The Benefits of an Ergonomic Workstation

What is ergonomic?

Medical Dictionary definition: The applied science of equipment design, as for the workplace, intended to maximize productivity by reducing operator fatigue and discomfort.

Ergonomic. (n.d.). The American Heritage® Stedman’s Medical Dictionary. Retrieved December 09, 2013, from Dictionary.com website.

workstationA workstation is typically where one person works at a particular task or operation. An office desk could be considered a personal workstation. For the use in a manufacturing environment what choices are available? Usually just a run of the mill wooden desk or stamped steel table is converted for use. This is usually far from optimal for the task(s) being performed at the station.

The use of modular aluminum framing offers the perfect solution, allowing infinite customization in today’s evolving manufacturing environment. Framing Tech has years of experience not just working with our products but applying them in many unique manufacturing environments from Pharmaceutical, clean-room, automotive, military, electronic assembly, etc.

The workstation should be configured using lean principals which allow only having materials and tools at the station that are required for that shift’s operation. Many options can be supplied to make the operator comfortable and maximize efficiency. Any small part requirements can be supplied within an acceptable reach-zone at optimal height and presentation via simple bin-rails or articulating arm assemblies. Other helpful options are on-station task lighting, power-strips, tool or cup holders, storage drawers, tool hangers, adjustable footrests, etc. Computers can also be effectively placed on or below the work surface as well as the monitor, keyboard and mouse, which can be located on a pullout drawer. Work tops can be wood, laminate, composite, chemically resistant, ESD, etc. The back uprights can contain back panels for noise abatement, privacy, process-document presentation and more. Height adjustability is also an option via hand-crank or electric motor actuation to allow for operators of different sizes to perform the same tasks in a comfortable fashion.

Using t-slotted aluminum framing allows for an evolving manufacturing environment. With product life cycles changing at a more rapid rate this type of workstation can easily be reconfigured by adding, subtracting or re-positioning optional equipment.

What are the benefits?

Increased Productivityworkstation2

Making your workstation ergonomic increases your productivity – so it’ll take you less time to complete a task. And you’ll have more energy! You’ll also have greater job satisfaction. Even though you have to spend money on new workstations, it’s certainly cost effective. A secondary benefit is to get management involved with their work-force & asking for input from the operators on what might make them more efficient in the form of better product or tool placement, personal item storage areas, etc. The morale boost alone might be worth the expense of upgrading old work benches to a new high-tech, 21st century product.

Improved Health

We all know how important health and safety is to an office or manufacturing environment. Unfortunately, bad workstations are notoriously synonymous with carpal tunnel syndrome and other repetitive stress injuries. If you make your workstations ergonomic, you’ll see a decrease in worker’s compensation claims. You’ll also see a decrease in worker absences.

Of course, simply making your workstation ergonomic won’t solve every problem. It’s always recommended that you step away from your workstation a handful of times during the day, perhaps to do a little exercise. You should light your office correctly so you’re not hurting your eyes, arrange your workspace, and do whatever else you can to improve the quality of your work day.

Chris Hill is the President and CEO of Framing Technology, Inc. Connect with him on and Twitter.

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How to Assemble an Aluminum Work Table

When receiving a kit-form solution from Framing Tech, you will get a complete ready to assemble solution. The aluminum extrusion will be machined and labeled. The parts will be packaged individually with their proper hardware. A bill of material list will be provided along with a drawing of how to put the solution together. For an example, we will use a standard Framing Tech “Work Table.” When you first receive the kit, please open the bill of material and check to see that all components are accounted for.

Bill of Material (BOM)

FT-BillofMaterialFT-worktable

The first part of this bill of material list will show what type of material, the machining of each piece, the quantity, and the length of each extrusion. The item number corresponds to the balloon numbers on the drawing. The second part of the bill of material list will show the items that are included in order to assemble the kit.

Technical Drawings

FT-TechnicalDrawingsFT-worktable2The drawing that is included in the kit, should be used for reference to tell the assembler where parts go and if any additional notes. A quick rendering of what the final solution would look like will also be attached to the drawing.

Assembly Instructions

To assemble the work table follow the below steps:

  1. Make sure that the leveling foot (LF60NNM1266) stud has a jam nut threaded on before inserting it into the end of piece #1. Next with a rubber mallet tap the leveling foot pad onto the ball end of the stud. Repeat for the other 3 legs.
  2. Next load the struts with the quick connectors (QC10V), by first inserting the barrel part first into the 17mm diameter holes, and then inserting the bolt into the profiles center bore. Tighten the set screw until it just grabs the bolt.
  3. Now for the construction, this can be done any which way you desire, the way we suggest is:
  • Build the table upside down on a hard surface.
  • Grab pieces #1, 2, 3, and 6.
  • Place piece #2 down with 3/16” drilled holes facing upward and the smooth side facing outward (Remember we are building the table upside down).
  • Then place piece #1, with the leveling foot pad facing up, over the bolts hammer head. Once in place tighten the quick connector to draw piece #1 into piece #2. Do the same to the other end, and repeat this step for the other side of the table.
  • Place both pieces #3 down with the 3/16” drilled holes facing upward and the smooth side facing outward (mirrored). Square off one end and measure and mark distance for placement of piece #6. With the 3/16” drilled holes facing up, slide the bolt of the quick connector on piece #6 in to the T-slots of piece #3. Place into position and tighten both quick connectors of piece #6.
  • Next, with “Step e” still down place one of the sides from “Step d” over the bolt’s hammer head, of piece #3s, and tighten the quick connectors. Repeat this step for the other side.
  • Grab pieces #4 and 5.
  • Place both piece #4s onto flat surface with the smooth sides facing outward (mirrored). Square off one end and measure and mark the distance for the placement of piece#5. Slide one of the pieces #4, over the bolt of one end of piece #5, and place into position and tighten the quick connector on piece #5. Repeat for other side.
  • Mark and measure the distance need for the lower shelf, on all the pieces of #1.
  • Tip work table on to the front face (long side down).
  • Next slide and place the loose piece #5 in between the pieces of #1, and tighten the quick connectors.
  • Slide the shelf sub assembly “Step h” in between the pieces of the #1s and tighten all 4 quick connectors.
  • Tip table right side up and check to make sure all connections are squared.
  • Using a level on the top rails, adjust the leveling feet by unscrewing the stud until table is level. Once into position tighten the jam nut.
  • This kit does not come with a table top unless ordered. However with a table top placed squarely on to the frame, the assembler only has to screw into the top through the 3/16” drilled holes on the bottom of pieces #2, 3, and 6.

Chris Hill is the President and CEO of Framing Technology, Inc. Connect with him on and Twitter.

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Properties and Uses of Aluminum

aluminumFrom aircraft parts to aluminum foil— aluminum has a varied of uses. Aluminum is both lightweight and durable. It’s also the third most abundant metal in the Earth’s crust. Are you intrigued yet?

Today, aluminum is the second most used metal after steel. To give you a better idea, more aluminum is produced each year than all other non-ferrous metals combined. Aluminum is most commonly used in aerospace, transportation and structural materials.

Properties of aluminum

Aluminum is found in oxides or silicates. Because of its strong affinity to oxygen, it almost never occurs naturally in metallic form. Aluminum is resistant to corrosion, which means it does not rust. It’s low in density and is non-magnetic. The strength levels of certain aluminum alloys are similar to those of structural steels. Aluminum also has excellent electrical and thermal conductivity.

Uses of aluminum

Due to its many useful properties, aluminum is used in a variety of products. For example, aluminum is often used for kitchen utensils, window frames, aircraft parts, engines, kegs, soda cans, and structural framing. It’s also is used in electrical products such as light bulbs, power and phone lines. Lastly, aluminum is used in a variety of methods including fusion and resistant welding, brazing, soldering, adhesive bonding, and mechanical methods like riveting and bolting.

Some unusual uses of aluminum

In addition to aerospace, transportation and construction, aluminum is used for some unusual reasons too! In the health industry, aluminum is commonly used as food additives, astringents, antacids, and even aspirin. The sporting goods industry uses aluminum to manufacture baseball bats, golf clubs, tents, and more. Aluminum is also used in gum and candy wrappers, soda cans and cooking foil.

At Framing Tech, we sell aluminum framing systems and extrusion profiles. We use aluminum because it’s light and long-lasting. It also offers flexibility and cost savings in engineering, fabrication and assembly. Aluminum is also ideal for machine guarding, ergonomic workstations and worktables.

Chris Hill is the President and CEO of Framing Technology, Inc. Connect with him on and Twitter.

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T-Slot Assembly Tips and Tricks

T-slotted aluminum profiles are modular by nature. There are many types of systems available that all utilize a basic t-slot geometry to allow near infinite mounting positions of components, etc. We are always concerned not only by the engineering characteristics of a structural frame project but also by the aesthetic value it brings to our clients project. Many times, the profiles surround & define the equipment inside, so we are always looking for the cleanest presentation possible. This is why we feel the internal connection vs. the external clad-plate (boiler plate = last century) mentality is superior. The plate method also does not insure that the two joining profiles are pulled together & a gap is possible leaving the resultant assembly out-of-square. High Aesthetic: (quick-connectors face inside of assembly) Old-School: clad-plate

By nature the cross-sectional shape of the aluminum extrusions make them very strong. So why not use this strength when connecting them together? Using our quick-connector (eg. QC10V) series requires a drilled or milled pocket at each end of the profile (typically a horizontal member) & will allow placement anywhere along a perpendicular t-slot. The tightening of the QC (placed in the center bore) draws the two profiles together forming an extremely strong, vibration-proof connection. This connection is also contained within the extrusion & the [tightening] set-screw can be oriented to face internally so as not to obstruct the external t-slots which can later be covered or have a panel installed. If this rail needs to be re-positioned, it’s a simple matter to loosen & place wherever is more beneficial. Here’s how it works: Another hardware advantage with our system is a wide array of accessory hardware used to fasten components to our t-slots. The most common of these would be the t-nut. These are a post-assembly or drop-in design allowing insertion anywhere along the profile. They are very simple & fast to use, having an elliptical shoulder that locks into the t-slot & allows the multiple threads to be used with standard (10-32-5/16-18) or metric (M4-M8) fasteners. A tip when using the TN series t-nuts to bolt panels onto an extruded frame would be to pre-load the panel with the appropriate screw size & start the t-nut on 1-2 threads. Then place the panel on the frame-work ensuring all the t-nuts are in the slots & tighten. If there is a requirement for a frequently removable panel in a vertical orientation, it might be helpful to use a t-slot nut that will maintain its position in a vertical orientation. This is achieved by using one of our drop-in (DTNB), or roll-in (RN10L) t-slot nuts with either a ball-spring or leaf-spring that will allow leaving the nut in position & leave it in the slot for speed of panel re-assembly. Drop-in with ball-spring: Roll-in with leaf-spring:

Chris Hill is the President and CEO of Framing Technology, Inc. Connect with him on and Twitter.

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Time is of the Essence!

timeToday’s automation equipment manufacturers face ever tightening schedule demands. Engineering departments are running leaner than ever with reduced head-count and more responsibilities. A one week advantage in lead time may be the difference in being awarded a project. Pricing is obviously another determining factor in small or large projects. Once a project is underway it’s critical to have a partnership with a vendor who can exceed expectations in design expertise, material recommendation and fulfillment at the lowest possible cost.

T-slotted aluminum profiles are a globally accepted solution for automation equipment and provide a lowering of design and development times using a “standardized” product approach. In dealings with Framing Tech, you are working directly with the manufacturer. No waiting for a call-back after leaving a voicemail that might be returned from a firm or distributor representative. Most applications typically use the same sizes of extrusions and accessory hardware, so a comfort level is quickly achieved in design as well as build. Using our Solidworks 3d design software we can assist in the refinement of your design or provide a clean sheet layout, complete with b.o.m. for any type of structure.

A common challenge for engineers is to receive a project proposal for an extruded aluminum frame assembly in a timely fashion without necessarily providing allot of specific details. Tell us you need a ballpark estimate and we can usually provide that within hours, not days. Our internal mandate is to provide a detailed quotation in 24 hours or less and we do it! All Framing Tech employees are running high speed computers utilizing multiple monitors and have their email and cell phones on virtually 24/7.

Effective communications is key to success. Our sole focus is working with and providing solutions using our modular aluminum profiles. Knowing what our customers face as challenges drives us to respond quickly because we know a project delivery date or future potential work “hangs in the balance.” Any advantage we can offer our customers will only make them more profitable.

If you are in the market for aluminum profiles, contact us today!

Chris Hill is the President and CEO of Framing Technology, Inc. Connect with him on and Twitter.

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Safety Tips for Operating Industrial Equipment

Occupational_Safety_Equipment

 

Each year, there are number of accidents that result from using industrial equipment. Many of these accidents have serious or fatal outcomes and could have been avoided. When it comes to operating industrial equipment, safety is everything. Here are some tips to operating and maintaining industrial equipment properly:

Use the right tools

Many accidents happen because people do not use the right tools for the work at hand. Before you operate any machinery, you should always check that the proper guards and protective devices are intact. If you think any machinery is not safe to use, than do not use it! One way to reduce the number of industrial accidents is by planning ahead and ensuring that the suitable equipment or machinery is available for the task.

Maintain machinery

In order to make sure industrial equipment does not falter or cause injury, it’s important to keep machinery in good condition. As the employer, it’s your responsibility to ensure the safety of your employees. If a machine is not operating properly, the equipment should be shut down immediately. However, maintenance of industrial equipment should only be conducted by those who are competent to do the work.

Wear protective gear

The purpose of wearing protective gear is to keep your body safe from harm. There are different kinds of clothing designed to provide protection for different industrial needs. For example, chemical suits are designed to protect your body from exposure to harmful chemicals. Without these suits, it would be near impossible to contain dangerous chemical spills. Workers should always wear the proper protective gear, be that hardhats, safety glasses or hearing protectors.

Train employees properly

Employees should have the knowledge they need to use industrial equipment properly. Lack of knowledge and skills required to use equipment properly can lead to unnecessary accidents, even injuries. Training employees will help to decrease the number of accidents on the job. Think of it this way: the greater the danger, the better the training. For more complicated and high-risk tasks, such as driving fork-lift trucks and operating cranes, training should be provided by a specialist.

In the end, employers have control over the industrial equipment and hiring those to operate equipment. It’s the employers responsibility to provide the proper training as well as the right tools and protective gear to operate industrial equipment safely.

Chris Hill is the President and CEO of Framing Technology, Inc. Connect with him on and Twitter.

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Benefits of Using Aluminum vs. Steel

Construction MachineryAluminum and steel are both versatile metals that have many uses in a variety of different industries. Both metals come with their advantages and disadvantages. And many advancements have been made over the years in the production of steel and aluminum. Both metals can be melted, casted and machined into different shapes. Both can produce electricity and are recyclable. So, which metal is better? Well, that would depend on what you’re using it for.

Steel

Made of iron and other elements, steel has the advantage over aluminum when it comes to formability. Simply put, steel has more forming range than aluminum does. Steel is also much harder than aluminum, which offers increased design flexibility. Most important, steel is 100 percent recyclable, so it’s good for the environment. In fact, there is more steel recycled each year than paper, glass, aluminum, and plastic combined.

Aluminum

One-third the density of steel, aluminum is much lighter in weight. For this reason, aluminum is easier and more efficient to machine than steel. Aluminum is also ductile with a low melting point and density, which also makes it easier to machine. Moreover, aluminum is resilient in that it combines strength with flexibility and can flex under loads or spring back easily from the shock of impact. Aluminum also retains a high scrap value, which means it’s also recyclable.

Uses of Both Metals

There are many uses for both metals. For instance, steel and aluminum are used in the marine industry as they are utilized in hulls, decks and bulkheads. Plus, both metals are used in the automotive industry, the mold-making industry and the machining industry. The metals can also be used to make kitchen utensils, golf clubs, indoor and outdoor furniture, refrigerators, and toasters. From buildings to submarines and airplanes, some of the world’s most astonishing objects are made from steel and aluminum.

While both metals have excellent features, we use aluminum at Framing Tech because it’s light, strong and recyclable. No other metal can be used in so many ways across such a variety of industries, such as maritime, automotive, mold-making, and machinery. For those reasons, Framing Tech manufactures, fabricates and sells structural aluminum extrusions and framing in all shapes and sizes.

Chris Hill is the President and CEO of Framing Technology, Inc. Connect with him on and Twitter.

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The Importance of Machinery Enclosure Solutions

There’s a lot going on at any industrial or construction work site. With so many workers moving around and operating the different machines and tools, it can be quite difficult to be safe all the time. Nevertheless, it’s very important to maintain a safe work environment and ensure the protection of yequipment-enclosuresour machinery.

Machine enclosures are the best way to protect your machines and keep employees safe. They come in different sizes and protect various types of equipment. Made of aluminum, machine enclosures help to protect your machinery from damaging and scratching. They also provide environmental control from noise, temperature, humidity, and air particles.help to protect your machinery from damaging and scratching. They also provide environmental control from noise, temperature, humidity, and air particles.

Why Aluminum?

Structural Aluminum extrusions have exceeded welded steel structures as the best way to build protective guards and enclosures for hundreds of industries worldwide. Aluminum is strong like welded steel, but light and can be reused over and over again. This makes for longer, more practical usage than its counterparts. Also, aluminum enclosures are cost-effective so you won’t break the bank to keep your team safe.

Protects Machinery

Machine enclosures provide the utmost protection to your industrial machinery and equipment. They protect against dust, rust, moisture, and other damaging elements. This is incredibly important for any company that sells a physical product. Aging and deteriorating machinery can halt business. And replacing critical machines can become a financial burden. For that reason, machine guarding is a great way to protect your investment.

Workplace Safety

Certain machinery requires more safety and protection than others. The hazards posed by unguarded machines are rather obvious; the machine can do to your body what it’s intended to the materials, whether that is cut, shape, or form. Therefore, machine enclosures are designed in such a way that it protects the operators from harm. They also ease difficult tasks and require less effort from the operator.

Reduce Maintenance

Machine enclosures provide easy access to the machine for repair or maintenance. When the machine is inside the enclosure, it provides a consistent environment. This reduces overall maintenance costs. By using a machine enclosure, you can ensure better results and performance from your machinery.

Chris Hill is the President and CEO of Framing Technology, Inc. Connect with him on and Twitter.

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5 Tips to Better Ergonomics in the Workplace

New cubicleTo put it simply, ergonomics is the study of efficiency in working environments. The goal of ergonomics is to find a balance between you and your work condition. More specifically, one that not only keeps you safe and comfortable but also limits work-related injuries. A recent study demonstrates the more hours a day you sit, the greater your likelihood of dying an earlier death. Therefore, good ergonomics can improve your health and overall quality of life at work.

Arrange Your Workspace

It’s critical to organize your personal workspace. This includes arranging the tools around your desk so that you minimize the distance you have to reach for them. For instance, your most frequently used items should be located within your primary work zone. This includes the distance from your elbow to your hand. Items you use frequently, but don’t need all the time should be located in your secondary work zone, which is within arm’s length. Lastly, your reference zone, which is just outside arm’s reach, should contain your least-often used items.

Exercise At Your Desk

Sitting behind a computer all day can cause back pain, a stiff neck and shoulders, sore hands or wrists, and tired legs. Exercising can help to improve all of these symptoms and more. Plus, you burn calories while doing so! When possible, stretch your arms and wrists. You can also do shoulder and neck rolls to loosen the muscles in your back. Replacing your desk chair with a stability ball is not a bad idea either. It activates good posture and the tightening of core muscles—resulting in strong abdominals. Ideally, you should try to stretch every 20 minutes.

Get Up and Walk

Sitting in a chair all day allows your leg muscles to essentially shut down. You also stop burning calories, your cholesterol production decreases and your risk of diabetes increases. For those reasons, it’s crucial to get up and take frequent walks in order to reactivate your body and increase your blood flow. Whether it’s to the water cooler or just a causal stroll down the hall, make it a priority to take daily walks during throughout the workday.

Maintain Good Work Habits

Maintaining good work habits will give your body a chance to recover while keeping your productivity up. For instance, when you’re not typing you should rest your arms and wrists on a palm rest rather than a hard desk edge. Also, your mouse should be close enough to the keyboard in order to minimize reaching from the shoulder. And rather than sitting at a stiff 90-degree angle, you should try to relax your body and sit at 100 or 110-degree angle.

Appropriate Lighting

More times than not, office lighting is not appropriate for the human eye. And inappropriate lighting can strain your eyes. Therefore, it’s important that monitors are not too bright. Use one of those monitor filters that reduce the glare. For reading, you can supplement a desk light rather than overhead lighting. Also, you should practice looking away from your monitor every 20 minutes. If you can, stare out the window or at a distant object for ten seconds. This will help reduce fatigue and eye strain.

Practicing good ergonomics in the workplace is important. While a sore neck or back may seem harmless at the time, these types of injuries can cause long-term suffering and damage to those who experience them. Research shows that reducing your sitting time to just three hours a day can increase your life expectancy by two years. Ergonomically designed workstations made of aluminum framing can provide temporary relief to workers while making them more productive. Ultimately, the goal of ergonomics is to avoid long-term damage to the body. This will allow office workers to live longer, happier lives.

Chris Hill is the President and CEO of Framing Technology, Inc. Connect with him on and Twitter.

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