How to choose a professional control console?

One of the main objectives of the consoles in the control centers is to maximize the operability of the workers. For this reason, we must make sure to choose a console that suits the needs and characteristics of our control room, whatever its type is: security, air traffic control, cybersecurity, financial control, network operations, among others.

Technical furniture according to the operator’s tasks

The technical furniture that we choose will have a direct impact on the performance of the workflow and on the general results, which is why it is essential to previously prepare an in-depth analysis of the tasks that are going to be carried out and the tools that will be used in the control center.

For example, in the case of Scada control rooms, the operators will be looking at a continuous process in their screens and in the video wall, it is usually clear information shown in lines, colours and text. 

On the other hand, we find control rooms dedicated to a closed circuit television. In this case, the quality of the image on the video wall and the screens is very important, since the operators must understand the information coming from the IP Cameras.

In both control rooms the distance and position of the furniture from the video wall is different since the information to be seen is completely different, therefore it will affect the overall layout of the control room. In order for operators to understand and manage the information optimally, this will need to be displayed on the right video wall technology and the right display configuration.

What technology to integrate in the control consoles?

Whoever designs a professional control console must think about the power and data connections necessary for each piece of equipment that will be installed in the workplace, taking into account the location and needs of each specific piece of equipment, selecting the location of said connections either in the top of the console as a personal connection area, recessed inside the console, inside cabinets or even in other locations such as side panels.

Comply with health and ergonomic regulations

The construction of the console must be flexible enough to accommodate optional features based on the operator’s needs in order to provide the best comfort and accessibility for each operator. Some of these features can be: personal storage space, drawers, cup holders, wireless chargers and personal tray. In addition, in some countries it is mandatory that the control consoles have the Sit and Stand system (height adjustment) implemented to comply with sanitary regulations.

We cannot leave ergonomics aside when choosing a control console. Ergonomic compliance is essential for the success of a control room installation, the more comfortable the workspace is, the more successful the organization will be, since the level of health will increase, the training needs will decrease, and the overall performance will improve. Operator productivity can experience a drastic change when ergonomic regulations are met.

Ergonomics make the console easy to use, comfortable, and adjustable to any human being.

A budget adequated to the project

Different types of technical requirement, capacity, level of customization will be directly related to different price range.

The features and options that might be necessary to achieve certain type of project might push the necessity of certain cable management capacity or the necessity of button panels for example.

Those options will determine the budget to be allocated therefore the best advise that can be given when working on a control room design is to work together with a technical furniture manufacturer so the choice of the console that fits the project is correct and the proper budget is allocated. That is the best way to avoid surprises!

Distribution of technical furniture adapted to the space and workflow

The size of the control room must be considered since the usability of a control room also plays a big role in the success of the overall project.

The dimensions, walkways, visitors areas, access spaces, meeting spaces of the control room will determine as well the size of the technical furniture for the operators. Decision makers must make sure the chosen console will fit in the room and be able to allocate all necessary equipment on it.

There are several choices of style of consoles that can be used to achieve the quantity of operators needed in a certain space, for example using close style consoles with cabinets in front of the operators will provide a possibility of bigger capacity in a reduced space but it will also affect the overall comfort of the operators since they will not have as much free space for legs as with other style of consoles. Best advice is to understand the real necessities and decide on an open style console as much as possible.

This distribution of technical furniture in the space becomes even more important when considering workflows.

Sometimes, the operators need to work in a closed space where they can exchange verbal and visual information, therefore needing a suitable space and furniture for that specific task. On the other hand, in some cases it may be necessary to have spaces in which silence and concentration are required.

These factors determine the styles of distribution and furniture design, so it is essential to evaluate the workflows and take them into account from the preliminary designs.

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