Lab Design Trends in 2020
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Flexible Lab Furniture
Flexible laboratory workstations and casework are increasingly important in today’s scientific environment. With a variety of new tools and equipment in development, modern lab furniture needs to have maximum connectivity, power supply, and flexibility.
Lab Furniture Must Have:
- Room for added gas valves and nozzles
- Connections to electrical and plumbing
- Flexible dimensions to work around columns and other room features
- Smooth and soft-edged design
- Clean welded surfaces with welding beads only where structurally necessary
- Aesthetic surfaces and textures to create a cohesive appearance
We recently installed a flexible lab installation at SUNY Downstate in New York. This project included built-in outlet and irrigation while keeping the table mobile and able to be reconfigured within the room.
Science Recruiting Challenges and Urbanization
Research companies are increasingly focused on major cities like Boston, New York, and San Francisco. These hubs have no problem attracting young talent who are indifferent to rising rent rates and seeking fun, energetic cities to begin their careers.
Laboratories in need of highly skilled employees face unique challenges to make up for the competitive advantage that these larger cities have. To counteract this, there are key areas companies in smaller cities must invest in to stay competitive:
Don’t Neglect Company Culture: Culture is a major draw for young talent, especially in less populated regions. Invest in operational and HR staff who can keep a pulse on employee morale. Cultivate a strong sense of community through different work-related and off-the-clock activities. This will go a long way towards recruiting new talent and keeping the employees you have.
Make the Most of Recruiting Channels: Use every resource at your disposal to find new talent. Don’t just rely on job boards. Consider hiring recruiters who specialize in STEM fields.
Consider Outsourcing: If your firm is finding it difficult to fill certain positions, or losing employees to more competitive markets, you may want to seek contract work and outsource certain tasks. Make sure to take the proper steps to counteract any holes in your personnel due to recruitment challenges.
Infrastructure Laboratory Data and Cloud Computing
New laboratory technology can interface with the cloud, allowing for seamless recording and analysis of instrumentation data. This will allow practitioners to access their instruments remotely and with greater ease.
These technological advances, like LIMS and LIS systems, will lead to more compact equipment and less space needed for computer workstations. Conversely, labs that have to process large amounts of data may choose to invest in on-site dedicated servers to run their operation.
The rise of automation in laboratory tasks is a key result of the shift to cloud computing. Laboratory automation has been around for quite some time. As devices become more interconnected, creative ways to increase efficiency and build automated infrastructure will arise.
Shift Towards Sustainable Lab Research
Harvard’s laboratories adopted a sustainability plan in 2014 which has escalated activities each year since. This is part of a growing trend to make labs more eco-friendly.
Key Focus Areas for a Sustainable Laboratory:
- Efficient Lighting Systems
- Ventilation Control and Limitations
- Solar Power Generation
- Demand for Cooling and Air Changes
- Sanitation Products and Chemical Cleaner
- Ultra-Low-Temperature Freezers
- High-Heat Equipment
- High-Voltage Systems
- Energy Demanding Equipment and Instrumentation
- Retrofitting and Working within Existing Constraints
Sustainable research facilities require diligence on the part of designers and renovators. Project managers must take care to ensure they make the most out of the facility’s constraints of the facility to create the most eco-friendly lab possible.
We Are on the Cutting Edge of Lab Design
Our laboratory design experts can help you design or renovate your optimal lab space. We offer full-service custom or quickship manufacturing, floor plan design, shipping, installation, and future service.
Call (866) 612-7312 for a consultation and quote. We offer complimentary on-sites and detailed schematics with all price requests.