Control rooms can be considered the key facility that activates and runs the business unit to its utmost productivity. There are multiple departments and information streams inside a company that help with critical decision-making. A unique and ergonomic adaptation for the control room layout is essential to ensuring a smooth and seamless work process and monitoring of the business system. Hence, the structuring of the control room cannot be something that has to be done off-hand.
When planning to build a new control room or even remodel an existing one, it is critical to consider all possible options. Following up with a set of guidelines that can help with the proper implementation of the plan is necessary, as control forms the foundation of all business decisions and returns on plant assets. The plan also ensures that even the smallest spaces in the control room are used to their full potential.
Ergonomically designed control room solutions have many benefits for energy plants, transportation, oil and gas industries, and defense, including improving process facilities for surveillance, command and control, traffic management, emergency response, and monitoring broadcasting distribution.
Control Room Design Guidelines
Here’s a list of different areas and factors that one needs to consider before designing the control room:
The amount of monetary investment that a business puts into designing a control room is the first factor that has to be monitored. The total cost of the improvements you intend to make to the control room will vary greatly depending on the applications and infrastructure. The first step should be to establish a budget, and then to develop a vision that does not deviate from a predetermined investment strategy for the control room. Make sure you understand beforehand the cost of the consoles, lighting, hardware, software, etc.
This is a very viable concept that will give the control room the purpose for which it was set up in the first place. Most businesses decide to bring in a very structured control room to synchronize and manage the unit’s functioning from one location rather than being scattered all over. When communication and collaboration between departments take place in one location, a well-defined workflow can be easily created. Centralization is a key guideline that can also contribute to bringing down the cost of the functioning of a particular business unit.
Advanced digital display adaptation is critical for producing an efficient display design. Display designs are quite a feasible idea, as the information will be displayed and the appropriate persons can all understand and comprehend the data displayed without the need for further communication between each other. It can also help reduce the errors that might occur due to the limited visibility of the information. It is critical for the smooth flow of work processes to ensure that everyone can see and that there are multiple monitors for their access.
Wellness may appear to be an odd inclusion on this list, but employee well-being must be considered when designing the control room specifications. The work in the control room can be described as a never-ending and monotonous task; hence, it is essential to set up the room in favor of the employees to make them comfortable with the surroundings. Helping them reduce fatigue, stress, and eye strain, as well as providing ample space for walking and moving around, is the most efficient way to complete the task.
Ergonomic furniture is yet another way to ensure that employees will no longer experience strain and stress in the workplace. Applying these techniques can also have a very positive effect on the total productivity of the employees.
Safety is a key element in the workplace, irrespective of whether the space is a control room. Therefore, it becomes an essential factor to keep in mind while designing the control room structure. Emergency exits have to be added to the room layout to initiate evacuation in the event of an unprecedented situation in the most organized and safe way possible. Alerts for the employees in such situations also have to be employed correctly, and maintenance of the same also has to be done.
The efficiency of the space is another point that has to be taken into consideration when designing a control room. The arrangement of the equipment has to be within easy reach of the employees who are supposed to use it. All the systems, along with relevant hardware, have to be placed within the reach of the people who are using them.
Once the factors mentioned above are given a look, the next step is to decide the layout of the room. This is basically where the understanding of what goes where takes place. Layout has to be deeply aligned with the workflow of the control room unit. Consider examples of previous control room units from other works done by the designers as a starting point. But, understand that the flexibility of the room layout depends on how your company or business works. Establishing a functional layout that promotes cooperation, communication, and proactive operations is essential.
This topic can be up for discussion as most of the control rooms are lit, whether they have to incorporate natural or artificial light. If there are no technical complications, then it is ideally advised to use natural lighting, as it can easily help in inducing better productivity and also help in reducing the stress and strain on the eyes and the body in total. In cases where natural lighting isn’t possible, go for features that provide ambient lighting, which will necessitate comfort in the control room. A lux figure between 500 and 800 is suggested.
The level of noise inside a control room should not exceed 85 decibels, as more than that can cause hearing discomfort, and anything below 40 decibels is also not advised. Prolonged exposure to low and high frequencies should not be entertained.
These are the factors that should be analyzed and put into deliberation while designing the control room. A mutual sync within these pointers can essentially create a working environment that helps increase productivity and ensure a hassle-free flow of business activity. Also, make room for regular updates that help enhance the flow. It will benefit the smooth running of the business for all the years to come.