Why Outdated Technical Furnishings Makes the Critical Control Room Ineffective
Many control centers believe that good technical furniture is eternal; however, the rapid evolution of technology and growing recognition of the importance of the human factor limit past solutions, forcing control sonsole manufacturers to challenge themselves and think now about the ability to address future technologies and needs.
Obsolete furniture can generate a variety of issues in a control center, ranging from technological constraints to operator health and wellness issues. But how do we tell if the control center's technical furnishings is outdated? And what kind of problems could it generate with the operation?
Technical features and equipment
Even today, it is common to see control consoles with cabinets for obsolete equipment (such as CRT or older monitors that took up a lot of space due to their depth) or with too much room in technical compartments for computer equipment that is no longer required. As a result, the old consoles' size are exaggerated and take up too much space.
By lacking specific compartments, these consoles become obsolete for the incorporation of new technologies, necessitating the placement of new equipment without the proper ergonomic and technical criteria for a control center, and leaving a space surplus for the existing needs.
A further disadvantage is that these outdated control consoles typically lack any type of tray or adaption to properly handle the wiring, both electrical and data, which not only makes it appear untidy but also makes it harder to maintain and update the equipment and poses a security risk.
Manufacturers of consoles are being compelled to provide more dynamic solutions, with adaptation and flexibility playing an increasingly significant role.
Furniture that is quickly adaptable to unanticipated changes is sought for a control center. using modular systems that are simple to construct and connect, allowing you to change the type of supports, compartments, and overall layout of the console, wiring, and equipment. Furthermore, the challenge becomes increasingly difficult because everything must be aimed at improving people's physical conditions to the greatest extent possible, a concept that for example GESAB applies under the theme "people centred design," with the goal of significantly improving the user experience, both of the product and of the environments in which it is integrated.
Previously, the necessary importance was not given to this concept, which has become much more relevant in the last 20 years.
The design of control consoles used to be more focused on the technical part than on the fuman factor, that was why conditions such as dimensions or comfort and security features, in general, weren’t usually a part of the design process, causing big incidents and discomfort due to work diseases.
International ergonomic design standards for control centers, such as ISO 11064 or UNE-EN 527 for ergonomic furniture, have established new principles and rules to develope ergonomic design considering the dimensions, safety features, stability, resistance, fatigue, etc., which guarantee the best conditions for the operators and reduce incidences of work illness and fatigue.
Options as the Sit & Stand consoles, models with motorized elevation, allow the ergonomics and comfort to carry to another lever, since they give each operator the option to choose their most appropriate work position in addition to managing their periods of activity and rest. Most of the operators stay seated for periods of 8 hours or more with almost nil level of physical activity, which promotes a sedentary attitude, an increase in pathologies related to overuse in the bone-muscle-articular system, a reduction in blood circulation, numbness of the muscles or the adoption of bad postures.
Through more modern furniture with a Sit & Stand system operators can take active breaks every 2 hours, for periods of 15 minutes, just by raising the envelope and standing up, thus reducing the previously described risks and favoring different processes such as decision-taking or problem solving, due to the reduction in fatigue and stress and the increase in concentration.
Aesthetics and user experience
The large size of the obsolete control consoles also affects the aesthetic factor and the motivation and feeling of belonging of the operators, since the control center must be a pleasant and aesthetically updated environment. In addition, some control rooms are usually spaces that also receive internal and external user visits, the image projected by this space being decisive in the perception of the operational capacity of the company.
The colors and design of the furniture also play a very important role in aesthetics, since they can produce an old-fashioned effect or, on the contrary, allow the validity of the consoles for a maximum time lapse by selecting timeless colors and designs.
As well as ergonomic factors, environmental factors have become relevant in recent years, however, previously consoles were not designed with environmentally sustainable materials in mind.
Currently, there are consoles based on a sustainable design strategy as they are products designed to last and manufactured with resistant and planet-friendly materials. Along these, there are standards such as Greenguard that allow these sustainability strategies to be measured and certify compliance with the most rigorous chemical emission standards in the world, which helps reduce indoor air pollution in the workplace and the risk of chemical exposure.
In conclusion, having obsolete furniture can have repercussions at different levels of the organization: from technical functionality and operability, the health of the operators, the experience within the control center, to the impact and commitment of the company with the environment.
The innovation process within GESAB is oriented towards the development of control consoles that provide great versatility and flexibility, taking into account the current reality and the possible changes that the future will bring in terms of technology, ergonomics, user experience or the environment.