Tag Archives: mass spec

Mass Spec Lab Design Trends: Supporting a Collaborative Workplace

07Proper lab design can be critical for successful research. Over the years, many mass spec lab design trends have come and gone.

It’s why we think it’s important to stay up on the latest trends unfolding in the field—and it also gives us the opportunity to mention how well our dedicated lab furniture can fit into labs designed using the latest ideas.

Collaboration Is Key

These days, there’s a definite move toward more collaboration. Historically, facilities tended toward a siloed type of mass spec lab design. Today, however, “open labs” are increasingly the trend.

They allow for team-based work, problem-solving, and a more social approach to lab culture. One reason for this trend is that many millennials have been taught to approach problem-solving as a team, bouncing ideas off each other. Open labs help support this methodology.

Retaining Some Closed Mass Spec Lab Design Options

While the open lab is helpful in many cases, there are other situations when closed labs are more practical and efficient. For example, when large amounts of equipment dominate, such as in many mass spec labs, it can be more cost efficient to opt for a traditional “closed” lab design, surrounded by open spaces that allow for shared use of the equipment.

Some procedures, such as glass washing, tissue culturing, and dark room work, are also better suited to closed labs. Quiet, enclosed spaces tend to be more efficient for data analysis and report writing as well.

Addressing Energy Demand

Another trend being addressed by the latest types of lab designs are “green” or environmental concerns. Research labs typically use a good deal of resources, consuming as much as five times more energy and water than say a teaching space.

As a result, implementing environmentally sustainable designs and gaining LEED certification can be especially beneficial, potentially saving money in utility and operations costs.

Flexibility Remains Important

For years, we’ve been talking about the importance of flexibility in lab design. In fact, adaptability seems to be an ever-more-valuable aspect of mass spec lab design. Whether it’s due to the growth of interdisciplinary sciences or a desired decrease in long-term renovation costs (and lab downtime), designing a mass spec lab space that can be easily reconfigured is a key component for success.

One innovation that serves this type of flexibility is the overhead service carrier. By supplying everything from air and gas to localized exhaust and power, overhead carriers allow for lab benches to be reconfigured easily while still connecting to critical components. Power trunks can also be installed in each service carrier, allowing a mass spectrometer to be placed anywhere within a particular lab space.

Lab benches such as our IonBench MS are key players in this trend toward flexibility. When mass spectrometers are placed in open lab environments, it’s critical to keep them quiet. Our roughing pump enclosures reduce noise by 75 percent, enabling collaborative conversations to more easily take place. In addition, our solidly built, lockable casters make moving massive equipment a much easier and safer prospect.

To learn more about how our IonBenches can support integration of the latest modern lab design trends, contact us today.


Equipment Configuration Feng Shui Can Enhance Lab Safety

RocksEvery lab has its own spatial challenges. In the process of working with lab administrators over the years, we’ve heard about many different configuration obstacles that labs have had to overcome to get their work done. Sometimes, these changes seem to require a Feng Shui expert to get things to align properly—but a better approach is to talk to experts about incorporating custom dedicated lab furniture into your lab.

Aligning Mass Spec Equipment and Lab Safety

Research labs, academic labs, and clinical labs all have their own unique set of priorities and necessary outcomes, and for each, the ideal lab configuration is different. When you consider the shape and dimensions of the space you’re working with, there’s simply no way to have a “one size fits all” solution. Instead, it’s best to align your spatial limitations and equipment support needs to determine the best setup for a well-organized space—one that will prevent lab accidents from happening and keep workflow moving as efficiently as possible. When your furniture is crafted with the task in mind, even personnel posture can be improved.

Making Lab Arrangements Work and Prevent Lab Accidents

The shape and size of your mass spec and other key instrumentation will determine a lot of what you can and can’t do within your lab space. For example, we had a customer with a Shimadzu 8050 alongside a large HPLC system. He also wanted an attached work area for his computer so he didn’t have to trek back and forth to record data. We have an extended lab bench, but the overhang from it would have covered a third of the standard lateral side bench needed for the computer. We worked out a custom solution, using our dedicated lab furniture, which canted the additional work surface to minimize the overlap. The result was a large, sophisticated MS-HPLC system, with workstation, all in a space of between eight and nine feet.

Another issue arises when labs have deep mass specs, such as the Waters Xevo TQ-S. In this situation, we can install access holes for hoses on the back of the IonBench MS instead of on the top, which is our standard configuration. Since the bench is also built on casters, it’s possible to get to those hoses without reaching and climbing—thus decreasing the possibility of accidents and minimizing potential damage when the equipment is moved out for servicing.

Mobility Is the Key to Configuration Success

Casters are key when it comes to arranging your lab. We know of a startup facility in Boston with a beautiful, classic lab design, where everything was aligned perfectly at the beginning to allow for efficient workflow and to prevent lab accidents. Unfortunately, over time, they purchased more and more equipment and had no place to put it.

If they’d set everything on movable lab furniture, they could have easily, repeatedly, and safely rearranged their lab to find a configuration that would work best for them. Ultimately, they had to rent additional space to house their growing collection of equipment. It was a costly alternative that could have been avoided with some planning and forethought about customization and mobility.

Keeping Lab Workspaces Functional

There are several key elements to supporting lab safety through designing functional lab spaces. Fine-tuning your set up will ensure that lab personnel can work safely and efficiently within a space.

You may not even realize your lab configuration is inefficient, because you’ve become so used to working around the inefficiencies. But there’s a good chance your lab feng shui could be improved. Give us a call to talk about your unique spatial challenges and we’d be happy to explore the many possibilities for customizing your lab configuration.

Purchasing Tips for Dedicated Lab Furniture

dedicated-lab-furniture-purchasingWhen it comes to outfitting—or retrofitting—your lab, a number of important considerations need to be kept in mind. Unlike the standard college classroom or commercial marketing office, there are specific issues that can make standard furniture completely inappropriate, and even dangerous, in a lab environment. Lab furniture will also differ from home or office furniture in size and weight. As you plan to purchase dedicated furniture for your laboratory here are some important tips to consider.

  1. Think about the future, not just the present. It doesn’t matter whether you work in a cutting-edge research lab with lots of funding, or an academic institution where you won’t expect to see any more new lab furniture before you retire. It’s important to consider how these pieces are going to function, not just today, but also ten, fifteen, or even thirty years from now. If you’re not certain, take some time to brainstorm with colleagues about future needs, so you can rely on this new lab furniture to do the job for many years to come.
  2. Measure twice, buy once. Dedicated lab furniture tends to be deeper than standard office furniture because it is designed to hold multiple pieces of lab equipment that come in a variety of sizes and shapes. If you have an older lab space or building, you will probably have to deal with standard-sized doors and hallways, which might not be wide enough to accommodate newer lab furniture. Take the time to measure and be certain your new lab furniture can easily and safely be installed in your older building—before you sign that purchase agreement.
  3. Figure out where everything will go ahead of time. When outfitting or retrofitting a lab, there’s a lot to consider besides the furniture. Once the lab bench is in place, is there room for your water chillers, compressed air and/or gas tanks, and gas flows and other outlets? Another important consideration is the location of your electrical outlets. If you purchase a taller, standing lab bench or workstation, will that height block the outlets? It’s critical to make sure you can safely power all the instrumentation that you plan to put on, or adjacent to, your new lab furniture.
  4. Dedicated lab furniture must be biologically and chemically resistant. This is the reason why buying standard office furniture for a lab can actually be a dangerous proposition. Spills happen, accidents occur, and you need lab furniture that will not become part of the problem when something unexpected happens. It’s also critical that all lab furniture is easy to keep clean, so you don’t risk an unwanted chemical reaction by accidentally allowing materials to come into contact with leftovers from a previous spill.

If you’re looking to purchase furniture for your lab, we can help. Contact us for information and answers to your questions about how dedicated lab furniture can improve safety and reliability in your workplace.

Why Lab Benches for Mass Spectrometry Are So Important

lab-benches-for-mass-spectrometryWorking in a lab can be pretty hectic. This goes double if you’re working with a mass spectrometer: Too much vibration from roughing pumps can be an expensive hazard to your instruments, while excessive noise can be a hazard to your health.

That’s why it’s important to ensure your lab bench can handle the unique rigor of mass spectrometry work. In order to do that, it’s essential to have a dedicated lab bench.

What Should Your Lab Furniture Do?

It’s important to understand what will be required of a lab bench for mass spectrometry. By doing so, you’ll see why making an investment in dedicated lab furniture is worth the price. Below are some basic considerations:

1. Your lab bench needs to be big enough to accommodate large and heavy instruments. This might seem like a no-brainer, but that’s also why it’s so easy to overlook. Ideally, your bench should be able to support at least 500-700 pounds.

2. Your lab bench needs to allow for the connection of peripherals. This includes vacuum pumps, computers, and other equipment. You want to make sure your dedicated lab bench can handle any task you might throw at it. It should be deep enough to accommodate not only the instruments you use, but any necessary peripherals, their connections and of course, you.

3. Your lab bench needs to reduce noise and vibration as much as possible. As mentioned before, unmediated vibration can prove expensive, and too much noise can lead to hazardous working conditions. If your bench isn’t keeping your turbo molecular pump safe from vacuum-pump-generated vibrations, you’re going to be learning an expensive lesson about the necessity of dedicated lab furniture. And without a bench capable of dampening sound, the acoustic noise generated by roughing pumps can rise to excessive levels, making it much more difficult to hear anyone or anything in the laboratory.

4. Ideally, your lab bench should be movable and versatile. Lab furniture is already trending in this direction as labs become increasingly agile (and crowded). Your bench should be movable enough to adapt to the fast-changing pace of modern labs, and tough enough to hold up to the accompanying wear and tear. Bottom line: Not only should a dedicated lab bench be tough and sturdy, but it should be easy to move.

What Types of Lab Benches for Mass Spectrometry Are Out There?

While noise, vibration, and convenience are important considerations when comparing lab benches for mass spectrometry, there are fortunately products out there built specifically to address these issues. One in particular that does a superb job of hurdling the obstacles of mass spectrometry work is the IonBench MS.

Reducing noise by better than 75 percent, decreasing vibration, and moving easily on its caster mountings, the IonBench MS is designed to make lab work safer and more reliable. Any way you slice it, a dedicated lab bench is worth the investment on many levels.

Contact us for information about how dedicated lab furniture can improve the safety and reliability of your laboratory.