Middlesex Gases

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Is Your Lab on the Move? Getting Your Gas Supplier Involved from the Beginning Can Save Dollars and Headaches

Cambridge, Massachusetts is the region’s mecca for start-ups and well-established organizations in the life sciences, biotech, pharma, and health-care industries. With so many of these companies experiencing fast-paced growth year after year, the area has run out of appropriately sized spaces to accommodate them.

Initially, a new science or research venture may require only a modest-sized lab. After a successful test phase, though, these same companies—sometimes within the course of a year—may double or triple the size of their teams, attracting considerable venture capital funding. Then, that small lab space, which was ideal at first, can end up being a limiting factor to further progress.

You may be entering into this exciting phase and experiencing or anticipating growth, and now your challenge is to find an appropriate space that can support it. With so much demand and urgency around finding ample real estate right now, it would be easy for your company to get caught up in the race for space and possibly overlook a key step in the moving process. A critical question to resolve sooner rather than later when you’re looking for new lab space is, “Where is our gas equipment going to go?”

It’s important to work closely with your gas supplier to address this and other gas-related issues that often arise during pre-move site visits and throughout the transition to your new facility. Starting a conversation with your specialty gas engineers early in the process should ensure that your gas needs can be met by the location you end up choosing, and that your equipment will be situated in an efficient, cost-effective, and safe spot. It also may save you from last-minute headaches and unexpected expenditures associated with breaking through a wall, ceiling, or both to create a gas supply route to your lab.

At Middlesex, we encourage our customers to contact us before they get the keys to their new facility so we can set up a walk-through. We typically take this tour with a lab or facilities manager, and we like to have the architect’s blueprints in hand when we do it. Conducting a thorough site survey provides us with a clear vision of where the lab and loading dock will be and helps us identify any potential layout or delivery issues before it’s too late to make adjustments.

The following are just a few examples of areas of concern we’ve identified in the past for our customers:

  • A stairwell that would interfere with gas delivery.
  • A hallway that was too narrow to accommodate the width of the liquid dewars the customer was ordering.
  • A designated space for gas that was too small to fit the equipment the customer wanted.
  • A plan for gas tanks and manifolds that would require an unnecessary, and costly, amount of vacuum piping.

Early in the move process is also an opportune time to review your lab’s gas requirements with your supplier. Whether we’ve worked with a customer for years or we’re working with an organization for the first time, we like to act as if we’re starting from scratch. This ensures we won’t miss a critical detail about what type of equipment and gases a client needs and wants, especially since many of these requirements may change with a move.

The information we will go over includes the following:

  • Will your gas applications remain the same or grow?
  • What are your pressure flow requirements?
  • Are you taking any of your existing gas equipment, such as manifolds or regulators, with you?
  • Was the space you’re moving into previously a lab? If so, was gas equipment left behind that you are considering using?
  • Are you using the latest technology, such as remote cylinder monitoring, to manage your gas supply?
  • Would it be more cost-efficient to move from cylinders or liquid dewars to MicroBulk or Bulk tanks?
  • When do you need your first tanks delivered?

It’s very important for your gas supplier to gather the answers to these questions and others like them up front. As with many industries today, there can be long lead times to secure the equipment a lab requires, so once we have these details in hand, our team quickly gets to work. We reach out to the appropriate vendors, send them equipment specs, review quotes, place orders, and make sure that the correct items, in the right amount, arrive on time so your lab has everything it needs to be high-performing from day one.

Whether you are in the process of looking for space now or are still searching for the ideal location, there are numerous complexities in transitioning your company to a new facility, not the least of which will be planning out the right gas solutions for your relocated lab.