General information about sensory labs

Consulting: Supervision

LAB EQUIPMENT Analysis equipment, peripheral equipment and consumables
LAB FURNITURE Laboratory furniture of Köttermann, Waldner, Flores Valles and others
CONTAINER LAB Mobile or semi stationary laboratories in a container or on a trailer
SENSORY LAB Special equipment for the sensory product control
TRAINING Training of the users as well as preparation for certification
INSTALLATION Installation of laboratory furniture

Instrumente zur professionellen Ausführung sensorischer Tests

Criteria, that sensory labs are planned and equipped by THIEMT:

  • DIN EN ISO 8589 – requirements in test rooms
  • Standardization of the test conditions, e.g. constant single lighting conditions, temperature, humidity, test station design
  • Elimination of all disturbance variables – such as sounds, odors, light stimuli, exertion of persons, uncomfortable sitting position
  • Customer- and sector specific requests – almost all custom-made versions beyond the indicated configuration options are possible

Equipment

The type of facilities is regardless of whether sensory test will take place later, as the different kinds of tests are all demanding the same conditions.

The features of the test cabins are configurable individually, all other furnishings will be also made resp. selected individually, as required.

The following informations and equipment samples are based on experience. Individual requests and custom-made versions can also be taken into consideration – if technically realizable.

Premises general

Ideally, a sensory lab features a square ground plan of at least 80-100 square meters of space and disposes of 3 accesses, outgoing from the corridor. Beside a preparation and test room, the sensory lab can include a meeting room, a storage/ cold store such as an office for the test planning and evaluation. There should be no noise pollution and odour nuisance from adjacent rooms. Finally, the room´s size and the number of accesses are deciding on the ground plan of the lab.

Ventilation and air-conditioning technology

Recirculation air system
A recirculation air system with an air circulation up to six times per hour should be installed for the ventilation and odour removal in the test room.

Anlage zur Regelung von Temperatur und Luftfeuchte
The standardization of the test conditions also comprises the constant regulation of the temperature and humidity, for example by an air condition system. The following conditions should be complied to let the volunteers feeling well:

  • Temperature: 20 °C ± 3°C
  • Relative humidity: >40 – <50 %

It is advisable to generate a slight overpressure in the test room and to suck off the air in the preparation room together with the odours of the specimen preparation. (Ventilation and air-conditioning, supplied by the customer).

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Test room

The test room should provide space for 8-12 test cabins and no direct access to the preparation room resp. test kitchen. The room height should be 2500 – 3000 mm. The total exclusion of daylight should be possible. The floor shall get noise cancelling coverings. Generally, attention should be paid on a neutral colouring of the furnishings.

Preparation room

The backside of the test cabin acts as a kind of a wall unit of the preparation room, including the work surfaces. The specimen preparation takes place right here , the specimen coding such as the presentation. The materials of the ceilings, walls and floors should be odourless and olfactory inert, such as the furnishings.
(Interior materials) The minimum equipment includes:

  • Work surfaces for preparation, coding and presentation
  • Wash basin
  • Storage possibilities (cupboards)
  • Refuse container for the garbage
  • Dishwasher if necessary

Are the tested products highly perishable goods or do they require a preparation, the following additional furnishings are needed:

  • Fridge, freezer and/or air-conditioned cabinet
  • Stove, oven, microwave for heating, cooking, baking
  • Water bath, hotplates to keep warm among other things
  • Exhaust hoods

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Stationary test cabins

Mobile test cabins are recommendable, if there is a limited space or multifunctional rooms should be used for testing purposes. Otherwise the preference should be given to stationary cabins.

Materials:
The visible furniture surfaces are mostly consisting of melamine coated chipboard in light grey colour. The handles are made of stainless steel.

All cabins have the following standard furnishings:
A partition wall with plinth panel and hatch to the preparation room, view protection to the adjacent test stations, a lighting unit with different light sources, a technical cupboard, ventilation slots and a worktop for the testing and preparation of the products and the filling of the questionnaires on the volunteers side. On the preparation side, there is a base cabinet beside the worktop with a sliding doors corpus. The height of the partition wall will be adjusted to the ceiling height..

Many configuration- and expansion options are available. The options are including, for example different kinds of controlling of the light conditions, the fitting of spittoons and washbasins or the equipment with monitor holder and keyboard shelf. Special requests of any kind, are possible.

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Work surfaces

The basic configuration is based on work surfaces of solid slabs, for an extra charge, surfaces of mineral material are available. Options:

  • Solid slab
    • Light grey colour, the core oft he plate is black solid-coloured
    • Properties of a cladding panel: Water-, dirt- and moisture resistant
  • Mineral material (Corian ®)
    • Glacier white colour
    • Various advantages to a solid slab: Durability, hygiene certificate, suitable for large-size, seamless work surfaces, impact resistance, pore-free
    • The basin also can be made of Corian®
    • Especially suited for tasting of beverages
Hatch
Hatch with sliding doors Hatch with sliding doors
Rotary hatch Rotary hatch

The view into the preparation room/ test kitchen, during the specimen handling, is to reduce to a minimum. On one hand, this will be guaranteed by the design of the hatches, on the other, a traceable hygienic and easy cleaning is possible at any time. Options:

  • Hatch with sliding door – e.g. for beverage tests
    • Equipped with a high quality guiding mechanism, the opening is balanced in any position – the so-called Guillotinen-Effect is prevented
    • A larger opening than the rotary hatch
    • Opening by screw-off handle from the preparation side
  • Rotary hatch – e.g. for triangle tests
    • Thanks to special technology, easy to clean and light tight
    • Flush embedded rotary table

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Lighting unit
Cold light Cold light
Warm light Warm light
Red light Red light
Light fluctuations Triangle test

The lighting unit enables a uniform and glare-free lighting of the workplace.
It is delivered with three furniture luminaires as a standard:

  • Cold light (daylight) with a color temperature of 5600-6200 Kelvin
  • Warm light (artificial light) with a color temperature of ca. 3200 Kelvin
  • Red light (green light alternatively

On demand, black light also can be mounted.

Red light and green light are used to the colour masking, black light (= UV-light) for example is able to visualize the thickness differences of chocolate fillings.

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Technical cupboard

The technical cupboard, with doors on volunteers part, is provided for maintenance- and installation purposes and accommodates the lighting unit, cable guide and if necessary the PC and the monitor holder.

View protection

The lateral separators tower the worktop about 500 mm marginally and are firmly installed on height-adjustable metal legs. Beside the squared standard version, a version with a rounded shape is available for an extra charge.

Sliding doors corpus

The lower cupboard with a height adjustable shelf is on the side of the preparation room. Kitchenware or other objects, which are needed for the specimen preparation, can be accommodated inside. A plinth panel, combined with a sealing lip closes the cupboard to the floor. By request, the plinth panel is equipped with a ventilation slit.

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Communication circuit test person – personal

The communication circuit enables a wordless communication between the test person and the test personal. The beginning resp. the end of a test cycle are signalized by activating the button or the completion of the questionnaire.

Control of the lighting situation and a socket

Several product tests require various lighting situations. If several products shall be compared with one another, often the elimination of any existing colour differences is desired, by red- or green light. In contrast to that, cold- or warm light are often selected at single product testing. The light situation can be controlled individually for each single cabin from the preparation table or centrally for all test stations by bus-system.

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Wall-mounted cupboard with two doors

By request, the preparation sided partition can be equipped with a wall-mounted cupboard with doors. This can be used, for example, as a storage for dishes or glasses. Mounted cupboard lighting and whiteboard surfaces are further option modules.

Spittoon or wash basin
Spittoon with ring flush Corian basin
Wash basin of Corian Wash basin of Corian
Wash basin of Corian Wash basin of Corian

It is useful to equip the cabins with spittoons and wash basins for tests, that require a spitting, washing, rinsing and flushing of the products. The simplemost version is a spittoon of stainless steel with a cold water tap. Generally, all requests are realizable, for example a spittoon with ring flush. Attention should be paid to the basin option, it is only available in combination with a work surface with a width of 1020 mm, clear width.

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IT – Computer, Monitor, Software und Accessory

The optionally available, extendable keyboard holder below the worktop and the monitor holder at the technical cupboard are serving to the space saving accommodation of the computer accessories. By request, the test stations will be equipped with computer and special software. The software is easy to use and enables an individual and flexible questionnaire creation in all languages, an interface to compatible evaluation programms and can be supplemented by an online-reporting-tool.

Options:

  • Monitor holder rigid or height adjustable according to VESA standard
  • Keyboard shelf
  • PC (without connection)
  • Software
Platform

By means of the platform on specimen side, a difference in level of 150-300 mm to the preparation side can be achieved. Chairs of normal height can be used. The platform is PVC-covered.

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Mobile test cabins

according to DIN EN ISO 8589

The patent pending mobile test cabins can pass through doors and elevators and can be used at any time, without tools. Cabins, positioned next to one another, will be connected by ready for use cable bridges (plug and play). Up to five cabins can be supplied with power by one common feed. Equipment – abstract:

  • Big castors for transport – centrally lockable
  • Specimen hatch with vertical sliding door
  • Light: Three separately switchable light situations (white light, yellow light, red light)
  • Control lamp: lights up, if the cabin is occupied
  • Communication switch: Light signal for the soundless communication between test person and personal
  • Separate protective switch
  • IT: Wireless keyboard with touchpad and height adjustable 19“monitor – PC optionally available
  • PC cupboard with lockable doors
  • Blackout curtains – selectable colour
  • Cabin colour: light grey

Storage room/cold store

A own storage or cold store, located in close vicinity to the lab, may be useful in case of intensive use or larger amounts of specimen material.

Meeting room

An adjoining room with a large table, flip chart, projector, a video set and PC can be used for discussions, trainings and meetings of panels and panel conductor, before and after tests.

Office – for planning/evaluation

A separate room with a desk, PC and software, that enables the statistical evaluation of the questionnaires, is recommendable for the planning and evaluation of the sensory tests.

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