Modular Benching vs Fixed Cabinetry in Pharmaceutical, Pathology, Education & QA Labs

Modular Benching Westlab

Modular Benching vs Fixed Cabinetry in Pharmaceutical, Pathology, Education & QA Labs

Posted on the 6th of Feb 2019 by Westlab

Not all laboratories are the same. In fact, there are several laboratory types, and each has its unique purpose, advantages and constraints. However, the need for practical and durable cabinetry is a standard requirement across all laboratory types. The days of building a fixed laboratory system from cabinetry are quickly becoming a thing of the past. With exponential advancements in technology, robotics and automation are rapidly changing the dynamics in the laboratory space, hence affecting workflows and benching requirements.

In this article, we highlight some of the advantages of modular laboratory benching and to help you make the right decision to maximise the return on your investment.

Identifying Laboratory Types


It is important to identify your laboratory type to understand the core purpose of your laboratory space. The main three laboratory types are throughput laboratories, educational laboratory and research laboratory.

Throughput laboratories are also known as production laboratories. They are easy to identify as a clear workflow due to the step by step repetitive nature of the process, where a sample is receipted in the entry of the laboratory and the result is documented at the end of the process. Pathology, Pharmaceutical and Quality Assurance laboratories are all considered as throughput or process laboratories. Throughput type laboratories are adopting improved workflow methodologies and investing in automation to maintain a competitive edge and increase speed and accuracy; thus triggering the need for elastic process requirements in terms of benching.  Benching capacity is important in throughput laboratories as automation can be heavy and expensive and often requiring minimal vibrations.

The core purpose of most educational laboratories is the academic outcome of the students. Adaptable spaces that are conducive to growth can have a direct impact on student learning outcomes. The workflow between the back of house and front of the house can also affect the speed of preparation allowing maximum uptime for student learning in practice laboratory space. Flexible spaces that can facilitate multiple subjects such as STEM, chemistry, physics and biology are important to be able to adapt to the vast applications of hands-on science.

Research laboratories are a flexible space that needs to facilitate research and development. The purpose of a research laboratory is to allow researches and scientist to find a space that is suitable for the research they are conducting at the time. Space requirements can change dramatically and can be directly dependent on the nature of the research.  Often they include microbiology spaces, open research spaces, PC2 spaces etc. The number of researches can vary in these spaces dramatically and flexible cabinetry comes on hand when increasing and decreasing workstations.

Bench Framing


Bench framing can vary from company to company. Some of the more common bench frames include C-Frame, H-Frame and Timber Caucus.  At Westlab Pty Ltd, we have identified the H-Frame with a service allowance cavity as the most particle for flexibility and strength. C-Frame can look great but lacks strength in the front area of the bench making this unsuitable for heavy equipment and robotics. Cabinetry frames can be cost-effective but often results in a reduced life due to incompetence and lack of resistance against the harsh environment of today’s laboratory. Cabinetry timber frame is also inflexible and awkward to move and adapt to changing requirements.

The traditional H-Frame style has remained in the industry for a reason. The simplicity and strength are undeniable as it distributes the weight evenly. Modulab’s Connect System adds a new layer in modularity, flexibility and functionality.

Interchangeable Cabinetry


Interchangeable cabinetry is unique to the Modulab Connect System. This innovation is an answer to the market’s needs of a changing and progressive space that can not only increase and decrease with demands but also interchange from cabinets to trolleys and back again to maximise the investment of userspace. Workstations can be added and moved to facilitate compression and workflow requirements.  The unique 100mm service cavity allows for services to be preconfigured along walls prior to an installation reducing installation downtime.

Cost of Modular vs Custom Cabinetry


A true modular laboratory benching system can be produced in volume allowing manufacturers to reduce costs through the mass manufacturer. Saving of mass production can be passed on to end-users through distributors of the system. The cost savings is one of the many advantages of a truly modular system and provide substantial gain on larger projects.

Depending on the specified materials and professionalism of companies used, the cost of a custom cabinetry system can be substantially higher due to the customisation from drafting through to production and assembly. A highly economical and low quality cabinetry frame system can have a direct impact life space and substantially decrease the return on investment leading to false and unsubstantiated savings, in other words, if long term feasibility is performed, there may be no savings on a low-quality framework at all.

Fast Turnaround. Same High Quality


In connection with the Westlab core drivers: Speed, Hassle-free and Creativity, we offer a new dimension to innovative and functional laboratory cabinetry. High stock levels of standard and popular system components along with a preconfigured online design program allow us to hold stock for 95% of componentry. The system itself is precision and foolproof allowing the team to deliver a project 25-30% faster. The Modulab Connect System itself is Australian made to assure high quality, manufacturing speed and the best support.

2019-02-06 23:34:00
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