The worst advice heard when searching for new, or replacement industrial computer workstations - “just get the cheapest one they have.” Spending a little extra to get the right workstation for the plant, warehouse, store, or distribution center will save money in the long run, and increase productivity.
Which Mobile Workstation Is The Right One?
There are many different configurations of industrial computer workstations available. Before making an investment, answer these questions.
- Are there sensitive electronics that need to be protected in an enclosed glass or Plexiglas cabinet? If the work environment is full of dust, smoke, or if the air contains any particles that could harm fragile electronics then a transparent glass cabinet will be the better choice.
- Will the station only hold a laptop computer and keyboard? If so, less expensive models will easily handle the weight.
- Will the mobile workstation require room for a lot of equipment? Such as a printer, fax machine, manuals, writing desk, dual monitors, tools and bar code scanners. If so, make a list of everything needed and try to get rough measurements of the equipment. Leave extra space for expansion. Too much space is better than not enough. Monitor sizes are constantly increasing, and useful tools being introduced to the market regularly. A business may need to upgrade or add new devices at any time.
- How is the lighting in your warehouse, plant or store? You may need some extra internal lighting for the industrial computer workstations in use. Consider an anti-glare monitor too.
- Is the model you decide on ergonomically friendly? More claims for injuries related to repetitive tasks, such as typing, are filed every day. Mitigate this risk as much as possible.
- Is there some type of scale available in the workplace? If not and if other methods of gauging the weight a workstation has to carry is just too much trouble. Then a salesperson should be able to help select a model with the proper weight capacity. Do not cut it too close, if the total weight is near the borderline between mid-range and heavy duty. Go with the heavy duty.
- What are the electrical requirements of your equipment? Be certain a new workstation will meet or exceed those needs. Also, consider any back-up power systems called for, and make sure the workstation’s power system is regulated to protect sensitive electronic equipment.
Research Computer Workstations Extensively
Shop and compare. Most of this can be accomplished online. As far as pricing, features, weight capacity, power systems and measurements. If possible, it is a good idea to test some industrial computer workstations in person before making the commitment to buy.
If the company selling the workstations is local, take a drive to the store. They should have floor models available for close inspection. Check them for sturdiness, weight, sharp corners that could cause an injury, and the ease with which they roll. The wheels should also have a solid and easy to use locking system.
Soft wheels are better for most commercial applications. They roll smoother, last longer and have a small amount of shock absorbing capability. The only situations in which other types of wheels may work better would be for use on flooring such as carpet, or if the workstation will be used outdoors often. Soft wheels will not roll as well on carpet, and rough pavement will cause premature wear.
Soft wheels are also better for tile and similar flooring. They will not scratch the floor. One caveat to this, if a nail or some other object is stuck in a wheel then they may leave scratches. Though most models seem to come in dark colors, a bright color is always better in a busy production environment. Apply yellow warning tape to the darker models.
Like any product, industrial computer workstations are not all created equal. Even high price models may be poorly manufactured. Some of the newer laptop models are reported to have problems also. Due diligence is important before making any but the most trivial of purchases. Finding the perfect model to fit company needs at a reasonable price will take some research, but a quality workstation will last many years.
Newcastle Systems continues to manufacture world class industrial mobile computer carts which carry their own rechargeable power source in order to support a number of peripheral devices thus eliminating the need for repetitive travel from one work area to another.
Learn how other companies have already changed improved their profitability by adding mobile workstations to their workplace in the case study library: