12 Jul Lab Storage Solutions – Improving Functionality
When the Sciex team took ownership of their new laboratories they immediately realised they would need to upgrade the storage provision.
Dan Leigh from Sciex UK discusses lab storage solutions and his plans for the new labs at their UK Centre of Innovation.
Design Brief for Lab Storage Solutions
A customised approach was required to develop a design that fitted Sciex’s specific requirements.
The brief was to maximise storage capacity, provide a system to organise all lab essentials effectively and enable staff to work efficiently.
Two key factors were visibility of stock and quick accessibility to all the essentials for their processes. The aim was to standardise storage provision within each of the 5 labs, creating predefined workspaces for the technicians.
All the labs were to have common features so that processes could be streamlined and staff would know exactly where to find things, regardless of which lab they were working in. Increasing storage capacity also meant everything could be stored away in cupboards or drawers out of sight which helped to create a clutter free environment for showcasing their products and solutions.
The laboratories are used for demonstrating Sciex’s mass spectrometry product portfolio to clients. The lab furniture design therefore needed to be minimalist with clean lines, allowing clients to focus on the product.
Sciex provide a service to scientists and laboratory analysts in a range of applications including the food industry, pharma, bio-pharma, environmental and clinical diagnostics.
Klick’s Solution to Maximise Laboratory Storage
The Klick design team proposed lab furniture options to provide a standardised system for the 5 laboratories allowing workflow to be improved. A range of storage units were retro-fitted, adding to the original basic furniture provided when they took over the lease.
Klick fitted additional under-bench units, tall cabinets and 1000mm wide drawer units.
“The labs are a key part of our demo facility showcasing Sciex’s products and solutions so needed to not just look good but also accommodate our mass spectrometers and associated equipment. We needed to design labs that would retain functionality for our associates and visitors whilst also giving flexibility to stay ahead of future developments and changes.
We had a great working relationship with Klick. The new labs work a lot better for our staff and are a huge improvement.”
Dan Leigh – UK Support Manager, Sciex UK
Lab Storage & How To Stay Organised
It is critical to plan lab spaces correctly to ensure lab safety and functionality. Adequate storage provision is key to maintaining high levels of organisation. If a lab is disorganised it can lead to materials being wasted and loss of man hours.
To start with it is paramount to get a clear understanding from lab users and lab managers of the processes and workflows performed by scientists.
Expansion plans should also be considered so that any provision for storage can be future proofed.
- Reagent shelving is useful for frequently used items above the workspace where they are easily accessible
- Tall cupboard units offer maximum capacity and can be fitted with adjustable shelves, pull out larder systems or tray storage options
- Wall cupboards can be mounted above the workbench
- Under-bench drawers and cupboards are useful for smaller items of equipment
- Mobile storage units may be appropriate when flexibility of workflow is necessary
- Laboratory shelving can also be provided for additional lab storage. This can either be fixed directly to the wall or suspended from a fixed horizontal rail
Identify the types of chemicals to be used in a lab and determine the appropriate storage required.
- Label all chemical containers fully including the date received
- Provide a specific storage space for each chemical and ensure return after each use
- Ventilated cabinets may be required to store volatile chemicals
- Store flammable liquids in approved cabinets
- Allow space for a designated refrigerator for storing chemicals
General Laboratory Storage Tips
- Keep frequently used equipment and tools on the same side as your dominant hand so they can be accessed easily
- Store less frequently used items in a store room or on upper shelves keeping the main lab bench area clear
- Set practical rules for cataloguing materials
- Conduct regular audits of your lab stocks and equipment
- Careful stock control helps to avoid stock build up or depletion in supplies which can cause bottlenecks
Well planned storage will have a direct impact on how the lab functions and a positive impact on lab employees.
If you are planning to upgrade your laboratory facilities our consultants would be happy to help with the design details. Please email us or call 0161 998 9726.