AIA: Workstations Foster Production Volumes
Founded in 1978, Redcom Laboratories Inc. (Victor, NY) manufactures electronic switching systems for the commercial and military markets. Specific products include call management systems, emergency response systems and testing devices.
Traditionally a high-mix, low-volume manufacturer, a recent boost in sales and production volumes forced the company to rethink its assembly process. Among other changes, Redcom Laboratories decided it needed to upgrade its workstations-from the homemade wooden workbenches the company had been using since its inception to something more flexible and ergonomically sound.
"These benches were not suitable for the work that needed to get done. They were deficient in many areas, including ergonomic comfort, lighting, and easy access to tools and parts," says Steve Husband, director of manufacturing at Redcom. "To accommodate our transformation to a tight, dynamic type of manufacturing facility, we needed to provide our assemblers and technicians with the right tools. We recognized that our old workstations could no longer meet our needs."
After reviewing products from a number of manufacturers, Redcom chose to install Series 8000 workstations from Arlink (Burlington, Ontario). Redcom picked the stations because of their modularity, ergonomic features and cost.
"Our facility is dynamic. Volume demands are always changing. We constantly need to move and reconfigure the workstations to accommodate specific lines and workcells," Husband says. "The Arlink bench's various components and options helped us to create custom benches that were attuned to individual needs. We could offer well-positioned shelving, right angles, seating, foot rests, computer monitor bracket swing stands and worksurface height adjustments."
In all, Redcom Laboratories installed more than 100 benches equipped with a variety of different shelves, bins and trays to keep workspaces free of clutter. According to Husband, operators especially like the Series 8000's "Pelican" drawers, which mount under the worksurface and can be locked for storing personal possessions.
"We purchased a number of the static dissipative tabletops as well as electrostatic discharge (ESD) options like wrist straps and pads," Husband says. "This is essential in the circuit board assembly area, as well as some other designated areas throughout the company. The comfort level provided by ESD production is very nice to have."
Since implementing the new workstations, the company has been able to increase production while using the same number of workers. The overall workspace appearance is also much improved-an important consideration given that customers often tour the facility as part of the sales process.
"I can't put a number on how much business has increased due specifically to customers walking through our facility," Husband says. "But I can say that when customers or potential customers walk through the facility, the first words out of their mouths are, ‘this is the nicest facility or the cleanest facility I've ever seen.' Our facility is truly impressive to look at, and the Arlink installation is a big reason why."
Husband adds that aesthetics are equally important for company morale, because employees are happier and more productive when they have a clean, attractive, ergonomic and comfortable place to work.
For more on workstations, call 888-559-4441, visit www.arlink.com or eInquiry 3.