Drying Cabinet Exchange
King's conducted an assessment of laboratory equipment, including incubators, biosafety cabinets, ovens and drying cabinets.
A new drying cabinet
Drying cabinets are typically used to dry glassware at varying temperature. They were particularly important to this study as older models have poor insulation for the lower heating element.
Often without timers, the cabiners run for extended periods of time and therefore release massive amounts of heat which contribute to mechanical cooling requirements. New cabinets have since been designed by GenLab which include improved insulation, a built-in timer and offer fans to circulate air and reduce dry times.
After surveying the existing drying cabinets at King's, it became evident that there was a case for replacement. Many of the cabinets were left on for days at a time and several were over capacity. Users were consulted about their usage needs and whether they were using the appropriate storage units.
Of the 33 drying cabinets surveyed, an agreed 27 were purchased for repalcement. Many users agreed to decrease capacity where it was feasible, particularly when drying times were reduced by the new fans circulating warm air internally. The savings achieved by this project will have been paid back within approximately four years of savings and the result will see an annual saving of 66 tonnes of carbon.
Key learnings from the project:
- Drying cabinets are one of the few equipment types which are possibly worth outright replacement
- Users must be consulted extensively to ensure that they understand why the cabinets are being replaced, why they can't keep their old models and how to make best use of the timers built into the new versions
The project was deemeded a success and users quickly reported reduced heat output in warm wash and prep rooms.