It's often said that fume cupboard manufacturers lack the ability to move at pace. With cabinet installation lead times typically ranging from twelve to twenty weeks, it's simple to understand why. However, what might seem like a straightforward manufacturing process depends on what you, the customer, need.
Delivering, installing and commissioning a standard off-the-shelf fume hood can be done in days. Especially if it's a pre-existing model already in stock. Recirculating fume cupboards are a prime example. They require no ductwork, are rarely bespoke and only require calibration and setup.
On the other hand, specification matters. Depending on the complexity and scale of the product and the type of fume cabinet you need (ducted fume cupboard or ductless fume cupboard), you could lengthen the manufacturing process. To help would-be purchasers navigate this lead-time minefield, we have created a simple guide that lists three key considerations.
We design bespoke fume cupboards for a specific process within your laboratory. This could be a pass-through hatch, a fold-out benchtop strong enough to support heavy equipment or significant dimension changes, be it depth, height or width. The point of a bespoke cabinet is your control over the final product and to improve work process flow through your laboratory. Typically, the more complex the unit is, the longer it takes to produce.
Having said that, you can shorten the procurement process by creating a thorough specification brief that explains your fume cupboard requirements. You can find more information on developing a specification brief here. Either way, the benefits of choosing a bespoke cabinet are clear. It can shorten your process times and, in some cases, safeguard your employees from potential hazards.
Volume plays a crucial role in prioritising and scheduling your order. Typically, fume cupboard manufacturers sell bespoke units individually. However, there are exceptions. If your order exceeds ten cabinets, it will be broken down into batches or phases. Each phase will commit to delivering a specified number of fume cupboards. The more phases required, the greater the lead time. You should always plan well in advance of any purchase. We recommend at least 6 months to ensure a hassle-free procurement process.
There's a clear distinction between the infrastructure needed to facilitate a ducted or ductless fume cupboard. Ductless fume cupboards can be installed and commissioned within hours. Think of it as the fume cupboard equivalent to a traditional "Plug & Play" model. On the other hand, ducted fume cupboards require specialist engineers to position and calibrate the unit. This may not directly impact the manufacturing phase. But it will considerably increase your installation times, especially if your laboratory needs additional ducting or a suitable HVAC system.
Our Expert Opinion: Building fume cupboards takes time. With a complex variety of materials and different supply chains to contend with (steel, polypropylene, glass, ceramic etc.), finding the right starting point is challenging. You can expect any cabinet to take between twelve to twenty weeks, regardless of which brand you choose. Just remember to answer these three questions (listed above) before making any judgements. Making the right decisions around specification early on can vastly improve consistency and timings when it comes to getting a new installation up and running.