Updated: Jan 20, 2020
The furniture found in a 911 dispatch center is probably one of the most used equipment due to the constant physical contact. Since this type of application requires the emergency dispatcher to work with multiple LCD screens (5–6 monitors), radios, and computers a question that comes up very often from customers is, how much weight can the console handle? The answer to this question can be found in the lifting capacity of the actuators found underneath the worksurface. However, consoles designed for 911 dispatch centers often require multiple actuators due to the large work surface and equipment that must be carried making it difficult to give an exact answer. In other words, the carrying capacity of a console will vary for each project depending on the specific needs of the client. In this article, we will give you an estimate of the lifting capacity you should expect from specialized furniture vendors. We will do so by listing the common items that the console will support on a daily basis and work our way backwards.
To start off, let’s consider the lifting capacity of actuators. The industry standard for this type of application is the LINAK DL Series lift columns. The maximum thrust from these actuators varies anywhere from 700–1200N depending on how vendors manufacture their consoles. Interestingly, the lifting capacity per actuator is directly linked to the quality of the workstation structure. For instance, if the console is built with high-pressure laminate work surfaces supported by a heavy-duty steel frame, the console will require more powerful actuators (1200N). This will also translate into benefits for end-users as they will have more room to store their equipment but also avoid surface deflections over time. If you take into account that consoles have between 3 to 6 actuators, this gives the system an overall carrying capacity of 3600–7200N or 810–1600 pounds (Note that this number is divided between the number of surfaces).
On the other hand, while 700N actuators can still perform the job, it is an indicator that the console frame is made of lighter and cheaper materials (wood, plastic) which is not an ideal solution in the long term for a 24/7 application. Furthermore, systems using control boxes for their actuators decrease the console performance as their lifting capacity is limited by the amount of power going through the transformer.
In order to give you an accurate idea of the lifting capacity of a working console, we will use Sustema’s Transit M Series C-300 console as an example. This console is composed of two height-adjustable surfaces supported by 6 x 1200N actuators. The laminated work surfaces found on most professional consoles can weigh between 50 to 100 pounds alone depending on the dimensions. Monitor arms weigh around 10 pounds which multiplied by the number of screens, in this case, is 6, gives us a total of 60 pounds. If we include the weight of monitors, we have an extra 60–100 pounds depending on the size and model. Finally, we can add 20 pounds on each surface for the cables and accessories such as radio, laptop, and more.
Work Surface: (2 Actuators x 1200N = 2400N or 540 pounds)
– Laminated Surface with Steel Frame: 50–100 pounds
– Accessories (Radio, Laptop, Keyboard, etc): 20–50 pounds
Total: Approximately 350 pounds left
Monitor Surface: (4 actuators x 1200N = 4800N or 944 pounds)
– Laminated Surface with Steel Frame: 100 pounds
– Monitor Arms: 60–100 pounds
– LCD Monitors: 60–100 pounds
– Accessories (Cables, Lights, Controllers, Switches): 20–50 pounds
Total: Approximately 650 pounds left
Therefore, in real terms, the lifting capacity is divided between each surface at around 350 pounds for the work desk and 650 pounds for the surface holding the monitors and equipment. After removing the weight off the surface and accessories this gives the dispatch plenty of room to grow without having to replace the furniture in order to accommodate new equipment or more monitors. Furthermore, users can rest assured that the system will not breakdown easily as it is not used at its full capacity like it would for less powerful actuators.
Aside from the lifting capacity, it is also important to consider if the console comes equipped with collision sensors in order to avoid breaking down the workstation but most importantly avoid accidents in the workplace. The speed of the lifting column to move up or down also deserves some consideration as slower actuators result in employees using the standing features less often. In our case, Sustema’s consoles are built with actuators reaching a max. speed of 38 mm/s unloaded. Another element to take into account is to ensure the stability of the console after adding weight into it as it can tilt over if not designed properly. Finally, as these types of purchases happen every 5–10 years, it is essential to get covered by the manufacturer’s warranty if issues were to happen.
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