In order to run an efficient lab, you need to consider its inventory. What this means is the fact that you have to get some tools and equipment that are essential for performing both basic and situation-specific tasks in the lab. While some of these items act as containers, there are others that are a part of the PPE set or are merely there to make the life of people working in a lab a lot easier. All in all, here are several basic equipment tools that are needed for any lab work.
1. Safety equipment
In a lab, you’re often working with a wide range of sharp tools or potentially hazardous materials. They could have dangerous fumes, be highly flammable or cause various problems in touch with your skin. This is why you need to provide your staff with basic PPE (personal protective equipment). This ranges from items like lab coat and gloves, all the way to safety glasses. Keep in mind that these items need to be made from adequate materials and that they should be used/worn at all times. Otherwise, the effect will never be satisfactory enough.
Apart from this, you need to understand that there are some other risk factors that you’ll have to handle without the use of these tools. Sometimes, this concerns the materials that your clothes are made of or the type of clothes that you wear for work. For instance, you need to tie back your hair if it’s too long, wear pants that cover to the ankles (short skirts and shorts are not allowed for safety reasons) and any shirt that is worn should cover your torso. While some of these rules may sound too restrictive, the truth is that it’s all for a good purpose. Safety comes first.
2. A micropipette
In any kind of lab work, precision is of the utmost importance. This is why you need to have a reliable device that’s capable of handling the exact measurement in question. In the past, such a task was conducted with the help of a pipette and a visual examination of the scale displayed on its side. With the help of a micropipette, this is handled by a more sophisticated device. Even though the device is much more efficient than its predecessor, it’s still quite simple to use. In fact, some would even go as far as to say that the use of a micropipette is even simpler due to the fact that it is optimized for simple calibration.
The next thing that your lab needs is a number of containers for various purposes. You see, you need Erlenmeyer flasks (also known as conical flasks), Florence flasks (also known as boiling flasks), as well as a number of test tubes, beakers, etc. The importance of these items in a laboratory is more than obvious. First of all, it allows you to take measurements, combine materials and it’s made from materials that are capable of containing these chemicals. All of this is incredibly important for even the most basic of your lab processes.
4. Data loggers
Keeping track of changing conditions in your laboratory is one of the most important things for both your work and overall safety. Sometimes, tracing the temperature, air humidity and power usage are just some of the examples that you need to have in mind. The sterilization process, environmental control and cryogenic application are other applications of these tools. Even outside of the lab, when it comes to transferring lab equipment and products, these data loggers can be pivotal.
5. Peristaltic pump
The next item you need are a quality peristaltic pump, commonly referred to as a roller pump. The device itself is a mechanism with rollers, shoes, wipers or lobes connected to a rotor, which helps them pump the fluid through the tube. The applications for this kind of device range from having a part in juice production, all the way to producing adhesives for cement. As far as the lab applications go, there are sterilized media dispensation, ultrafiltration and transfer of fuels and lubricants. Keep in mind that this is one of the essential items for the functioning of any lab out there.
6. A (micro)centrifuge
One more device that virtually every lab needs is a microcentrifuge. Sure, the simplest of these devices are used in classrooms all over the world for all sorts of experiments, nonetheless, their application in the actual lab work is quite astounding. What it does is spin small liquid samples (usually no more than 2ml) at high speed. This way, you can pellet nucleic acid or protein from a solution or gather the last drops of liquid from the bottom of the tube. When it comes to precious materials, this last part can be quite money-saving.
7. Water bath
While there are sometimes better ways to handle a task, when running a lab as a part of a business, you often need to look for tools that offer you the optimal cost-efficiency. For instance, if you aim to transfer heat to a volume of liquid or keep it at a certain temperature, you can do it with a water bath. Keep in mind that this device requires patience but it’s incredibly effective and it is compatible with your glassware (that we’ve previously discussed). Such a device is inexpensive and easy to store, yet, completely indispensable in a modern lab.
The thing about the majority of the above-listed items is the fact that they’re a one-time purchase. Sure, PPE may get worn and the glassware might get broken but a device like a microcentrifuge or a peristaltic pump is here to stay. Also, keep in mind that without some of the above-listed items, lab work is completely impossible. Therefore, the question isn’t whether you should get these items but rather how to pick the right one for your laboratory. So, do your amount of research while composing the list.
Guest author, Lucas, is a business consultant with a passion for writing. Doing his research, exploring and writing are his favorite things to do. Besides that, he loves playing his guitar, hiking, and traveling.