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Define your Laboratory Furniture

The word ‘Laboratory’ itself carries variety of uses, nature, and type. It may be a chemical lab, Instrument lab, R&D Lab, QC Lab, PD Lab, Microbiology lab, Pilot Lab, or any other lab being used at the cross-section of industries like Chemical, Pharmaceutical, Food, Petrochemical, cement, schools/colleges, etc. As the type is different, every table or bench in the laboratory is defined for some specific need.

Laboratory furniture is basically supposed to be a workstation as it consists of various utilities on it like water inlet, water outlet, Eyewash, Electric sockets, gas, vacuum, etc. depending upon the need. Lab furniture is an assembly of many components, like Caseworks, storage units, C-frames, benchtops, reagent racks, electrical sockets, sink, water taps as per the standards defined by SEFA, FDA, etc.

There are two types of Laboratory workbenches that are used in most of the laboratories – standing height workbenches and sitting height workbenches. These workbenches may be pedestal mounted, skirting mounted or C-frame mounted type. The wall bench – the table adjacent to the wall – requires 750mm width as a standard and 900mm width for instruments lab. However, the center table or Island table has 1500mm width as a standard. Always keep leg spaces where required. Do not keep workbenches overwhelmed by the storage cabinets when no required. This may stress your budget unnecessarily. One may use frames or C-frames for reducing under-bench storage cabinets. For more details, you may discuss with any of the laboratory furniture manufacturers.  

The MOC (material of construction) of the workbench is defined by the nature of the laboratory. Powder-coated modular steel furniture is commonly used in most of laboratories. However, in the certain lab, where hygiene is top priority like food industry or clean room, user may prefer stainless steel lab furniture. In case of laboratories that has highly corrosive environment may go for wooden lab furniture.  Sometimes we found hybrid assembly too in lab furniture i.e. Powder-coated steel under bench storage modules with stainless steel tops, OR wooden case-works with granite tops or steel cabinets with wooden doors etc. You may choose a quality lab furniture manufacturer that has its own comprehensive manufacturing facilities where an extensive product line is available.

Ideally, the laboratories must be designed looking to their specific need and nature, instead, it is found that the available rooms are converted into the labs. For example, in the wet lab, utilities for water and gas connections to be taken care of so that it should not be an obstacle above the floor. While designing a lab, one must ensure that the ceiling height of the room should not be less than 3.5 meters or clear space between floor and beam-bottom should not be less than 3.0 meters. This is required to run fume exhaust duct pipes of bigger size above the fume hoods.

Please see that the doors of Laboratories are wide enough i.e. at least 1.2 meters to bring fume hoods and other big size equipment in the laboratory. Also, there should be an emergency exit in case of any mishappening in the lab. It is advisable to involve an expert from a laboratory furniture manufacturer along with the architects and consultants.

Sometimes laboratory furniture is backed up by spot extractors to evacuate light fumes generated above workbenches. This protects scientists from breathing in chemical fumes. It is always advisable ‘simple and easy to clean design’ of lab furniture. Always ensure that the essentials like electrical sockets, switches, water taps, hinges, drawer glides etc. used in workbenches should be locally available, this will help maintain lab furniture.

By –

Makarand Musale

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