S. He or she has other functions, but these are some of the most significant.

Lab Safety Regulations Aren’t Just Nagging

When you see the job of the lab safety officer described in print, it’s easy to understand the importance of it. Day to day, however, the reality can be different. The lab safety officer is often an unpopular person around the facility, like a substitute teacher who stays all year. There’s a perception that the officer’s strict focus on safety regulations and paperwork get in the way of research progress. Lab safety officers can be especially disliked in industrial labs, where regulation is very strict.

In academic labs, the lab safety officer’s role is often taken less seriously because academic labs are not so strictly regulated. Unfortunately, 2016 brought plenty of evidence that lab safety should be a greater concern in academic labs. Serious accidents at the University of Hawaii-Manoa and Dickinson State University in North Dakota demonstrate the value of stricter safety standards in academic labs. It’s likely that the people involved in both these accidents believed they were safe enough, but as it turned out, they were not. The Hawaii incident, in particular, revealed systemic safety failures in the lab that had gone on for a long time.

Create a Culture of Lab Safety

Researchers are focused on results, and it’s understandable that they might view the lab safety officer’s efforts as nagging that gets in the way of achieving those results. But we’ve said it before: Lab safety should be embraced by everyone who works in your lab.

Create a culture of safety starting at the very top of the lab hierarchy that reaches down to the most junior member of the team. Getting past any adversarial relationships between the lab safety officer and members of your team is the first step. The lab safety officer really doesn’t want to interfere—he or she wants you and your people to maintain safe practices and a safe lab environment so you can achieve your research goals. Take their recommended steps, whether it’s wearing proper safety equipment every time or eliminating clutter down to the last scrap.

Another contributor to improved lab safety is IonBench dedicated laboratory furniture, which can alleviate several potential safety concerns, like noise and the heavy lifting of weighty mass spectrometers and HPLCs. Contact us to learn how our lab furniture can add an extra level of safety to your laboratory.