Several companies are now manufacturing laboratory furniture almost entirely out of MDF for use in schools, hospitals, industrial establishments and universities. The underbench and wall storage units are manufactured from standard MDF panels, dowel or loose tongue jointed into carcases, which are then finished with a high performance acid catalysed or polyurethane paint. Exposed edges are rounded as a safety feature.
The doors and drawer fronts can likewise be manufactured from MDF panels with rounded edges. Cutouts can be machined in the panels to facilitate opening instead of using protruding knobs and handles.
Many different materials are used for laboratory bench tops subject to different types of use. Plastics laminate surfaced MDF tops are used for applications where frequent spillages or contact with hot objects up to 180°C are likely hazards. Urea formaldehyde (UF) or cross linked polyvinyl acetate (PVAC) adhesive should be used to bond the laminates to the MDF core in preference to rubber based contact types. Moisture resistant MDF with suitable surface and edge sealing can be used to advantage for tops where frequent wetting is a possibility.
Lino surfaced MDF tops are suitable for light duty applications involving occasional water spillage but not solvent spillage or the use of hot objects or heated appliances. Lino is considered to be a good material for surfacing MDF tops used in general physics, optical and materials test laboratories. The possibility of using high density MDF with a drying oil finish for some applications should not he overlooked as its surface has high resistance to indentation and scratching.
Similarly in workshops, the high strength of MDF can be put to good effect in cupboards, shelves and drawer chests and other storage units. Standard grade MDF is suitable for most applications, craft workshops, for instance, but high density MDF is recommended for applications where heavy tools or equipment are being used.
Bench tops which will remain flat can he made from standard or high density MDF with an oiled finish or surfaced with plastics laminate or lino as appropriate to the conditions of use.