Control rooms are technology-driven environments where activities are tracked and problems resolved quickly and correctly.  To work in such environments, operators require control centers with sufficient space for the operators and also with furniture designed in shape and size.  The equipment and storage requirements for the workstations will be the backbone of the design.

Designing a control room for consoles and video walls displays is the focus of this designer if that’s an architect, consultant or furniture-video manufacturer.  This project’s distance planning piece is important to its success.  However, mission aims are understood before proceeding ahead with a solution that meets all 20, and funding allocated.  Embarking the owner can’t manage only wastes time, money and wreaks havoc with the delivery schedule.

Factors to consider for control room space planning.

When Xybix designs a management and command center, a variety of factors must be considered such as, but not limited to the following:

The physical plant doors window and potential obstacles affecting the management area furniture design and layout

Design of management room furniture along with video wall systems

Space allocated for control room consoles and video displays

The orientation of control room consoles and video wall screens with consideration to adjoining fire and space egress

Interaction with participants – It’s critical that the control room designer interacts with the client to understand needs and preferences.  This is something that continues throughout the design process together with the designer making adjustments as more information is gleaned by the client and other participants.  Other participants may include general contractors, electronic equipment systems integrators and end-users.

Space planning – Prior to deciding on the type and design of command center consoles, the designer must have a vision for the design depending on the known and the expertise which the designer brings into the procedure.

Ergonomics – The designer has to the space program and suggest control room console designs with the latest ergonomic features.  The operators are operating in an intensive 24/7 environment in which technology and furniture need to be durable to stand up to constant use for many years.

Ergonomic features would include:

Console furniture design that brings all tools Close to the operator in a way that is comfortable and convenient

Adjustable desktop and/or keyboard surface

Adjustable arms for monitors, phones and task lighting 

Easy accessibility to the cable control system for setup and maintenance

Personal storage which keeps the floors and desktop clear

Large desktop area for studying and writing materials

Reasonable overhead and task lighting

Personal environment control at desktop level

Versatility – Technology changes quickly, but control room console furniture and video systems are too costly to discard.  Consequently, wall systems and both furniture should be designed in a means which can be altered, or expanded to satisfy new technology and equipment requirements.

Durability – Modern console furniture must be durable enough to withstand the stress of 24/7 use every year.  These products must be made of materials.  Materials for durability and audio construction is imperative to the process.

The goal is an intelligent and advanced control room environment.

Proper Design Is Important

The proper design finally saves the business money by bringing together information systems in a consolidated location decreasing reaction time, and downtime through real-time situational awareness and proactive incident reaction.  Control room design is all about operators and the environment.

Control and control rooms utilize software information systems that have been designed for controlling life safety issues, manufacturing quality, system leak, or any measurable system like SCADA, DCS, RTU, Delta V, ABB, Simplex, or site utility systems; these programs are industry-specific or specific purpose.  It isn’t important which ones are used or how many, they are inputs.  These facilities are usually required to run 24/7/365 due to the nature of their missions.  Control rooms are populated by individual operators.  The number of operators required at any given time may vary depending upon the number and severity of”issues” that arise.  Purpose control rooms and budgets can increase or decrease the number of attributes but there are facets that each control room design should comprise.

Design the room to improve the operator performance taking into consideration the number of information inputs the operators will need to interface with.  Besides the systems that are designed to secure, monitor, and control access, the control area design should be packed full of systems.  Operators often work twelve hours shifts, performing mundane tasks waiting for crucial information to be brought to their attention at any time.

Temperature and humidity should be controlled due to and for the huge number of electronics as well as the folks.  Operators need to be comfy yet alert.

Lighting design considers window architecture, hardness, number and size of video walls or tracks, and many additional aspects, but most importantly human eye functionality and tiredness.  There’s a science of viewing angles that need to be followed to prevent operator fatigue, optimize performance and encourage operator well-being.

Two major systems that influence the human eye and throat concerning project performance, shift longevity, biomechanics and strain injury are video walls and monitors.  In order to help design both of these systems, considering ergonomics, in terms of height, dimensions, and standing, we will need to consider the system.  Consoles play in the positioning of both and bring home the benefits of good design.  Their design is among the most important aspects in the design of control rooms.  It isn’t obvious on first thought, that console design should tackle many ergonomic concerns.  Consoles – do they create heat containing PC’s or are they designed for remote PC’s?  Can they raise and lower will for operators to alter position from rack to sit?  Can the console adapt a PC screen system that’s also adjustable for comfort?  Where and how far from a video wall would the console be located?  And what chairs will be utilized at these consoles?  Consoles should be custom-fit and built to integrate seamlessly with all the systems that are designed to work together in a professional design.

In conclusion, control and command center designers must provide a comprehensive solution in terms of aesthetics, aesthetics, comfortability, flexibility, and functionality.  This also includes cooling for electronics, efficient cable management, and cushioning.  The designer shouldn’t ever lose sight of how modern control facilities are designed for people working long hours under stress frequently too significant in operations to fail.