Industrial Work Stations – Have you Considered Aluminum Extrusion?
Industrial work stations might be the unsung heroes of manufacturing and warehousing. Loaded up with parts, equipment, packaging and more, they’re used all day, every day, yet little thought, if any, goes into their design and construction.
Essential Business Equipment
Sure, a work station isn’t as interesting as a machine tool, a mixer, or a molding machine, but try running production or shipping without them. Things will fall apart quickly as your workers find they have nowhere to put equipment or materials, or to actually work.
What to Look For in an Industrial Work Station
Industrial work stations need flexibility and good ergonomics. Flexibility applies in two ways. First, work stations should be easy to move as needs change. And second, it should be possible to add to or modify the workstation itself to accommodate changing requirements.
Ergonomics relates to how easy it is for your workers to use the work station. Factors to address include:
- Height of the work surface
- Provision of a footrest
- Location of tools needed to do the job – suspending them from an overhead-mounted spring balance is often a good solution
- Visibility of screens and displays
- Lighting – task lighting and overhead LED or fluorescent panels
Why You Should be Using Aluminum Extrusion
Once, all workbenches were made from wood. Then welded steel fabrications came in. These are used for more than just a work surface. Assembly, packing, test, inspection, fault diagnosis and repair are just some of the uses for a work bench. (This diversity of applications is why we now call them industrial work stations – they are much more than just a bench.)
Steel has several drawbacks as a material for work stations. It’s heavy, so work stations made from it aren’t easily moved. It needs painting or coating to prevent corrosion, and it’s not easily modified if it’s deployed to a different job or the task changes.
Aluminum extrusion overcomes all these limitations. It’s light yet strong, and naturally corrosion-resistant. Of greatest importance though, when supplied as t-slot framing material it’s easy to assemble and just as easy to modify. Plus, you can usually get an aluminum extrusion work station on the production floor in less time than it takes for a steel bench.
How T-Slot Aluminum Extrusion Works
Picture lengths of aluminum, extruded with square or rectangular cross-sections. Then visualize a t-slot down each face. This slot can hold a nut captive, letting it slide lengthwise but stopping it from turning. This is the heart of aluminum extrusion framing.
With the t-slot and nut it’s possible to quickly join lengths of extrusion in whatever relationship is needed. Additional plates and brackets help stiffen whatever it is you are assembling and accessories like wheels, hinges and handles add utility to whatever it is you are constructing.
Designing Industrial Work Stations
The IPS website provides full details, including CAD files, of a wide range of aluminum extrusions and accessories. With this information you can quickly design the industrial work station you need. Alternatively, take advantage of our no-cost engineering services. The way this works is, you send us sketches of what you need, and we generate a design and a cutting list. Then, when you’re happy with our proposal, just place an order.
For more information, or to discuss your design options, please contact us.