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What can Research organizations do to improve user safety in Labs?

By Technical Articles No Comments

Twenty-two months into the pandemic should be a good time to take a hard look at the safety measures taken in our working arena or personal sphere. As lessons learned in personal hygiene and safety are with us, it would be prudent to relook into user safety inside contemporary research facilities.

Today’s research laboratories are larger, interdisciplinary making them more complex in layouts, structure, and goals. User scientists are now surrounded by reagents, heavy instrumentation, complex ventilation systems, reconfigurable set-ups, working relentlessly to take the research forward. We probably have a lab ecosystem that is much more promising, efficient, connected, yet demands maximum attention to safety like never before. Let’s review major safety hazards in research labs and approach to deal with them.

1. Ventilation Management

While fumes are the most common and most significant hazard in labs, ensuring overall good air quality is always challenging. Fumes are tackled with Ducted Fume Hoods, Ductless (recirculating) Fume Hoods, Isolators, Ducted Enclosures (built to suit), Spot Fume Extractors (Fixed and mobile), Canopy Hoods, Ventilated Storages, etc. Each of these pieces of equipment is designed for a specific use, that too with proper precautions and operating instructions. Many times, the equipment is used for an unintended purpose. Sometimes without following the correct SOP. Even expecting the equipment to borrow human intelligence and let the user take liberties with the SOP. This approach is detrimental to user safety can put the whole establishment at risk. A good approach will be to ensure continuous user training and adherence to safe working practices. A culture of safely using the equipment and paying enough attention to its limitations must be developed. Although this aspect appears to be simple and routine, non-adherence might have disastrous consequences.

Like a fighter aircraft on a critical mission, a fume ventilation device (one of the above) must always be in battle-ready condition. Meaning it must be audited/tested, calibrated, and certified at reasonable intervals. At times, one is surprised to see malfunctioning airflow monitors, corroded parts, and pent-up fumes inside the equipment. A tell-tale sign is a smelly lab. Similarly, the complex ventilation systems connecting these equipment and exhausting fumes outside need engineering maintenance and calibration regularly. Since these systems are out of sight hidden under a false ceiling (unless in open ceiling labs), they might skip the attention of users. Users aren’t aware of the technical nuances but might suffer hazards due to malfunctioning ventilation systems.

Here the role of the engineering support team is important. They have the responsibility to ensure efficient functionality, just as the ground engineering team has in handing over a perfect flying machine to a fighter pilot.

Today’s research labs are responsible not only for the user’s safety but also for the safety of the community to which they belong. They use Wet Scrubbers and/or Carbon Filters (Dry Scrubbers) to remove the traces of harmful substances, SPM and odors before releasing the fumes to the atmosphere. This equipment must be tested and certified routinely by the engineering team.

2. Handling Hazards and PPEs

Users in research laboratories should be adequately trained and equipped on the right PPEs based on their work profile. Most material handling hazards such as burns, eye injuries, spills on the body, etc. can be effectively mitigated by using the PPEs correctly. Although modern fume handling equipment does offer adequate protection, one can consider the use of Respirators (masks) as the second line of defense. A variety of Respirators for correct use with Organic/ Inorganic gases, Particulate Dust, Acids, Solvents, etc. are available from reputed manufacturers. Even Mercury vapor protective headgear and Respirators are available. There are supplied air Respirators too for demanding conditions. These must be properly selected, fit-tested, and most importantly worn all the active time. Gloves, Aprons, Head Cover, Eye Goggles must be used and be easily accessible. Needless to mention that reusable PPEs must be decontaminated before their next use.

3. Chemical Storage and Safety

Contemporary Research Labs have to stock a variety of chemicals which may pose an independent risk in storage and handling. Most of these reagents are volatile substances, some may be harsh acids, and some could even be carcinogenic. At times, novel chemical substances need to be stocked for specific experiments and may pose additional demands on storage and handling. As a non-negotiable policy, MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheets) must be available (and easily accessible) for each chemical. Flammable Chemicals need specific storages which are rated by time in minutes such as 60-90 etc. These must be stored exactly as needed and must be handled most carefully. Flammable Storage Cabinets need regular checks and proactive maintenance. Routine chemicals too deserve their marked and safe storage. The path to eye showers and safety showers must be uncluttered and marked, ensuring fast reach during an emergency.

4. Spills and containment

Some Lubricants and Viscous Fluids pose higher risks during Spills. Spill containment products such as chemical sorbent pads and pillows must be stocked, and need to be quickly accessible. Users must be trained regularly on Spills containment measures with available material. One must remember that some spills appear innocent till their effects are experienced.

5. Bio Hazard and Radiation Hazard

A separate safety program for Bio Hazardous materials (or samples) and Radioactive materials must be evolved. Safe storage and handling of these substances require specific equipment, and the users must be well trained about their safety aspects. Laminar Airflow Benches, Biological Safety Cabinets (conforming to standards) must be used as needed. User training, maintenance, and testing of this equipment are of critical importance. Here the role of PPEs is critical. For Radioactive material, separate and designated fume hoods are used. These need to be critically maintained with emphasis on specific PPEs for the user.

6. Fire and Rescue

Research Labs, by their nature, are fire-prone. Handling solvents, flammable chemicals, and rarely explosive material have the potential to initiate and propagate fire. Particulate matter, by itself, might appear harmless, but if a cloud of such matter forms, it could turn explosive. Some ducting material such as FRP might help spread the fire to other areas. In modern Research Labs, Fire Seals/ Fire Isolators are used within the ducting network. These may not be able to stop the spread of fire altogether, however, they delay such occurrences so that rescue of personnel can be ensured. An emergency evacuation program must be in place and all users must be well trained on it. Training on the correct use of Fire Extinguishers is critical, as also the refilling of extinguishers with the expiry date marked.

7. Layout obstructions and reconfiguration

A good amount of detailing is done by designers and engineers so that there is no clutter and enough evacuation spaces in modern research labs. Some layouts are even reconfigurable to some extent. This approach accommodates newer setups and new equipment. However, in existing labs sharp furniture corners, narrow spaces, clutter, and equipment density, might pose additional risks of injury and evacuation challenges. Layout changes could be made to mitigate such risks.

8. Hazardous user habits and behavioral discipline

As our society strives for newer solutions to existing and novel problems, a lot of pressure befall the research community. There is the pressure of time, process adherence, and data reporting on a scientist. She is always surrounded by complex materials, equipment, and systems. Each of these components of the Lab Ecosystem demands individual and collective attention. It is likely that under such circumstances, some critical precautions may be overlooked. Some common undesirable habits are bad housekeeping and clutter in the lab spaces, stuffing the storage below lab benches with all kinds of stuff including personal belongings, eating food in the lab, incorrect or not using PPEs, not keeping fume hood sash closed (or at safe working height), using ovens at wrong places, checking whether a fume hood is working by holding a strip of paper in it and neglecting the issue of smell in the lab are just a few. Thankfully, all such habits can be easily amended by proper training and involvement in the safety program. It is worth repeating that reorientation training at regular intervals goes a long way into inculcating safety culture among users.

9. Holistic Approach to Safety

Scientists are the greatest asset of modern research labs. They are a precious resource not only to their organization but also to the country. The safety and well-being of scientists should therefore extend outside the labs also. Refresher courses in safe driving, Safety at home, emotional wellbeing, personal health & hygiene, Wok-Life Balance, etc. may go a long way. The good part is that scientists are always open to new ideas and ready to learn something new. They have the attitude but tools must be provided by their organization. This will lead to the building of a shared safety attitude and culture in a research organization.

Tips for selecting a lab site in a corporate office building

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Since the last ten years, many labs are being built in spaces meant for offices. If the site selection is not made carefully, the lab users face a lot of troubles later. It results in claustrophobic labs, frequent maintenance problems, delayed projects and overshooting of budgets. Hence, the right site selection is very important for a good lab design & build project.

Here are a few essential tips for a site selection in an office building:-

1. Adequate height:

Ensure that you have adequate height available to run ducts, utility lines and also to keep your all equipment.
Inadequate height will pose severe problems for execution and maintenance. Further, the lab space will be claustrophobic for users.

2. Shaft space:

Check that the utility shaft has enough space to run the ducts, utility line, etc till the terrace. Fume hood ducts and supply air ducts need a good space, and if the shaft is already full, you will have to look for an alternative.

3. Location for utility:

Identify the space to keep the HVAC system, pumps, blowers, scrubbers, gas banks etc. If you are going to use the terrace, please check its load-bearing capacity. Also, please check if you have permission to raise the exhaust stack height. Many office buildings do not allow high stack height.

4. ETP provision:

Verify if the premises has permission for an ETP to handle the chemical waste. You will be generating chemical waste. The safe disposal plan has to be planned well while selecting the site.

5. Energy requirements:

Estimate your power requirements and check if the landlord will make it available. Labs need 2 to 3 times more energy and the landlord will have to make special provisions for it.

6. Government permissions:

Consult experts for special environmental/ hazard clearances to set up a lab in that building. If not taken into consideration in the planning stage, this can be a serious bottleneck in the whole process.

If you need support for the evaluation of lab sites, please feel free to connect with us. Our site selection experts will help you do the necessary due diligence and select the right lab space. Write to us at and we will get in touch with you.

How to make a journey of designing a laboratory rewarding

By Technical Articles No Comments

The scientists and the management of a company which is about to embark on a journey of building their newest research centre know the uphill task well enough. Every decision made for the next few months is going to shape their rewards at the later stage. The scientist who had to work in a stinking laboratory, because of lack of air circulation, or the assistant who had to do with a non-functioning fume hood sash, would be on their toes while taking the minute decision. Every management executive who has sanctioned funds to redo the wrong execution of the exhaust system would be vigilant during the early meetings, to avoid design and execution glitches. And yet time and again, projects are haphazardly undertaken and implemented without the knowledge and proper systems.

At SbyD, the journey of lab building is the reward. We have been paying heed to the industry requirements from up close over the years. Learning new ways to communicate with the scientists, new ways to involve scientists in achieving results, making sure the users of the labs are adequately resourced in their choices, making sure our client feels safe while taking decisions. Every day of the year, we are trying to distil the essence of lab building down to the last details, only to improve this journey for the customer.

To engage with the scientist and to share their vision is an opportunity and a challenge. To make your journey seamless, we recommend choosing the right vendors the key. Following commonplace mistakes can be avoided while selecting a vendor.

Laboratories are a complex amalgamation of various utilities and services intertwined with aesthetic and functional requirements. To make this job easier its always advisable to choose a single point contact or a turnkey vendor for your lab construction. This will take care of the issue listed below:

  1. Selecting non-laboratory vendor

    Often times we have seen, laboratory projects being executed by non-laboratory vendors. This could make the process tumultuous for everyone involved since the engineering aspect of lab construction is overlooked. There are laboratory specialists, who possess a thorough understanding of lab furniture, fume hoods, HVAC, Gas Distribution Systems, Civil, Electrical, Safety & Security Systems, BMS and exhaust systems of laboratories. Therefore, make vendor selection the top priority the next time.

  2. Master of All

    Specificity in lab construction depending upon the industry has to be considered while awarding the project to a turnkey vendor. A furniture manufacturer for quality testing lab does not necessarily understand technicalities involved in research lab civil, electrical or HVAC work. Therefore choose a vendor with knowledge about all the aspects of the lab construction.

  3. Familiarity with standards

    Most of the laboratories follow certain norms, such as GLP, EN, BSI, ASHRAE, ISO, SEFA etc. Select a vendor with ample knowledge of these regulations. While selecting a vendor, the familiarity with standards is often overlooked, this results in rework after audits. This may propel you to rehire a vendor with familiarity with standards. This would make audits and accreditations at a later stage easier.

  4. Safety Check-list

    One of the most important criteria is the safety record of the vendor. Make inquiry into the past work record of the vendor and get as much information on safety norms adherence. This would be a pain point for the EHS department, if the vendor is not strictly adhering to safety regulations, PPE usage policies, and work hour regulations on the site.

  5. Transparency in working

    A turnkey vendor becomes the face of the management while dealing with sub-vendors and contractors. It is the act of balancing on the eye of the needle and must be done with complete transparency and integrity. The most common issue with client-vendor relationship is lack of trust, which could make or break the project delivery on time and within the prescribed budget. If vendors tell you only to stop looking at other options, it should ring an alarm bell.

  6. Focus on energy efficiency

    A lab’s energy bill is 3 to 4 times higher than an office of the same size. This is mainly because of the HVAC system, power-consuming lab equipment and 24 hours occupancy of labs. Hence your turnkey vendor must be aware of energy-efficient products and strategies to be used. It is proven that with a reasonable efficiency strategy, energy can be saved to the extent of 30-40%. Since this is a running cost, this provides you with a significant advantage to bring your costs down.

Behold, and all that is right shall fall in to place. These are some of the critical points to remember while selecting a vendor.

The last but most important, and not so palpable attribute is chemistry. Everyone likes to work with good people. Amicable relationships with vendors result in great work. Even though the art of chivalry is a rarity in business, SbyD takes pride in the relationships that are cultivated over the years. Thus the journey we take with you is our ultimate reward.

interior design of laboratory with analytical balance, furniture, fume hoods

Labs of the Future

By Technical Articles No Comments

Techno Atheism or technology atheists is a legitimate term in the day and age of rapid technological advancements. Apropos of industries that have turned a blind eye, refusing to accommodate advancements laid around by others will be a deciding factor for survival. Paralleling between the atheists of the bygone era, not believing Gregorian calendar, because it was developed by Jesuits of the Church, aptly delineates techno atheists of the contemporary times. Focusing on such advancements, which can benefit R&D laboratories, here is our vision for the future.

We are talking about spaces where latest treatments for cancer, HIV, several chronic ailments, and of course COVID19 are researched, spaces where chemistry is practiced and improved to make the world a better place, places where scientists practice gospels of theoretical science. Each of these labs requires careful planning and immaculate execution. To serve science in the best possible way, companies that refuse to acknowledge the impact of technologies hold no ground against the avalanche of new ideas and better ways of execution practices. We at SbyD believe technology has just begun its golden stride in the way laboratories are built, inhabited, maintained, look and feel.

Even though modern laboratory designers and planners have been around for at least a century, the technological advancements have been sluggish, to say the least. Synonymous with the Toffler Model, this industry took 60-70 years to shed its skin for the first time. The second wave hit with the metallic furniture, and the third with an introduction to automation. But the way forward will be exciting, and time-bound, as the technology has already started probing into every aspect of laboratory infrastructure. As they say in the technology business, only the paranoid survive, lab manufacturers will have to embrace changes every 3-5 years, henceforth.

Can the lab be flexible, can it be energy efficient, can there be stronger computing resources for scientists, can there be better IOT infrastructure for monitoring, can the scientist communicate at the speed of thought, can there be better air ventilation methods, can the risks be completely eliminated these questions have been keeping us awake at night. Even though it’s a double-edged sword, we can unequivocally claim that technology will make the life of scientists better.
As per our research and zest for the future of technology in lab spaces, the following changes would be groundbreaking.

Flexibility of spaces

We all know the rigid nature of current labs has made a substantial dent to the way research projects are time lined, but what if the installation of lab furniture can be completed over the weekend. Bling! Bling! We are pretty sure; this would be the future of lab building. Get done with the reconfiguration over the weekend or go home. SbyD has been constantly pushing the envelope to shorten the project execution time for the past three years. We have had so great results with projects like IRRI, Sai Life Sciences ltd. The key, as we observe was approaching the planning stage differently and innovating furniture itself. There has been a considerable amount of innovation being done in reimagining the installation of services in the lab. The service dropper concept has been in use for quite some time and if we extrapolate our findings, we are not far from executing a project over the weekend.

Collaborative Spaces

“An idea is a salvation by imagination”, thus bringing newer ideas in architectural design is one of the most important ingredients which can contribute to reimagining the labs of the future. What if we can redesign spaces to improve collaboration between scientists? The rigid ideas of island tables can be shadowed with newer ways to design lab spaces. The way fume hoods are spread across the lab can be changed at a layout stage which would give better light, better collaboration opportunities, and better ways to align equipment in the lab.

Intelligent Labs

Introduction of intelligence gathering devices can change the game for scientists. With advancements in the Internet Of Things, it is possible to provide hundreds of perpetual monitoring devices at scientists’ disposal. With communication bandwidth and data collection speeds going skywards, we are nearing the times, when teams of a distinctly placed scientists, will be collaborating in real-time. Another exciting possibility would be to introduce artificial intelligence as the inherent element of the lab environment without compromising the safety of the scientist and the infrastructure. This would allow, streaming live experiments, recording stretches of research, along with time tagging, space tagging, mobile sharing and information inventory keeping much easier.

Healthy Labs

In contemporary labs, health is attributed to air quality and the state of the furniture. Even though these two are basic contributors to maintain labs, the remedial aspect is largely ignored. In most of the cases, HVAC systems are at fault, this would be due to faulty design, inconsistent maintenance, inappropriate usage methods or engineering faults. But now we are gazing into an era of multiple parameters monitoring, through IoT. Parameters such as temperature, pressure, humidity, oxygen levels, gas detection along with light intensity measurement would be inherent to the lab systems. Along with such advanced systems, we can also develop products such as compact carbon filters to keep the air contaminant-free. The HVAC design itself is undergoing a power shift to suit the needs of net-zero labs and green labs.

We at SbyD like to call ourselves true blue technocrats, and thus embracing the technology to make the lab environment better has been our rallying cry for the past five years. With it comes the responsibility to innovate. Apropos of laboratory innovation, SbyD would be dedicated agents of the future.

Developing the best of technologies for science excites us and keeps us paranoid, for good.

The Lab Makers Blueprint

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6 key contributors

Before you start a large lab design & construction project, it is crucial to consider several key factors that might affect the project schedule, cost & quality. We have identified six stakeholders who are very important for successful turnkey laboratory construction. You miss even one of them, and you have a risk of mid-way lab design change, project delay, cost overruns, and poor quality.

There are the six most important people for a lab project:

1. Identify that one Project Manager

He is the most vital ingredient for a lab project success. He will make it or break it. A good PM takes the lead and ensures that all bottlenecks are removed. He should be the “champion” who has an excellent knowledge of engineering and research processes both. Of course, a company veteran will only do this job for you. If you import a project manager form other companies, you will find it tough to get going. Also, excellent communication and conflict resolution skills are a must!

2. Select an experienced lab architect

There are very few architects in India who understand the complexity of the lab design. Labs are like mini-factories, demand precision, and we want it to look like a beautiful office. It would be best if you had a very experienced lab architect who understands laboratory planning and engineering exceptionally well. So, she knows the laboratory terminology, instruments, utility requirements, and EHS requirements. Ideally, she should have handled your kind of labs and scale.

3. Involve engineering &maintenance teams

Existing R&D center engineering & maintenance teams are well aware of the typical pain points, and hence they are great assets. They can help identify the design flaws and can advise on don’ts; rather than do’s. Involving them at an early stage will ensure that post-construction maintenance & substantial running cost issues are controlled.

4. Where is the scientist?

You are building this lab for scientists, and it is imperative to make them part of this decision-making process. Ideally, heads of various user departments will help with the right inputs for the best functionality. Users do tend to make design changes even after the design phase is over & drawings are signed off. Hence, there has to be one senior scientist who will convince other fellow scientists and take a final call on URS and lab design. Without correct user inputs & control, this project faces a risk of under or over-designing.

5. EHS from day-one

Getting an Environment Health And Safety manager on aboard is the key to avoid last moment design changes. An EHS professional will chalk out the organizational and regulatory health, environment & safety requirements from day one. He will also highlight local statutory requirements, which need to be handled with care.

6. Get a good lab turnkey company

Labs are complex, and lab construction is a critical task. It demands high-quality MEP work with deep technical understanding. A specialized lab contractor has experience in building such labs. He can work closely with you to resolve bottlenecks and, finally, work in the interest of the project. In our experience, turnkey execution will cut down your 30% project duration and at least 5% of your costs. Further, you can then focus on doing your core job rather than managing ten different vendors. That’s a bonus!

I hope this article will help you build an excellent lab project team. If you need a specialized turnkey contracting company for your lab construction, do connect on, and we will be happy to discuss the possibilities.

5 factors affecting your fume hood performance

By Technical Articles No Comments

Research is a serious work and fume hood is a very important piece of this work. Often times, scientist/ project managers tell us, that their labs are very safe to work, because they think:-

  1. They have one of the finest branded fume hoods for their labs.
  2. All fume hoods have expected face velocity at safe opening height.

However above 2 conditions does not mean that your labs are safe for researchers. Fume hood without its exhaust system is just a box. Its performance depends on many internal and external factors. It is observed that around 15-30% fume hoods fail to pass ASHRAE 110: 2016 site performance tests. Let that be any brand then!

You need to be aware of several equally important factors which directly impact fume hood performance and user safety. I have captured all those 5 important factors in descending order:-

    1. Fume hood design:

      Fume hood is meant for smooth exhaust of the flow without any reverse flow towards the user. Hence, it is imperative that the fume hood design has to be very aerodynamic: i.e. the airfoil has a right aerodynamic shape to allow proper airflow below/above it; when the sash is fully closed. The sash handle should be aerodynamic to avoid eddy currents, baffle arrangement should facilitate immediate fume hood exhaust, exhaust port should have right size, corner posts should be aerodynamic, and the bypass arrangement of the fume hood should have right design. Each and every element mentioned above contributes a lot towards a safe fume hood design.

      An incorrect design of fume hood is a disaster in waiting!

    2. Supply air:

      Lab supply air should be lesser than exhaust air to keep labs under negative pressure. Otherwise, it will impact fume hood performance too.
      Also, supply air diffusers should be at least 5 feet (1.5 meter) away from fume hood sash plane. One should choose low velocity diffusers to avoid any turbulence in the fume hood flow. Draft of supply air should not be directed on the face of fume hood. This directly impacts the fume hood flow and the fume leakages can increase.

      Also ensure that cross drafts within the room are below 30 fpm (0.15 m/s). There should not be any ceiling fan near the fume hood. It will affect the air entering the fume hood causing leakages.

    3. Exhaust system:

      If fume hood is a body, then exhaust blower is a heart and ductwork is like blood veins. A right sizing of blower & ductwork is very important for smooth flow. Blower capacity determines the fume hood face velocity. One small change in the position of dampers (fume hood dampers, branch dampers, bypass dampers) installed in the ductwork can impact the fume hood flow.

      A Variable Air Volume system has many electromechanical components. Our experience shows that due to heavy wear & tear; VAV components start failing in 3 to 5 years. This might go un-noticed, in case if you do not have robust maintenance program.

    4. Exhaust stack design:

      A bad exhaust stack design will not only spread the fumes in the surrounding areas, but it will also bring back the chemical fumes back to your lab. Many labs in densely populated areas suffer from this problem today.

      It is important to use a high height stack (as per local pollution control board rules). A safe bet will be to keep it at least 10 feet (3 meter) above the roof level of the building. Also, never place a supply AHU in the close vicinity of the exhaust stack. These might short circuit the air and bring back the chemical fumes to your lab.

    5. User work practices:

      This is one of the most important factors affecting a fume hood performance and user safety. Some common incorrect practices which affect fume hood airflow:-

      • Lab equipment loading inside the hood; blocking its airfoil and baffles.
      • Keeping sash open often above safe opening height
      • Putting head inside the hood
      • Ignoring the airflow alarm for low/high flow.

      Any of the above actions will leak fail the very purpose of the hood and will expose the user directly to the fumes.

      Even if you get the best fume hood in the world and design the best exhaust and lab supply air systems; you can’t protect people who follow incorrect and unsafe work practices.

These are the 5 topmost important factors which directly affect the performance of your fume hoods. So if think you need guidance to select a complete and good fume hood-exhaust system or if you want to evaluate the performance of your existing fume hoods; please feel free to write to us at:

Portable COVID19 Testing Lab

By Container Lab, Technical Articles 3 Comments


Currently India is experiencing the COVID-19 pandemic. The entire country is vulnerable and the statistics of infected and affected people is growing day by day. As on 27.3.2020; we have capacity to test only 15000 samples/ day all over India and we will need many more test facilities in rural India too, practically in every district.

Hence, Sciencebydesign Labsystems Pvt Ltd (Turnkey lab construction company), Arena Consultants (Lab Architects), & Firstsource Laboratory Solutions (Lab equipment company) have come together to design and develop a Portable Container Test Lab setup for testing COVID-19 virus. It is our sincere attempt of setting up such facilities for the benefit of our fellow countrymen.

We are elated to build Mobile Virology Test Labs which have also received a grant from BIRAC (DBT, Government of India) with the assistance of the esteemed Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

  • This is a PORTABLE / MOBILE/ CONTAINER Lab setup for testing COVID19
  • Lab set-up will be done in Container of size- 20’-0” x 8’-0” and can be transported to any location in India
  • Lab design is done considering CDC guidelines, GMPP (Good microbiological practice and procedure)and WHO Guidelines
  • It will have the capacity to carry out testing for 250 to 300 samples per day in 12 hours
  • Sample collection will primarily be from hospitals and it is assumed that they are delivered to this centre in batches
  • It is considered that the testing will be done via government approved ‘KITS’ only

Features :

  • The lab layout is compartmentalized in 3 sections:-
    1. Sample receiving area and storage
    2. Testing area
    3. Discard area
  • The lab is designed as a negative pressure lab with UNI-DIRECTIONAL FLOW from entry to discard point and will have the provision of AHU with fresh air supply. The entry will be through air lock.
  • Container has been furnished with storage for all PPE’s at the entry point and with under counter storages for reagents etc, inside the lab.
  • Lab has space planning all necessary equipments: Fridge (4 Deg C), frost free freezer (-20 Deg C), centrifuges 4 Deg, vortex mixer, certified class II BSC Type A2, real time PCR with work station, autoclave, sink with eye-wash, computer and A4 size printer
  • Discard area is segregated from main lab and all waste will be treated as bio-hazard waste as per PCB guidelines.


View 1

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Note :

  • All the lab equipment and mechanical equipment are one-time set-up that will be provided in this.
  • Exclusions: Trained medical staff to run the facility, PPEs, consumables, Testing Kits do not form the part of this portable unit.

For inquiries: Salil Sansare @

Mobile Covid Lab:

  • A versatile Mobile Testing Laboratory for Infectious diseases including Covid 19, Sars, Mers and any pathogenic disease
  • Primary purpose – to extend the “Reach of Testing” to remote places
  • BSL 2 laboratory, meeting or exceeding WHO, CDC and ICMR standards
  • Test capacity of 100 COVID- 19 samples in 4hours i.e. 300 samples / 12hours
  • Software capabilities can be used to control Infectious Disease epidemics


Why your high-quality lab furniture & fume hoods are corroding? (Part 2)

By Technical Articles One Comment

Are we using the fumehoods & lab furniture correctly or the way they should be used?

Taking it ahead from my previous blog on corrosion in fume hoods, in most cases, I typically observe unhealthy and unsafe practices of lab users.

It is a very common practice is to keep the fume hood sash open or above the safe opening height marked on the hood. In such a case, the primary function of fume hood- containment is totally lost.

I also observe that corrosive chemicals are stored in general storage or flammable solvent storage cabinets. For corrosive chemicals, one should use special cabinets which are chemical resistant and ventilated. Yellow coloured flammable solvent storage cabinets are not meant for corrosive chemicals storage.

I strongly think that good housekeeping practices are a must and have to be brought in as a policy in all labs. The chemical spills on fume hood airfoils or lab furniture are not immediately cleaned. Now, if these metal components are not wiped immediately, then it is obvious that few chemicals will attack the metal & eventually lead to corrosion.

This casual approach does not work in the lab. It is a great risk and causes lasting damage to lab infrastructure. The scientists who would treat the lab furniture like their own kitchen and inculcate safe working practices will definitely experience that it lasts much longer and labs are much safer.

Why your high-quality lab furniture & fume hoods are corroding? (Part 1)

By Technical Articles No Comments

In my visit to a few old chemical or pharma research labs, I found that the furniture and fume hoods are corroded. When this was discussed with users & engineering team, almost all of them pointed out towards the poor quality of lab furniture. Whether Indian or imported, premium or standard brand, the quality matter is always in question.

However, very few try to dig deeper. There are many possible reasons, the manufacturer’s quality being only one of those. We will try to understand a few main reasons for this corrosion.

 Reason 1: ‘Poor ventilation design’

Chemical labs must be under negative pressure. Many labs do not have a proper balance of supply and exhaust air. It can be because of improper fume hood exhaust volume calculations, wrong diversity factor, improper VAV system commissioning. Sometimes, the return air system is used in the chemistry labs, heat recovery wheels are installed for hoods or VAV controls have a very slow response time. This all leads to the accumulation of chemical fumes in labs, which attack the metal.

A few years back while commissioning of a research lab with nearly 100 hoods, we found that most labs are designed to be under positive pressure. When we raised this issue with Project Manager & HVAC vendor, they tried to justify their design. When we tried to explain the codes and practices, the vendor never agreed. He insisted that labs must always to be kept under positive pressure. In fact, he has been doing this for the last 30 years. He was a long time vendor for the client and had executed HVAC piece for their several R&D labs. No wonder, their all old labs had serious contamination issues.

Now in such cases, if labs are under positive pressure, rest assured that your all lab furniture and equipment will eventually corrode. It is just a matter of time. If this fume exposure can corrode the metal; one can simply imagine how unsafe it is for a researcher.

Say no to unsafe labs!

#labdesign #fumehood #labfurniture #labsafety #saynotounsafelabs

Read this guide for your Lab Furniture planning to ensure safety in your Laboratory

19 point guide to Laboratory FURNITURE planning – Indian context

By Technical Articles 3 Comments

1. Nature of the facility and the objective of building it

The pharmaceutical research facility will need a lot of wet labs; but a clinical research facility will need more of analytical laboratories with lot of support area. Hence, the furniture height and utility requirements will change significantly, depending on the requirements. As such the intent of building the facility has to be drawn first.

2. User habits:

User habits play a major role in selection and planning. For example, in a university lab, students tend to store chemicals in the fume hoods and lab furniture; hence it is important to have more chemical storage cabinets below the hoods or furniture. Whereas, in regular research labs, there are designated chemical storage areas and chemicals are usually not stored in lab furniture. Hence, lab furniture planning and material of construction for both labs may be different.

3. Need of flexibility:

A lot of new age research labs need flexibility for future expansion. For such labs; you can look at flexible laboratory furniture options available with most manufacturers. Furniture on castors, ductless fume hoods, ceiling suspended flexible ceiling are such concepts which can help you build flexible labs with ease of re-installation.

4. Capacity and work flows:

Depending on how many researchers will occupy the laboratory; the workup space, fume hoods and seating spaces need to be finalized. Depending on the workflow and work type, walk-in hood, distillation hood or bench-top hoods are selected. Researchers seating and working areas should not be very far.

5. Furniture configuration:

You have many options to choose from: fixed plinth based system, flexible C frame, H frame and castor systems too. Depending on the future expansion plans, a right type of furniture configuration should be opted.

6. Steel or Wood:

Depending on the usage, comfort level of users & user company’s internal standards; the material of construction is decided. Powder coated steel or engineered wood are two main options available today. Each option has its own pros & cons; which had to be weighed before taking a final call.

Further the furniture should be clutter free and ergonomic in design. Cluttered design makes cleaning difficult and adversely impacts material and man movement, creating serious safety implications. For example, movement space between two tables should be 1.5 meters at least. Also, wet lab’s furniture should have standing height (900 mm) and instrument lab’s furniture should have seating height tables (750 mm) with adequate leg spaces.

7. Worktop finishes:

Every lab will have different needs. Granite is most commonly used; but now there are several other options like: Ceramics, phenolic laminates, epoxy tops etc. Biotech laboratory will need worktops which are resistant to microbial growth, whereas a chemical research lab will need a worktop which withstands a lot of aggressive chemicals. So, take the samples from the furniture vendors and test those before making final decision.

8. Chemical storage strategies:

Depending on the type of chemicals, you can decide whether to use corrosive chemical cabinets or flammable solvent storage cabinets. Corrosive cabinets have chemical resistant coatings whereas flammable storage cabinets have capacity sustain fire for some time. Even in flammable storage cabinets; you have options of FM approved cabinets or 30-90 minutes fire rated cabinets. You need to plan for ventilation of these cabinets too.

9. Extraction systems:

Extraction systems although do not fall directly into furniture category, yet they are part of furniture infrastructure. You don’t need expensive fume hood to extract fumes everywhere. You can use canopies on wash areas, spot extractors over rotavapours or enclosures over analytical balances. This will help you reduce exhaust volume and also will cut the cost.

10. Pollution control options:

Depending on the type and volume of chemicals, you can decide to opt of either wet scrubbers or dry scrubbers. Also, the exhaust stack must be sized in such a way that fumes do not re-enter the facility. Please check your local pollution control board norm before finalizing this.

11. Compliance with user’s suitable standards:

Depending on the customer’s requirement of international standard; the lab furniture type will vary. If the customer is a North American company; they will prefer buying hoods which complies to ASHRAE 110: 2016 standard. But if it’s a European company, they may want to look at EN 14175: 2003 standard and stick to fume hood performing according to those standards. Same logic applies to lab furniture too

12. Compliance to safety guidelines:

Safety is the most important aspect in lab design. It is important to take note at the time of detailing, that the furniture edges are rounded and not sharp. The furniture accessories such reagent racks, eye-wash, safety showers etc are placed at ergonomically correct locations to avoid accidents at the time of usage. In case of fire-prone reactions, you should review and check adequate fire protection arrangements have been made within fume hoods.

13. Maintenance:

Lab furniture does not really need much maintenance; but fume hood & exhaust system does. Typical hood related maintenance problems revolve around blower’s breakdown, sash ropes breakage and airflow drop. A right fume hood should have countermeasures or ease of maintenance for all this.

14. Availability of spare parts and durability:

Ensure that the makes of spares & accessories are indeed reputed brands. A lot of not-so-good quality brands are used and those fail often. Also, another good idea will be to include 2 years spares as a part of the contract. A check upon durability is important from the investment and safety point of view.

15. Vendor selection and after sales service:

There is no point to decide about the vendor purely on the basis of the brochures.

The decision to buy from a particular vendor should be made after visiting some of their old installations and ascertaining their capabilities. The vendor’s compliance to global standards with third party test certificates should also be considered.

It is essential to check whether the company has an authorized local partner/service center in close vicinity to ensure minimum down time.

16. Involvement of all stakeholders:

Users, Project engineers and Architects must be involved for this decision. Otherwise you may expect a lot of re-work and dissatisfaction.

17. Budget:

Depending on the specifications and manufacturer; the prices will vary. For example, one simple 6 feet fume hood can be available in the range of Rs. 1.5 lacs to Rs. 4 lacs. So budgeting is really important. Price difference between imported furniture & Indian furniture can be very significant. If you are an export duty exempt unit; then imported furniture may be a good option for you.

18. The ROI:

Factor in the ROI. A marginally higher investment in VAV fume hoods can save a lot of running cost by cutting down exhaust of conditioned air, blower and AHU sizing. The payback period of such system is typically 18-24 months. Or consider buying a state of the art design style in lab furniture, which will stay relevant for next 20-25 years.

19. Last but not the least-Aesthetics:

One of the most important part and it goes without saying that everybody wants a very good looking lab. Colours play a vital role here. So, choose colors wisely. If you use common colours, don’t expect your lab to look uncommon.