Tips On Designing Your Lab Space

Oil Lab Series 3

Previously on the Oil Lab Series we looked at the investment needed to set up and run your own oil analysis lab. In this article we look at some factors that you need to keep in mind when designing your lab space.

The design of your lab is mostly dependant on your oil analysis requirements, but also other factors such as available physical space, work flow efficiency and, most importantly, safety.

Oil Analysis Requirements
Your oil analysis needs will determine the type of tests you need to run on your samples, as well as the instruments required to run those tests. We will be covering tests and instruments in greater detail in the next article of the Oil Lab Series.

Physical Space
To set up a lab, you need to ensure that you have the physical space that:

  • has a layout assisting efficient work flow;
  • has a carefully controlled climate, including temperature and humidity;
  • take steps to minimise airborne contaminants;
  • has adequate ventilation, particularly if noxious chemicals will be used;
  • adequate workspace and hook-up for air, water and power, including room for expansion if planned; and
  • enough storage to be able to store samples for a minimum of three months for retest or lab analysis.

Running a lab requires the use of chemicals and chemical reactions, and so it is always important to keep the health and safety of you and your fellow workers a number one priority. Make all essential safety equipment available, including eye protection, gloves and MSDS sheets. Ensure that all staff have been trained on safety procedures.

If you do not have the space and capacity yet to build and run a full-scale lab, you can easily start with a smaller version and expand as and when you are able to. The below schematic illustrates how you can start with a smaller lab layout inside a container, and how it can grow and expand into a full-scale operation with your own building.

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