The one thing you have probably wished for at one point in your career is that the lab was just that little bit different in terms of design. ‘I wish we put that cabinet over there.’ ‘These overhead cupboards really should have been placed differently.’

A flexible joinery system makes lab life a lot easier, especially in industry and practices such as pathology laboratories, where things are changing constantly: new equipment, different technology as times move forward. You may be thinking that you are choosing the cheaper option and you are purchasing a product which comes with operational and financial trade-offs. A joinery system such as Modulab Connect is durable, cleanable and completely reconfigurable. Instead of trading off on either stability, durability or storage efficiency: Modulab Connect enhances these aspects.

Durability

A reconfigurable joinery system does not sacrifice durability. Benchtops used in modular systems are the same as those used in fixed benching systems found in outdated laboratories. In fact, the laboratory-grade laminated compound used in flexible systems is significantly more rigid and hard-wearing than traditional chipboard bench tops. It is made from either a laboratory-grade compact laminate which is Group 3 fire-rated, chemical resistant and heat resistant; or a solid epoxy bench top which is virtually indestructible and resistant to extreme temperatures. In addition, they are relocatable granite-topped balance benches that can be utilised better than fixed benching due to its mobility.

Purpose-built metal frames are also less damaged by heavy drops and knocks, as they do not crack and are specifically engineered to withstand the requirements of laboratory wear. Chemical resistance is one of the most common requirements in the lab, reconfigurable laboratory benching does not sacrifice this standard.

Flexibility

A change is as good as a holiday. Sometimes you may need to change your lab because of a new process, more equipment, new workers, new workflow design, other renovations, expansion, or simply because it might be good to have a break in the regular way of life.

Modular (reconfigurable) labs allow this change of layout without any hassle, expenses, or time wasting. Storage cupboards can be simply unclipped from underneath the benching and fixed to another bench. Doing so allows you to perform the changes without disruption to efficiency and without wasting time. If anything, it increases your efficiency because it allows you to make a change for the better so productivity can be increased. This may also apply in the classroom setting. Curricular changes, huge trends such as the global STEM movement and technological advancements may mean that your school science lab needs to either shrink, expand or completely change in layout. With modular benching and storage, a class can change from the traditional perimeter benching to a collaborative space at the forefront of the STEM movement overnight. Mobile storage and detachable cupboards also mean that your supplies and setup can be expanded or changed without the need to rip out the adjacent cabinetry.

A configurable system also allows the laboratory worker to store equipment and use it according to his or her requirements. Equipment may need to be replaced at any time or may need to be stored and re-stored at regular intervals. A reconfigurable system therefore allows the user to move benching or cupboards for special tasks as well as for material needs such as the equipment use.

Ergonomics

Configurable benching and cupboards allow the user to specify them to any height or width they like. This is significantly more inexpensive than fixed options which require special fabrication or modification and cannot be reconfigured to suit changing requirements. Furthermore, the modular system takes up a lot less space than the fixed benching, allowing greater freedom of movement while using your workstation.

Installation & Utilities: Speed, Efficiency

Modular benching and cabinets are inexpensive and very easy to install, taking minimal time out of the laboratory work during a refurbishment, as opposed to fixed benching, which needs to be assembled onsite, fixed to the floor/wall, and each panel individually cut and edged. This is obviously more labour intensive, as it is so much more difficult to install. In fact, fixed casework takes around three times longer from start to finish, including shipping times, to manufacture and install. The modular framework is pre-fabricated to the user’s needs; it is more efficient to assemble and is more stable than fixed structures. Traditional fixed benching is also part of a leasehold improvement agreement regardless of the circumstance as it is a permanent addition, meaning they are part of the building so are required to remain behind once the lease finishes. A modular lab can be disassembled, packed, transported and very quickly installed in the new location—without penalty if the lease agreement is written correctly. Doing so also gives you benefits as having completed 100% recycling of building materials during your transition. Fixed casework does not allow any of this flexibility without having to awkwardly try to transport cabinets which were most likely damaged in the removal process. In other words, you can have a shot, but it will likely end up in a landfill.

The open-design nature of these modular cabinets and benching also allows the user to access power—open tubular framing allows power cords to be stored tidily, while maintaining easy access and flexibility to the operator of the equipment. Large, closed-in shelving and benches make the service and installation of utilities a difficult task.

Conclusion

Modular labs are all-round more cost-effective, more reliable and so much more convenient than fixed benching. A modular fit-out allows you to experience excellent flexibility in your workspace, so that you can maintain productivity and make changes in whatever you may require with your workspace. Therefore, Modulab Connect is the ideal solution for your lab: it is easy, cheap and convenient to install and reinstall, makes a difference in your lab, and will let you enjoy your work with a huge difference.