There are many options when it comes to choosing compliant storage systems for your laboratory and in this article, we look at assisting you with the best choice in terms of Origin of Manufacturer, Appearance, Physical Properties, Flexibility, and Customisation.
Origin of Manufacturer
Where the cabinet is manufactured is worth considering. Generally, in Australia, you’ll likely come across either cabinets that are manufactured here locally or manufactured in China. Consider purchasing a cabinet manufactured locally to ensure that it is built to Australian Standards. Not only do Australian manufactures understand our local standards, but they also take into consideration our climate and usage to ensure longevity of the cabinet.
If you are looking to achieve a clean, bright, and modern facility, there is a tendency to lean towards the white and greys. There are many different colours to choose from when it comes to a steel cabinet as the colour is coated onto the steel. Contrary to popular belief, there are no standard colours that a cabinet must adhere to. You will often see yellow for flammable, blue for corrosive etc. but you not required to have specific colours for different types of dangerous goods. This gives you the flexibility to choose a cabinet that is more visually appealing and blends in well with your laboratory. White is a great choice for a steel cabinet as it works well with a modern facility and can look great in any area.
With a Toxic, Oxidising or Flammable cabinet, you really need to purchase a steel powder coated cabinet. When it comes to Corrosive cabinets, you have the choice out of Plastic or Steel. Plastic Dangerous Goods Cabinets are typically made out of polypropylene and can vary from 30L to 250L in capacity. Plastic cabinets are the more expensive option and can be around 50% more in price than a metal cabinet. Plastic cabinets do have some major benefits over metal cabinets but there are some considerations to keep in mind. You can read more in another LabAnswers article – Plastic Vs Steel Corrosive Cabinets >>>
Flexibility is often overlooked when considering a dangerous goods cabinet. When we say flexibility, we are referring to how adjustable is the cabinet to suit your changing needs. A couple of things worth considering:
- Does the cabinet come with venting bungs? Even though initially you may not need to vent the cabinet, having the bungs in place already ensures you can easily vent it in future if required.
- Are you able to change the substances stored in the cabinet? Most cabinets come pre-labelled with a single class (Flammable, Corrosive, Toxic, or Oxidising). Consider purchasing a cabinet with the flexibility to change class if need be. The Westlab 4-IN-1 Cabinets, for example, come with all the labels to change between Flammable, Corrosive, Toxic, or Oxidising substances so if your requirements change over time, you can simply remove one class of content, re-label and adapt the unit to comply allowing you to fill the cabinet with the new class of chemicals.
When you have a restricted space and need a specific size cabinet, make sure your supplier has the ability to customise your cabinets. Pick up the phone and ask the question, if the cabinets are manufactured in the same country of origin, there is a high chance they will be able to do this for you. Provide information such as height, length, depth, number of shelves, and venting locations. Try to stick to the standard cabinets sizes if you can as customisation can potentially affect price from anywhere between 10% and 50%.