renovating lab space for GC/MS's

Off-topic conversations and chit-chat.

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Hi All,

We're currently in the midst of my company wanting to renovate all the lab space and we have been asked what kind of benchs do we want, bench tops, any specifics from any people that have done this in the past would be most appreciated.
I had seen where people put their GC's on moveable benches, but am not sure of any specifics that may be needed.

Regards,
We cut holes in the lab benches and had the rough pumps underneath, on little tables, to conserve lab space and retain ease of changing rough pump oil.
It also depends on how many instruments that you have.

In one design of lab that I worked in with 20 instruments there was a 1 metre (3ft) passage way between 2 back to back benches. That allowed easy access to the back of the instruments for maintenance checking lines etc

I also worked in a lab that made great claims to having movable benches. What the manager didn't realise was the metal gas lines and electrics and plumbing weren't easily movable :-(

Regards

Ralph
GOM wrote:
It also depends on how many instruments that you have.

In one design of lab that I worked in with 20 instruments there was a 1 metre (3ft) passage way between 2 back to back benches. That allowed easy access to the back of the instruments for maintenance checking lines etc

Regards

Ralph


We've got a similar set-up in my current lab. It is a nice place for the cylinders/plumbing to go and/or come in.

I did work at a place that had movable benches that they used for GC work. For the researchers using them it worked out nicely. The benches were also not on the outside walls so the back of the instruments were only slightly obstructed.
In addition to my previous post

In another design I had 10 instruments on back to back benches (5 each side) and 2 against a wall.

The rear access was awful but we had slots cut out for plumbing/electrics/comms etc. The sockets were under the bench

The good thing was to have the cupboards under the bench on castors so that they are easily moved out to gain access to the sockets and plumbing

Regards

Ralph
We have a mixture of bench types. The ones I like best are single depth peninsula type so I can easily walk up to the back of the instrument and the pumps can sit on the floor behind them. The ones I hate are the double depth benches where the GCs sit back to back, very difficult when needing to change gas lines or any work don't to the rear of the instrument. I do not have any GC/MS on the double benches because there is no way to put the pumps under the bench(the polymer bench top is nearly impossible to drill through and no space in the cabinet below).

Also be sure to plan out the cabinets under the benches. The original design here had the knee space in the center of the bench, but when you have a GC/MS with purge and trap and autosampler, you have to put the GC/MS on one side of the computer and the purge and trap and autosampler on the other with the transfer lines running behind the computer monitor, not a good setup at all.

We have the LCMSMS and the ICPMS units set up on heavy movable benches. The ICPMS have ethernet outlets behind the benchs and the computers are on a separate bench away from the instruments which gives workspace around both the computer and instrument, though you have to walk back and forth between the two during maintenance.

I really prefer black slate bench tops the best, you can see almost any parts you will put beside the instrument. Our current bench tops are light gray polymer or a speckled white and black polymer. The gray discolors easily with acid and solvents and the speckled ones are difficult to see small items like ferrules and screws on them. The also stain easily with brightly colored reagents which make them look bad too quickly. I never thought it would matter on color until we had these.
The past is there to guide us into the future, not to dwell in.
Hi chloesabrina

This is a really interesting post

If only we all had the luxury of designing a lab for our chromatography needs from scratch instead of adapting to what is already there

To pick up on a couple previous posts

The ones I like best are single depth peninsula type to allow rear access

Removable cabinets under the bench on castors

knee spaces


Perhaps if you tell us how many/type of instruments and the potential linear bench space available

Always allow room for the coffee machine at the end of the bench :-)

Kind regards

Ralph
Hi - thanks all for the great suggestions. The room is quite a small room with 4 GC's, one with ECD and the others with MS's. Autosampers are one MS with purge and trap and rail autosampler, one MS with rail autosampler, TDU/controller and cryostat cooler, one ECD with rail autosampler and one MS with a rail autosampler. 3 are 6890's while the one is a 7890.
Currently they are all set up one islands on the perimeter of the room so it is really difficult to access the back of the instrument. Currently I share the room with a center island that has a LC QQQ set up on it.
We also have a sink, faucets, and conditioner for twister bars.
One feature we added on our GC/MS semi-vol room was cabinets for the rough pumps. They really help the noise level but they must have vent fans or ducts to a hood system. If the instruments are on UPS/emergency power the fans must be too.
We had the room set up with a walk way between the benches. It wound up being too narrow to walk through.

I have benches on casters for 2 of my VOA instruments. It can work but the plumbing has to have enough slack to move things around. Even then the movement is limited.
Previous replies have pretty much covered it - access to the back of instruments is probably the most important consideration. If you can, get benches with their own legs and under-bench storage that can be moved, otherwise when you need to move instruments around you will find that the computer where you need to sit has no knee hole underneath it.

As a little luxury you can look at getting low profile castors under instruments that need to move relative to one another - like the GC next to an MS has to move away to clear the transfer line.

Peter
Peter Apps
An ex colleague of mine always used to sit his instruments on a sheet of plastic laminate stuff, the idea being that it makes it easier to slide the whole thing a short distance along the bench, or slide it off onto a pump-up hydraulic trolley if you wish to move it further, without disturbing things.

We have gaps between benches to allow access to the rear of instruments. Never underestimate the girth of a possible visiting engineer, particularly after you've filled the gap with a mass of pipe-work and cables. There have been one or two incidents where engineers of a less svelte build have struggled. For LC systems, we like a lip at the back of the bench, to prevent leaking solvents from dripping down into electric sockets.
... and I forgot: we have white benches (which are incompatible with some mice) and peek-coloured, textured floors (which instantly hide any dropped Peek item). I would have preferred grey textured benches and floors that show up dropped items.
Hi chloesabrina

This is a refreshingly nice query and resulted in an interesting thread with many useful observations by forum contributors - thank you :-)

IMH wrote

There have been one or two incidents where engineers of a less svelte build have struggled.


That made me smile - lovely turn of phrase

Perhaps allow a 4ft access gap :-)

I hope that you achieve what you want - but suspect that it will be a compromise for you at the end of the day :-)

Re-read the comments and argue for what you want based on these :-)

Ralph
Also, to conserve bench space, we would buy or have little "tables" built and use them over the monitors to hold stuff that did not need to be accessed often (like the old 6890 autosampler control boxes).
lmh wrote:
An ex colleague of mine always used to sit his instruments on a sheet of plastic laminate stuff, the idea being that it makes it easier to slide the whole thing a short distance along the bench, or slide it off onto a pump-up hydraulic trolley if you wish to move it further, without disturbing things.

We have gaps between benches to allow access to the rear of instruments. Never underestimate the girth of a possible visiting engineer, particularly after you've filled the gap with a mass of pipe-work and cables. There have been one or two incidents where engineers of a less svelte build have struggled. For LC systems, we like a lip at the back of the bench, to prevent leaking solvents from dripping down into electric sockets.


PostIt notes or a small square of folded paper under the instrument feet works great if you need to slide it. One of the installers let me in on that trick, especially with how the rubber feet on new instruments have really good grip on the bench. I also had to use it on the feet of the ion gauge controller on our older GC/MS because for some reason once they were of an advanced age those seem to melt and stick to everything.
The past is there to guide us into the future, not to dwell in.
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