Tips for Customizing Your Industrial Workstation
Posted on July 12, 2022 | in Ergonomics
Kendra Perdeaux, VelocityEHS ergonomist, interviews Rob Doucette of BOSTONtec for his insights on customizing industrial workstations. Knowing exactly what the job entails is the first step, followed by a strong consideration for ergonomics and training. Check out their discussion!
Kendra: Hi, I’m Kendra Perdeaux, ergonomist with Humantech, a VelocityEHS brand (now VelocityEHS Ergonomics). Today, I am on-site in Midland, Michigan at Boston Tech, and I’m joined with Rob Doucette. He’s the applications engineer. Rob, why don’t you tell us a little bit about BOSTONtec?
Rob: Absolutely! BOSTONtec is a leading manufacturer of ergonomic height-adjustable workstations, providing solutions to customers for over 25 years. We are well known for our custom capabilities.
Kendra: Wow, very impressive! So, I see we are standing in front of one of your examples of your customizable workstations. Can you walk me through the process that you would take with a starting client who has come to you asking about installing workstations? What are a couple of steps that you would take?
Rob: One of the first things we have to do when we get on-site, and it may sound basic, is we have to determine the purpose of the workstation. What is being done at the station? Is it an assembly station, is it a fulfillment station, or is it a combination of both? Once we’ve determined that, we can start asking questions, such as, operators. Who will be working at the station? Is it a single-shift, single-operator, or a multi-shift, multi-operator situation? That will help us determine whether an electric height-adjustable or fixed-height station.
Kendra: Excellent, and I know from my experience being on-site and working with clients that a big question that often comes up is whether they should have a height-adjustable workstation or a fixed. What are some determining factors that you look for?
Rob: Well one of the things is, if it’s going to be moved more than once every 2 or 3 months, then it most certainly makes sense to have an electric height-adjustable option. Because again, if you’re just putting If a piece of equipment on it, then you set it and it’s forgotten about and it doesn’t ever have to move. That works well for a fixed-height or if it’s one person who’s going to be sitting station for an undue amount of time, then it doesn’t need to be adjusted.
Kendra: So, if you did add the adjustable feature, what height range do your tables go to?
Rob: Our tables fit the 5th to 95th percentile individual, which goes from 28 inches to 45 inches high.
Kendra: Excellent. So, determining the next tasks, what are some of the next steps you look for?
Rob: Okay, well, once we start doing that, we’re going to start looking at what goes on the station. We start taking an inventory of the equipment that’s going to be on there: printers, tools, any specialized equipment. We have to take all of that into consideration, even down to tape and pencils, and items like that. Once we’ve figured out all the stuff that needs to be on there, we can start assigning priorities to them. That helps us determine where they’re going to be positioned on the station. Things with higher priorities tend to be closer to the individual, versus things with lower priorities, like a hammer that is used maybe once a week, should still be on the station but not in the way of the operator. We always say that anything that does not pertain to the task should not be on the surface.
Kendra: Excellent. That’s a great training philosophy there. And when it comes to training, what do you do to help ensure that it’s being used properly?
Rob: Well, once you go through the setup, I basically plan out the station. Once it’s all planned out and put into place, you have to start documenting what is happening on the station. It may seem like it’s not an important step, but it helps you determine how you got to that point and also aids in training the individuals on the station. You can put a lot of thought into this, but if people are not using the station correctly, then all the work that you’ve done is kind of thrown out the window.
Kendra: Excellent, completely agree. Thank you very much for joining us, and I’m glad that we got to talk about the process and what kind of things you should be looking for when designing and customizing your own workstations. I’m Kendra Prudhoe from Humantech, a VelocityEHS brand (now VelocityEHS Ergonomics). Thank you for joining us.