Process control room case study

Rutherford Appleton Laboratories, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom

Process consoles for Rutherford Appleton Laboratories

PROJECT OVERVIEW

Thinking Space were awarded the contract to provide new control room furniture and media walls to the main control room at the scientific facility at Harwell Oxford Campus. The previous control room was outdated,  being some 32 years old and with a traditional 2 tier fully enclosed control console with little thought for ergonomic design. Thinking Space installed an aesthetic furniture design of three large L-shaped desks with built-in media walls at the rear of the main control desk to display their flat screen monitors.

OVERVIEW OF CLIENT

ISIS is a world-leading centre for research in the physical and life sciences at Rutherford Appleton Laboratories, supporting a community of more than 2,000 scientists.  Operating for over 32 years, it has recently doubled in size through government funded investment to increase the country’s scientific capability.

Using the technique of neutron scattering, the centre studies and provides insights into the properties of materials on the atomic scale. The main control room operates 24/7 and maintains optimal proton accelerator operation utilising SCADA and associated recording instrumentation.

SCOPE OF THE PROJECT

Whilst ISIS were able to refurbish the existing control room themselves, they recognised a need for specialist advice when planning  an ergonomic yet aesthetic solution for their control desks. A web search of control room furniture manufacturers brought them to the door of Thinking Space Systems Ltd. ISIS visited the Thinking Space premises in Hampshire for a tour of their facilities and were impressed with their design service and manufacturing capabilities on offer.

“There were several control desk companies considered but Thinking Space design,  manufacturing process and materials suited our needs best with their lightweight yet robust construction” explains Neal Grafton, ISIS Duty Officer. “Thinking Space personnel were very courteous, knowledgeable and friendly from their first visit. They listened and noted the specific needs for our refurbishment and used their years of control desk experience and expertise to suggest design changes and improvements thus providing an aesthetic and ergonomic solution”.

Regional Sales Specialist Neil Walker (Thinking Space), highlighted “The communication flow between both parties ensured that our proposals were exactly as the client expected.  Meetings held at the ISIS premises at Harwell meant that the design could be reviewed with any changes made quickly and effectively.  With our award-winning design service, the client was able to fully visualise their desks with a 3D render, also safe in the knowledge that these same drawings would be quickly transformed into manufacturing drawings speedily, without the risk of errors”.

PROJECT EXECUTION

As with all clients, Thinking Space welcomed ISIS to their factory for an inspection of the new desks prior to installation on site.  This gave the client the chance to inspect the furniture as it was laid out in exact dimensions to the control room on site, giving the client a real feel of the space and the working environment envisaged.

Three L-shaped custom designed desks were created; a large main desk with built-in media wall at the rear of the desk, to display the clients’ flat screen monitors with optimum viewing angles from each operator position. A separate L-shaped desk was created for the Duty Officer and in addition, an ancillary workstation completed the furniture requirements.

All desks have large worktop surfaces, distinctly lacking in the old control room design. Novus MoreSpace monitor mounts at the two single person operator desksensure that flat screen monitors are ergonomically positioned away from the desk surfaces.

Now complete, the ISIS teams who occupy the control room 24/7, enjoy the new working conditions along with project Physicists and Engineers who have all praised the change.

  • "Thinking Space personnel were very courteous, knowledgeable and friendly from their first visit. They listened and noted the specific needs for our refurbishment and used their years of control desk experience and expertise to suggest design changes and improvements thus providing an aesthetic and ergonomic solution.... The old control room was in place for 32 years so the replacement had to be right for everyone and Thinking Space delivered an excellent product creating a refreshing up to date environment"

    Neal Grafton Rutherford Appleton Laboratories
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