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Lab equipment distributors may specialize in one or two areas of laboratory equipment. Others may offer products that encompass all areas of laboratory products. Distributors can also supply your company with the required MSDS documents to keep you in compliance with safety regulations. Laboratory employees also need access to safety equipment including eye protection and wash stations.
Chemical, biotechnical and pharmaceutical industries may all find themselves in need of laboratory equipment. Equipment needs may include centrifuges, sterilizers, distillation equipment and glassware. Disposable items may need to be purchased on a frequent basis. Filtering paper, syringes and some types of pipettes come under the category of disposable materials.
Equipment suppliers should also be able to meet regulations when it comes to the shipment of hazardous materials. Laboratories that work with certain chemicals or explosives must meet set standards in product handling methods. Laboratory equipment also requires maintenance and calibration. Many distributors can provide the technicians or assistance needed to keep your equipment working. If equipment needs to be sent out for repair, some distributors will provide temporary replacement units.
Locating reliable distributors should not be a difficult or time-consuming process. Your laboratory needs to remain operational without long delays in receiving supplies. Business.com has links to help you in your search for lab equipment distributors.
Research labs, schools, and medical practices are all affected by decisions that must be made regarding lab equipment. This guide will give those organizations a general understanding of the benefits and pitfalls of lab equipment, and business considerations impacting lab equipment purchase.
Lab equipment must fulfill functions of testing, safety, and reliability. Decisions about the purchase and use of lab equipment are increasingly impacted by changes in suppliers, innovation, and safety. The great supply and availability of lab equipment can complicate choices based on cost, safety, and reliability, but safety is always the primary factor in any lab equipment purchase.
Protecting Your Eyes
Protective eyewear can keep your eyes safe in the lab. Safety glasses that include side shields deter chemicals and projectiles from hitting the eye area during experiments. You can choose between general safety goggles up to full face shields, depending on the size and severity of the project. Eye wash stations are available in case of an emergency as well.
Protecting Your Clothing
There are many options you can choose from to protect your clothing from hazardous materials. Lab coats with buttons, zippers, or snaps that fall below the knee generally suffice for blood work and safe chemicals. If your project is highly toxic, or if it contains materials that can be dangerous or infectious, fully closed coats should be used.
Protecting Your Hands
Your hands are one of the most vital parts of lab experiments. Proper protection can be chosen according to the chemicals being used and how agile your hands need to remain. If the materials are not hazardous, general rubber gloves can be used. Latex reactions are common, but if you suffer from latex reactions, just try a non-latex or hypo-allergenic option. Toxic, biohazardous, and extreme chemicals may require further protection or mechanical isolation.
Lab Equipment is Readily Available
Lab equipment can be bought online, in retail stores, and even on television. As it is readily available and easy to purchase, finding deals is also simple and time efficient. Cost comparing online can be done by opening a few windows on a computer screen, while television purchases can be very entertaining. It is even possible to haggle with brick and mortar retailers as well. Out of the 35% of major-appliance buyers who tried to bargain the cost of their targeted product, 72% had a favorable outcome.
Although most lab equipment purchased from reputable suppliers will perform its function effectively and safely for many years, there may be some issues that need to be considered before purchase, depending on the type of work it is intended for.
Equipment affecting test results
A lot of lab work is carried out using various holders and transfer devices for liquids. Research in 2008 by a team at the University of Atlanta, led by Andrew Holt, found that “ingredients in commercial plastic test tubes used by labs around the world can block some biological reactions, potentially leading researchers to bogus conclusions about whether drugs work or not.” (http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn15140-plastic-not-so-fantastic-for-lab-experiments.html).
Other chemical interactions with volatile chemicals in even the most stable plastics have also been suggested to affect the results of other in-lab tests. The investigators’ solution to this issue in their own experiments was to ensure that all equipment was washed immediately before use, to reduce the amount of leaching possible. However, this process is time-consuming and wasteful, and it may be worth considering buying more expensive equipment made of inert materials such as glass if this is likely to be an issue in your work.
It may seem to be a minor issue, but it is important to consider the people who will be using the equipment before purchase. Something as simple as left-handedness can affect the way that a technician, researcher or scientist is able to use a piece of equipment, and whether he or she can obtain the best results efficiently. Many pieces of lab equipment come with options for usability, so it can pay to shop around if you have anyone on your staff who is likely to need a non-standard set-up.
According to a survey performed by the Customer Insights Group, over one-third of lab managers within the life-sciences industry reported downtime problems that affected productivity (http://www.decisiontrend.com/images/Lab_Research.pdf).
This indicates that reliability of equipment is an important issue to consider when purchasing for the lab. Ensure that the manufacturer and supplier are both generally considered to be reliable and provide good levels of service before making any purchases, as downtime can be extremely costly in terms of both money and important results.
Equipment manufacturers are keen to promote their latest products, and indeed many of these will be excellent additions to many labs. However, since so many smaller labs (such as those in schools or non-research facilities) have specific and less far-reaching needs, care needs to be taken that only the appropriate equipment is purchased, and any “bells and whistles” are left for those companies that require them, since the extras are rarely cheap.
Ensure that the equipment being offered meets your specific needs before purchase by ensuring that the representative of the supplying company can explain how the features of the product are applicable to your field. If there are too many things that do not fit, it is probably worth considering a different solution or supplier.
Lab Equipment Costs
Lab equipment is something your business may need for experimentation or production. According to a report in Laboratory Equipment in 2009, lab equipment accounted for 12 percent of industry sales in the 2000s. Laboratory equipment varies dramatically in cost.
Lab Equipment Pricing
You may need hand protection, like latex gloves. These can cost as little as six dollars per box. Other equipment may include protective eyewear, beakers, or protective clothing. Lab safety goggles can cost anywhere from five dollars up. Beakers are priced according to size and quantity. For example, a 4mL beaker costs approximately four dollars. You can also purchase a bulk supply for ten different sizes for around $50.00. Protective wear, such as a lab coat, can be purchased for as little as $12.
Scientific exploration generally requires lab equipment on a daily basis. Medical employees such as doctors or surgeons also need materials to run blood work and test samples. National security organizations require lab equipment to further their initiatives. There are many benefits to lab equipment from medical discoveries and biohazard control, but safety for the researcher is the top priority.
Pitfalls that affect lab equipment evaluation and purchase include reliability, suitability, user interface, and safety. Such factors can also affect price. Prices for lab equipment can vary significantly based on size, durability, and quantity. Great care should be taken to evaluate all benefits and pitfalls in the purchase and use of lab equipment.