Why Using a Spectrophotometer with a Small Footprint Could Benefit Your Lab

spectrophotometer small footprint
A spectrophotometer with a small footprint can streamline your color quality control process. Image Source: Shutterstock user DRogatnev

Are you performing color quality control from a small lab? Do you test your products in a hazardous environment? Or, do you merely want to improve your overall color quality control protocol? If so, you may consider using a spectrophotometer with a small footprint. Instruments that have smaller footprints are the perfect solution for cramped lab spaces, and these spectrophotometers have a number of other benefits as well, including increased longevity, accuracy, and flexibility over time. By integrating a small footprint spectrophotometer into your color measurement process, you could create a more efficient lab environment and streamline your color quality control procedure.

What is a Small Footprint Instrument?

A small footprint spectrophotometer is any instrument that occupies a small amount of space in the lab or testing facility.1 Many portable spectrophotometers inherently have a small footprint because they are compact enough to be held by hand. However, some benchtop spectrophotometers also have a small footprint, including the HunterLab Vista. In fact, the Vista is smaller than any comparable color measurement instrument in the world—it is slightly more than 19 inches wide and 7 inches tall. Despite its small size, the instrument is capable of capturing both transmission color and haze simultaneously and is equipped with state-of-the-art color measurement software that includes nearly all transmission color and haze indexes used in modern industries. In other words, you will not have to sacrifice color measurement accuracy in order to use an instrument with a small footprint in your lab. This allows you to make the most out of limited lab space while ensuring that your products are consistent in both color and haze.

spectrophotometer small footprint
The Vista spectrophotometer has the smallest footprint of any comparable spectrophotometer in the world, making it ideal for small lab settings. Image Source: Shutterstock user venimo

Small Footprint Instruments Maximize Limited Lab Space

The primary value of a small footprint is that lab space can be limited. This is especially true if you perform more than one type of quality control test on your products from your lab, as you may need multiple instruments to perform each unique test. For example, in addition to testing for transmission color and haze in your products, you may also have to test your product’s pH or check that it is free from contaminants. The challenge that many testing facilities face is that there is often very little space in which to perform all of these tasks.  As the University of Toledo College of Medicine explains, “Research laboratory space, like money, is a finite resource.”2

Lack of space in a lab can also lead to a number of challenges when you test your products for color consistency. Not only does a cramped space make it more difficult and stressful for your operators to perform their color quality control tasks, it may also lead to inefficiencies at your lab. For example, if your operator needs to test a sample of water for clarity, this simple process becomes much more difficult when lab space is scarce, and the operator is more likely to accidentally spill the sample if other large instruments occupy the same space on the benchtop. Moreover, if the operator uses a spectrophotometer with a large footprint, it is much more difficult to store multiple water samples on the benchtop during the testing process, as the spectrophotometer occupies most of the free space on the counter.

A small footprint solves many of the challenges associated with small lab spaces. Because the Vista occupies just 1-square-foot of space on the benchtop, there is plenty of room for storing product samples or other tools on the benchtop. Additionally, the Vista includes a touchscreen display with customizable workspaces and multiple data views. This touchscreen doesn’t require the operator to use additional paperwork or operating checklists, which also saves valuable space in the lab, and data can be easily shared via Ethernet communications.

spectrophotometer small footprint
When you perform color quality control from a small lab, it’s important to choose spectrophotometers that are compact in order to improve workflow and reduce safety risks. Image Source: Shutterstock user SkyPics Studio

Small Footprint Spectrophotometers Increase Safety in Small Lab Environments

In addition to maximizing space in a compact lab, a small footprint spectrophotometer can also improve safety at your lab, especially if you test hazardous materials or perform testing under harsh factory conditions. One of the challenges of performing tests in a small lab is that operators are more likely to spill hazardous materials like corrosive chemicals. This is because limited benchtop space makes it more difficult to safely store samples of hazardous materials during the testing process. Many labs also use fume hoods as a critical safety precaution when testing such samples. However, the space under these hoods is often very narrow and tight; fume hoods consume a great deal of energy while they are being used, so labs often use the smallest fume hood space possible in order to prevent excess energy consumption.3

A spectrophotometer with a small footprint is can be an important addition to labs that contain fume hoods or hazardous materials. Because the Vista increases the amount of available free space on the benchtop, operators can safely store their hazardous samples without bumping into these samples or accidentally spilling them during the color testing process. The Vista is also small enough to fit underneath even the most compact fume hoods. This not only makes the lab environment safer for operators by allowing samples to be fully contained under the hood, it also means that the lab can use a more compact fume hood, which in turn saves on energy consumption and costs. The Vista is also extremely durable; it is resistant to corrosive chemicals, completely sealed, and equipped with a spill-proof sample compartment. This means that even if an operator accidentally knocks over a chemical sample under cramped lab conditions, the sample won’t damage the Vista.

Why You Should Invest in a Small Footprint Spectrophotometer

Using a small footprint spectrophotometer in your lab can have a positive impact on safety and operational costs in your testing facility. Not only is the Vista a safer choice for labs that work with hazardous materials and fume hoods, it also keeps operational costs low through lower energy consumption. When you choose a spectrophotometer with a small footprint, you’re not only investing in a more compact instrument, you’re dramatically improving work conditions and efficiency at your lab.

HunterLab Innovation

Are you ready to maximize your lab’s space and get the most accurate color measurement results possible? Contact us today to find out more about our small footprint spectrophotometers. The Vista has a smaller footprint than any other transmission and haze benchtop spectrophotometer in the world and is ideal for use when laboratory space is at a premium.
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  1. “Footprint,” April 2005, https://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/footprint
  2. “Mind Matters: Working Space”, June 29, 2007, http://www.sciencemag.org/careers/2007/06/mind-matters-working-space
  3. “Lab Fume Hoods”, https://archive.is/20121212195153/http://www.colorado.edu/FacMan/about/conservation/FumeHoods.html
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