Selecting The Right Material For Your Lab Casework 

Jan 30, 2018 6:39:51 PM / by Albert Cappello

Gone are the days where labs were built with wood casework and black epoxy resin countertops. Advancements in materials, equipment and processes have made it more important than ever for businesses to purchase the right lab casework among the options available today.

It is important to assess the requirements of your lab in order to determine which material your casework should be made out of.  The budget that is available, functions that will be performed, chemicals that will be used, equipment needed and amount of wear and tear that the cabinets will take are all factors that should go into the decision.

Let’s look at the pros and cons of the top 4 materials that are available for lab casework, starting from the lowest price and ending with the highest price.

 

Laminate

High pressure laminate is made by applying a melamine resin over decorative surface paper, which is then bonded to a core of kraft papers impregnated with phenolic resin. The result is  decorative cabinets that are functional and decorative. It is not recommended for exposure to extremes in humidity or heat.

Pros

  • Low to Moderate Duty
  • Designer Looks Available
  • Low Pricelab casework

Cons

  • Light Duty
  • Low  Bacterial Resistance
  • Low Chemical Resistance
  • Low Corrosive Resistance
  •  
  • Low Fungal Resistance
  • Low Water and Moisture Resistance
  • Low Scratch Resistance

Best Applications

Product testing and technology labs.  Labs that have a low budget, performing general functions that require cabinets that are functional, durable and decorative.


Wood

Wood has been the traditional choice for the casework in laboratories. Wood is attractive but is more susceptible to wear and tear than steel or stainless steel.  It shows every scratch, chip, dent and discoloration of the finish from chemicals or liquids.

Pros

  • Moderate Duty
  • Attractive
  • Mid Price

Cons

  • Low Bacterial Resistance
  • Low Chemical Resistance
  • Low Fungal Resistance
  • Low Water and Moisture Resistance
  • Low Scratch Resistance
  • Dents easily on impact

Best Applications

Beauty products, basic product testing, dry research and technology labs.  Labs performing general functions that require cabinets that are functional, durable and attractive.


work surface chemical resistant chart

Steel

Most steel cabinetry is made of heavy duty, 12-gauge steel for heavy-duty use. Steel typically has a powder coat finish, which resists cracking, peeling, and chipping. The powder coat is also abrasion, corrosion and chemical resistant.

Pros

  • Heavy Duty
  • Moderate Bacterial Resistance
  • Moderate Chemical Resistance
  • Moderate Scratch Resistance
  • Moderate Bacterial Resistance
  • High Fungal Resistance
  • High Water and Moisture Resistance
  • Low to Mid Price

Cons

  • Can dent on impact

Best Applications

Chemical, clean room, dental, esd, electronics, industrial testing, photographic dark room, product testing, research and development, school, and scientific urology labs. Labs performing experiments and tests where cabinets need to withstand wear and tear, as well as be moisture resistant and easily cleanable.  


Stainless Steel  

Stainless steel is made of low carbon steel that is made up of chromium and nickel. This makes it resistant to rust and corrosion. It is also non-porous surface, so liquids cannot penetrate into it. Bacteria, mold and other common household germs don’t stand a chance with stainless.

Pros

  • Moderate to Heavy Dutylab casework
  • Moderate Chemical Resistance
  • Moderate Corrosive Resistance
  • High Fungal Resistance
  • High Fungal Resistance
  • High Water and Moisture Resistance

Cons

  • Low Scratch Resistance
  • Dents easily on impact
  • High Price

Best Applications

Animal research, autopsy, biological science, chemical, clean room, food testing, hospital, medical, and pharmaceutical labs. Labs performing experiments and tests where results depend on non-contamination, as it is easily cleanable.  

 

Choosing a Manufacturer

Once you figure out which material is right for your application, it is important to find the right manufacturer. There are six things you should look for from a manufacturer...product quality, customer service, manufacturing lead time, price, shipping and customization. You can learn more in our recent article.

 

 

Update Your Laboratory Furniture On A Budget

 

 

 

 

Topics: Laboratory, Laboratory Furniture

Albert Cappello

Written by Albert Cappello

Albert Cappello is the CEO of Workstation Industries, Inc. WSI is a manufacturer of Industrial, Technical and Laboratory Furniture based in Southern California.

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