Furniture in laboratories must fit with the needs of the activities that will take place in the lab, and not vice versa. This simple principle may seem obvious but it is not always considered.
While most lab managers defer to budget when choosing furniture for their lab, smart managers look at their needs and the long term return on their furniture investment.
User needs, type of tests, equipment used, and activities carried out in a laboratory evolve over time. Often a design that was originally perfect may become obsolete, and may become so quickly. Indeed, sometimes it is necessary to revamp a lab area immediately after the conclusion of the construction phase.
To mitigate this problem, here are some ideas to keep your lab flexible:
1 Flexibility at bench level
Traditional laboratory benches are usually fixed which makes them difficult to relocate. Flexible benches, however, are on castors which means they can be moved when needed. Castors can be detached and removed if needed. Castors with brakes can also be fitted onto the benches. Castors can also be fitted on cabinets.
2 Flexibility at distribution level
The distribution of services such as gases, electrical power, vacuum, and water are typically rigidly fixed on the bench in a nonflexible configuration. However, the services and utilities “distribution wall” can be detached from the bench, breaking the rigid connection between bench and services and allowing some level of reconfiguration; or they can be distributed from above via flexible connections, with blind connections at various points in the lab ceiling void to allow a much greater degree of future configurability.
3 Bench configurations
By far the most common bench configuration in labs today is a straight run,which is almost never the optimum configuration. However, more labs are working with cell design ensuring all the necessary equipment, services, and materials are close at hand. The classic work cell shape is the “U” (also known as the horseshoe), but there are several alternatives that can achieve the same objectives. Arguably, the most versatile and reconfigurable option is the “comb and spline,” in which the spline can be fixed with services supplied from above and the comb elements are movable. This allows multiple U and L shapes to be easily created and reconfigured when required.
4 Height adjustable benches
A smart way of supporting staff work ergonomically is by adding electric height adjustable benches to your lab. This allows staff remain productive desk or cell, while letting their body move. Where possible Clinical Cabinets integrate these benches into our lab design.
For more information on laboratory benching using specialist worktop materials and bench design, email firstname.lastname@example.org