The search for high-quality laboratory furniture is a necessity when designing your own lab. It all comes down to selecting the right materials and suppliers that can help you take your laboratory to the next level. Custom lab furniture can ensure that your lab is as efficient and safe as it can be.
Selecting the Right Materials
The materials that your lab tables and casework are made out of will be what sets your lab apart from the rest. Make sure to consider whether or not your lab will need chemical resistant surfaces that deter chemicals from damaging the tables and prevent workers from coming into contact with these substances.
You should make sure to choose these materials based on the needs of your lab.
Laminate is used for decorative cabinets, but it is not recommended for exposure to extreme humidity or heat. You’ll most often see laminate lab cabinets in schools because they’re aesthetically pleasing and because students will most likely not be using high heat materials on their own.
Laminate is one of the cheapest options, but it is only light-duty and has:
- Low bacterial resistance
- Low chemical resistance
- Low moisture resistance
- Low scratch resistance
Laminate is ideal for labs that have a low budget and perform only general functions.
Wood is a traditional choice for lab cabinets, but it’s susceptible to wear and tear. As you may know from having wood in your home, it shows every scratch and discoloration.
Wood is more expensive than laminate but is still on the cheaper side of lab furniture. However, it also has all of the low resistance as laminate and dents easily on impact.
This material is ideal for basic testing and dry research. Cabinets made from wood are much more attractive than laminate but don’t offer many more benefits than that.
Steel lab benches are one of the most popular choices for labs. It’s heavy-duty and typically has a powder coat finish that resists cracking and peeling. What’s most beneficial is that the coating is corrosion and chemical resistant.
Steel also has a moderate bacterial, chemical, scratch, and moisture resistance. It’s also available fairly cheap and very easy to clean. However, it can dent on impact.
These benches are typically ideal for chemical and industrial testing, along with other labs where tables need to withstand wear and tear.
Stainless steel is similar to steel, but it’s made out of chromium and nickel. It’s resistant to both rust and corrosion, and can’t be penetrated by liquids.
Stainless steel is considered moderate to heavy-duty and has a high fungal resistance and high moisture resistance. Like steel, it is extremely easy to clean. However, it has low scratch-resistance and often comes at a high price.
This material is ideal for food testing, autopsy, and pharmaceutical labs, along with others that do experiments were results depend on non-contamination.
Choosing a Supplier
After you understand what type of materials you want to be used, you should look for a supplier that offers high-quality solutions. The quality of the lab equipment depends on the quality of the manufacturer.
Your budget will have a huge say in what supplier you choose to work with. However, it’s important that you base your decision on much more than price alone. Quality should not be compromised for cost because your lab furniture has a direct impact on the efficiency and safety of your lab.
Also, low cost and low-quality furniture will need changes and repairs more frequently than high-quality furniture made from high-quality materials. The decision to choose high-quality over low-cost will help you save in the long run on maintenance costs, so it’s up to you to decide your priorities.
As we have just mentioned, quality is key to keeping costs down. However, it’s also a way of keeping the lab efficient. High-quality casework means that every single day, lab technicians will be able to utilize them, so they’ll need to stand up to time. Frequent repairs take time out of workers’ days, so you can avoid the hassle by choosing high-quality materials at the start.
Products manufactured in America are known to be much more high quality because of the higher standards. When you purchase cheap imported furniture, you can expect lab tables that don’t last as long.
To ensure that you’re getting a high-quality product, you should ask about the standards of the manufacturer and how each piece is constructed.
While some customers prefer to send their specifications to the supplier for a quote, others will want to use the manufacturer as a resource. It’s important to make sure that all of the details being considered in the lab design, including countertop material, are being run by the experts.
A quality supplier takes the time to get to know their customers and their needs and help them come up with the best solutions.
You should always consider how long you have to wait for the product. Most of the time, lab designers are on a strict deadline. Most casework is made to order, so it does take some time to reach production.
Shipment time will also impact the deadline. If your product is across the country, it may take longer than expected.
If you have a deadline, make sure to tell the supplier and see if they’re able to work with you on lead time.
One of the most significant considerations to keep in mind is customization. Your lab will have different needs from every other lab, and standard lab equipment might not cut it.
Your supplier should have the technology and ability to make custom products based on your pricepoint. Make sure to ask the supplier what they’re able to do for you before making a final decision. Often times, they may have ideas that you didn’t think of before that can help you elevate your lab design.