custom mobile laboratory by MRIGlobal

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The Gold Standard Custom Mobile Laboratory for any Application

Human Health

Since a mobile laboratory meets the needs for multiple applications—whether it be diagnostics, agriculture, defense, and more—a general ISO container can’t always keep up with changing requirements. 

As our knowledge expands, so does our need for a mobile lab space to accommodate that growth. To meet this ever-changing need, MRIGlobal designed a fully customizable mobile laboratory that is the same size as a traditional ISO contained-based lab, but has the ability to expand for 40% more workspace. 

With the Athena Lab, MRIGlobal has created the gold standard of mobile labs with a quality that is unmatched by any other lab available on the market. 

Who is MRIGlobal?

MRIGlobal is a non-profit research organization based in Kansas City that specializes in defense, human health, pharmaceutical sciences, in-vitro diagnostics, energy and transportation, agriculture, and global health. Our solution-driven teams are dedicated to finding answers that will make the country and world safer for all. 

For almost 20 years, we’ve created mobile laboratories that not only meet the demanded requirements, but exceed them in all areas. With our years of experience, we’ve developed more than 75 different mobile lab structures for a variety of industries. 

Read on to learn more about one of our most recent labs and how Athena surpasses the capabilities of other mobile laboratories. 

A glance back: The birth and evolution of mobile labs

To understand the innovation and impact of the Athena Lab, it’s best to understand just how far we’ve come. 

Mobile laboratories have a long history, enabling military, government, health, and agricultural work to expand into the field. For years, mobile labs have allowed the capability to research outside the scope of a central laboratory for early pathogen detection, on-site investigations, testings, and more. As a result, they have decreased turnaround times and increased crucial response times. 

An example of one of the first mobile labs is the Russian Anti-Plague (AP) System, spearheaded  in the 1890s. The AP system was a response to natural outbreaks such as cholera and zoonotic diseases. Controlling these outbreaks required extreme coordination between different public health agencies, which meant that labs could not always remain in one place. At the time, AP teams depended on horses to deploy labs from location to location.

Thankfully, a mobile laboratory doesn’t depend on horses. Instead, modern transportation has allowed us to deploy labs via trucks, trains, boats, and airplanes, vastly expanding where we can go.

What to consider when choosing a mobile laboratory

Oftentimes, people fail to recognize the qualities that make a mobile laboratory stand above the rest. Whenever research requires you to take samples in the field, it’s crucial to find a mobile lab that can meet your needs. Before choosing any kind of mobile lab, here are a few questions you should consider. 

Will I need extra space?

Many people settle for the constraints of a more traditional mobile lab simply because they don’t realize there are other options available. Whether you have more personnel working in one area, have expansive research needs, or need more living space, you should consider a lab that can maximize its square footage.

How long will the lab last?

A mobile laboratory’s life cycle plays an important role in its long-term value. How many times will you be able to deploy a lab, use it, pick it up, move it, and start the process all over again? If the answer is only a few times, does that do you much good? These are all questions that should be at the forefront of your mind. 

How much maintenance will the lab require?

All mobile labs will require some maintenance, but some labs will require a lot more work than others. Especially if you’re deployed in an austere environment without access to trained professionals, you don’t want to choose a lab that needs extreme maintenance. For example, if you need a strong AC system but are working in a dusty area, your mobile lab should come with the capabilities to maintain itself or a staff that can help you. Along with that, you should also ask about the maintenance costs. Again, that will add to the value of the lab. 

Can I customize the lab to fit my needs?

Of course different projects require different features, tools, equipment, and capabilities. In some instances, a one-size-fits-all solution isn’t perhaps the best solution. Customization allows you to build a mobile laboratory that will promote the efficiency and efficacy of your mobile testing. 

Get to know MRIGlobal’s Athena Lab

The Athena Lab goes beyond traditional mobile laboratory designs. Instead of using an ISO container as the basis of the design, our engineers have created a fully customizable structure that greatly increases the capability of a mobile lab. As a result, we developed a lab that improves work ergonomics, while still allowing for easy transport via trucks, boats, railcars, and airplanes. 

Our Athena Lab comes with a variety of features to help improve your research capabilities. 

Expandable 18’ Section

Athena’s expanding capabilities allow for more workspace within the same shipping footprint and cost. That means you gain 82% more floor space and 40% more laboratory bench space. You also can access the bench on either side of the lab. Once retracted, Athena still maintains ISO container specifications. 

Upgraded Power System

With its power system, Athena accepts both U.S. and international electrical power standards. This allows for easy deployment across the world without worrying about power conversions. In addition, with the integrated uninterruptible power supply (UPS), Athena gives you more flexibility with instrument placement. The battery backup system provides clean and reliable power (regardless of input power quality) while offering an additional layer of instrument protection for your peace of mind. 

Ergonomic Interior

We designed the interior with human comfort in mind without compromising its lab capabilities. All Athena labs come with LED lighting above the work benches; an overhead cable tray for communication and gas line organization; load-bearing walls support tables, eliminating the need for legs; and a sealed and flat floor with hidden cargo tie-downs throughout the container.

Integrated Alarm System

The integrated alarm system can connect to other labs in the system to detect containment failure, fire, and includes a panic switch. 

Improved Environmental Controls

Because some environments are harsher than others, we designed Athena Labs with an HVAC system, easily sized to match different ambient conditions. Better internal air flow, increased insulation result in reduced temperature gradients. 

Athena Labs usually take a few months to build, but we are striving to have a small number of labs readily available for final customizations. In doing so, our goal is to reduce the production and customization time from months to only a few weeks. 

What makes Athena Lab different from other mobile laboratories?

Athena Lab was designed to fill our customer’s needs for a gold standard mobile model that allowed them to be closer to a collection event. Their goal is to collect the physical evidence they need for information—whether that be chemical, biological, biometric, etc. 

With the gold standard of mobile laboratories comes greater value. We designed Athena to last just as long as our other mobile lab options. In fact, none of our mobile labs have been decommissioned due to failure. We design labs that last, and that means you won’t have to spend countless dollars and hours on maintenance. Because the Athena Lab provides a stable environment, your equipment is protected.

Working with MRIGlobal goes beyond Athena. We’re uniquely capable to offer a range of services to complement your mobile laboratory including:  

  • Maintenance by our expert staff
  • Preplanning for lab placement and deployment
  • Engineering guidance to help you determine the best custom infrastructure 
  • Method development for analytic labs to help determine biological targets of interest
  • Purchasing and maintaining equipment
  • Evaluations to find the right equipment to place in the lab
  • Staffing the lab with our experienced scientists, biologists, engineers, and other personnel needed to execute proper sample analysis 

Our goal for Athena is to make your job more comfortable. When your space is bigger, you are more able to work without feeling constrained. This could promote a healthy mindset, even in the most extreme environment, which could lead to fewer mistakes and longer deployment. 

Learn more about the Athena Lab with MRIGlobal

For more than 75 years, MRIGlobal has advanced scientific research across a variety of industries. We focus on supporting better health outcomes on a global scale. For us, it’s not simply about science; it’s about the people who make it all happen. 

We have a solution-driven mentality that allows us to find answers in even the most complex situations. Through our dedication, we can solve virtually any technical problem. 

To learn more about the Athena Lab, contact us at You can also get a free quote by completing our online form. 

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