Demand for new microscope products continues to grow, with market analysts now projecting that the worldwide market for microscopes will reach $1.6 billion by 2027.
This increased demand for microscope work poses several challenges for laboratory designers, who need to provide laboratory technicians and research scientists with an economically sound work environment that promotes efficiency and reduces fatigue during long hours at the bench.
This is where Formaspace can assist. As the largest independent American manufacturer of custom laboratory furniture, we can help you specify the right microscope table setup that integrates perfectly within your laboratory environment, then build your new lab furniture here at our factory headquarters in Austin, Texas.
Let’s take a look at the significant factors you should consider when selecting your next microscope table, starting with proper fit and ergonomics.
Why The Proper Fit Of Your Microscope Table Is Important
Because microscope operators often work long hours at a bench, it’s critical to provide a comfortable, ergonomically suitable set up to help prevent operators from developing pain in their back, neck, shoulders, arms, and hands.
As we’ve written about before, sitting for too many hours in the day can lead to muscular-skeletal issues, particularly lower back pain. Microscope operators, who may spend more than 50% of their working hours using their microscope equipment, are also particularly susceptible to other issues as well, including eyestrain and muscle strain in the arms, such as rotator cuff issues, shoulder impingement injuries, and “tennis elbow.” Operators using optical microscopes can also suffer from joint pain in the hand, such as De Quervain’s tenosynovitis, which can cause pain due to holding the thumb upward to adjust focus knobs for an extended period of time.
Steps To Ensure A Proper Fit Between The Operator And The Microscope Equipment
The key to proper ergonomics is to ensure that the operator’s back is straight, and the knees are bent at an angle of 90°, and the operator’s feet can touch the floor. The operator should also be able to reach the microscopic features easily: ensuring that the neck does not have to lean forward greater than 20° and that the arms are comfortably bent between 90 and 120°.
To achieve this ergonomic operator position, focus on these three design elements when specifying microscope tables:
1. Select The Right Seating
Formaspace recommends our line of five-way adjustable lab seats, which provide easy adjustment to meet the economic needs of lab operators of different size and stature. If your microscopic application is in a clean room, we also offer seating that is designed for cleanroom applications. And it’s also good to know that Formaspace seating products are built with easy-to-clean surfaces for added peace of mind during this time of COVID-19.
2. Consider Height Adjustable Microscope Tables
Formaspace also manufactures a full line of height adjustable microscopic tables, which allow operators to dial-in the most comfortable working height for their needs. This is very useful when different operators access the same microscope equipment during the day or for different shifts. These height adjustable workbenches can also allow operators to switch from a seated position to a standing position, which can help reduce fatigue during long shifts.
3. Specify Microscopic Table Cutouts To Avoid Leaning Forward
Not all microscope equipment is designed with ergonomics in mind. For example, we often find that in existing installations, the microscope equipment is positioned too far away from the operator. This is where custom cutouts in the microscope table can help; these allow operators to use the equipment more comfortably — without having to bend their upper back and their shoulders forward or bend their neck down at an extreme angle — while still providing comfortable support areas for the operator’s elbows and arms.
Because the Formaspace manufactures its own microscope tables, we can create these custom cutouts during the manufacturing process to deliver a professional fit and finish that matches the rest of your laboratory installation.
Why The Choice Of A Work Surface Is Important For Your Microscope Table
By far one of the most important questions your friendly Formaspace design consultant will ask when discussing the available material selection options for your next microscope table is how will the microscopic set up be used.
For example, is this a clean room application where preventing the buildup of particle contaminants is important?
Will the microscope set up be used for examining microelectronic components (in which case, providing built-in ESD protection will be a paramount consideration…)
Or will it be used in a dry lab or perhaps in a wet lab environment where resistance to chemical exposure is a primary consideration when specifying the right material choice for the microscope table work surface.
Select The Right Material Option For Your Microscope Table Work Surface
As a custom manufacturer, Formaspace offers the broadest range of work surface materials available to ensure that we can provide the right choice for your application.