Are you having trouble deciding on which chairs to specify for your wet lab, cleanroom, electronics manufacturing factory, or industrial facility?
We take a look at the important details that you need to consider for these demanding environments – from choosing the right materials that can resist chemical spills to ergonomic considerations that keep your employees healthy and fit while on the job.
What to Look for When Choosing Chairs for a Wet Lab Environment — including Sample Processing and Testing Labs
Wet labs create an exceptionally demanding physical environment.
Accidental chemical spills are always a risk, so you need to choose your chair specifications carefully.
Ordinary fabric upholstery is usually a poor choice, due to their inability to resist chemical exposure without staining; also, ordinary upholstery fabrics can absorb and retain unpleasant chemical odors, especially at the seams.
Instead, take a look at fully enclosed urethane seating designs with minimal seams, which make them easier to clean and maintain, as well as providing greater resistant to multiple chemical exposures.
(If you have a less demanding wet lab application, bleach-cleanable fabrics that resist stains may be sufficient. Speak with your Formaspace Design Consultant to review your options.)
Because the majority of wet lab designs are designed with countertop height work surfaces, you’ll need to select chairs that incorporate durable foot rings or platform-style footrests — to prevent ‘dangling feet’ that can cause unnecessary worker fatigue. Footrests and platforms made from metal are long-lasting and may be more resistant to the demands of especially harsh wet lab environments compared to conventional “composite” ones, e.g. those made from molded plastic. (Ask your Formaspace Design Consultant for a specific recommendation for your application.)
Finally, to facilitate lab workers shifting from one area of the lab to another, you’ll want to specify heavy-duty hard floor casters.
Select the Right Seating for Use in Cleanrooms
Providing suitable seating for cleanroom environments is a challenge.
Ordinary furniture seating systems are out of the question — as their friable upholstery fabrics and hard-to-clean surfaces can generate and collect dust particles.
What to do?
Well, if your cleanroom application is rated between Class 100,000 (ISO 8) and Class 100 (ISO 5)*n there is now a solution: seating systems that are specially designed for high-performance cleanroom operations.
*Class 100 (ISO 5) cleanroom environments can’t have more than 100 particles of size 0.5 um or greater per cubic foot of conditioned air. For more information, see our previous article on what architects need to know about cleanroom design.
How can these comfortable chairs, with their 3-Function adjustable seating mechanisms, comply with the demands of Class 100 (ISO 5) cleanroom environments? The answer lies in their unique, smooth, sealed plastic seating surfaces that are easy to wipe down, while at the same time designed to prevent collection or shedding of particulates into the ambient air.
If your cleanroom application is even more demanding — e.g. Class 10 (ISO 4) or Class 1 (ISO 3) environments — Formaspace can custom manufacture metal seating solutions, such as gowning benches that are tailored to your unique cleanroom needs.
Find the Right Chairs for ESD Applications
Many of Formaspace’s industrial customers, such as Dell Computer, work with delicate electronic devices that can be catastrophically damaged by unintentional electrostatic discharge.
That’s why such a wide variety of our Formaspace industrial clients — including electronics manufacturing and assembly operations, electronics testing and repair labs, and tech labs that handle and configure expensive servers — take advantage of our ESD (Electrostatic Dissipative) furniture configurations, which have ESD work surfaces built into the furniture — to provide a robust, practical solution for avoiding accidental electronic static discharge.
Of course, all the ESD protections in the world mean nothing if the chairs you use aren’t designed to prevent accidental static discharge as well.
It’s easy to check if the seating used in your facility has dissipative protection features. The most common telltale sign is a drag chain mounted underneath that allows static discharge to your dissipative floor. (Another alternative method used is small metal clips on one or more of the chair casters that ground the chair to the dissipative floor.)
But there is more to the story than a drag chain or caster clip. Properly designed chairs used in ESD environments are designed from the ground up (pardon the pun) to absorb and redistribute the human body’s natural tendency to accumulate static electricity.
It’s also important to specify chairs that have been completely assembled and individually tested at the factory to be assured of complete ESD protection — buying seating that requires on-site assembly without sophisticated testing can lead trouble down the line, so to speak.
Another purchasing consideration is the ergonomic comfort of your employees, who typically work long hours on highly detailed, highly-precise tasks that require intense concentration. Investing in comfortable seating will help reduce discomfort and help prevent injuries — an important consideration, given that the average preventable injury can cost employers more than $100,000 per incident.
Pick the Best Task Chairs for Industrial Facilities
Industrial applications — from factory assembly lines to packing stations at distribution centers — are tough environments where employees work long hours, often with three shifts operating 24×7.
That’s where industrial furniture from Formaspace excels.
Industrial seating is no different.
It’s critical to specify chairs that are built tough — from the get-go.
Selecting the right upholstery surface is critical. Instead of traditional cloth fabric, consider specifying tough yet supple surfaces — such as molded urethane or vinyl upholstery — that resist tearing (when nicked with a box cutter, for example) and are easy to clean when exposed to dust and dirt, as well as common industrial spills, including oils and lubricants.
Ergonomics are also important to consider. Workers in industrial settings put in long hours, and they need good support to reduce back pain and other injuries caused by repetitive strains on the job. Chairs that can be easily adjusted to fit different-sized workers are a must, as are chairs that can accommodate different height work-surfaces — including height-adjustable ones.
It’s important to provide a place for workers to rest their arms, so if they are not working exclusively at a desk-like environment, you should specify ergonomic armrests.
Taller workstations mean taller seating, so employees will need a comfortable place to rest their feet — with suitable foot rings or built-in platforms at the base of the chair.
Finally, mobility is important for many facilities. If you choose casters, select heavy-duty ones to ensure a secure footing for employees when seated while offering the flexibility of being able to move the chair around easily from task location to task location.
Trust Formaspace for Industrial Seating Applications
At the end of the day, every work environment is different, and each employee will have different needs. Be sure to take into account the entire spectrum of requirements when making your final specifications for seating.
“Formaspace can help you find the right solution for all your industrial furniture needs – including seating,” says Corey Hutchins, Director of Sales at Formaspace. “By working with a single vendor that happens to be one of the leading American manufacturers of industrial furniture, you can simplify your project planning with a single point of contact. And we can provide long-lasting solutions that will make your employees more productive for many, many years to come.”
Formaspace is proud to count so many forward-thinking companies among our client list, including Amazon, Ford Motor Company, SpaceX, Oculus, Toyota, Busch, Yeti, Apple, Google, Twitter, and Capital One.
Formaspace is here to help make your project a success. Your Formaspace Design Consultant is just a phone call away to help you find the best product to meet your unique needs.