Control desks are currently widely used in industry as a tool facilitating the control of machines. They are usually universal enough to be used with machines of various types that are utilized in different industries. Therefore, they are the most common solutions. It is worth to take a closer look at this solution, learn the design of control desks, their intended use and types.
What are control desks?
A control desk is a system that serves as a housing for an interface of a particular machine. The desk is usually a working station that is provided with adequate buttons, switches, screens and indicators. They enable proper control of a machine. Usually all elements are arranged so that the station is comfortable and ergonomic. This is aimed at facilitating the input of proper settings and quick identification of errors. The desks are usually a universal housing that allows to install appropriate equipment inside it. This can be achieved with opening flaps, free spaces in the housing, etc. Normally one control desk is assigned to one control station. This enables better coordination of work and provides space for the operator of a particular system. Of course control desks may have different functions, design and application that results from the characteristics of a specific device. When deciding to install control desks, it is worth checking the materials of their manufacture and what properties they have.
Design of control desks
Control desks are usually made of steel sheet. It has been successfully used in a variety of industries and still is considered as a material suitable for production. Often some parts of the desks or whole housings are made of galvanized sheet that is more resistant to corrosion and other damage. Individual parts of the desks are usually tightly welded. This is the primary guarantor of safety, especially when desks are intended to protect the control equipment, e.g. in salty or humid environment. In order to ensure the safety of work, cable ducts located in the lower portion of the housing are isolated and sealed. Owing to this, the equipment is protected and the workers does not have to be concerned about their own safety. An additional support in this respect is also grounding that is present in the form of grounding pins connected to the ground. Certain types of control desks may also have additional reinforcement in the form of stiffeners on the doors, flaps as well as protections in the form of gas cylinders.
Types of control desks
Control desks are diversified mostly depending on their functions. Usually three types of control desks are mentioned. These include control and operating desks, alarm desks and information desks that are often referred to as monitoring desks. As the names indicate, they serve different functions that are defined as follows for the particular types of desks:
- Control and operating desks — in accordance with their name, they enable to control a particular machine or system. It is a single centralized station that allows to manage various areas corresponding to the workstation. Control and operating desks base their operation on relays of diverse kinds or on computer overlays.
- Alarm desks — are automatic systems, the primary purpose of which is to report any irregularities, e.g. in the functioning of a machine or in an ongoing process. Some systems can transmit such information further — to the corresponding units. Others on the other hand can correct basic errors using simple remedial measures.
- Information desks — their function is mainly to collect data and to monitor the parameters of work of particular devices and systems. Similarly as in the case of alarm desks, they can correct errors. However, they are used as a system facilitating the monitoring of a process.
Desk housings should be selected depending on their function, so as to enable the proper performance of the tasks entrusted.
Possibilities associated with control desks
Control desks are so eagerly selected because they can be easily adapted to your needs and the characteristics of the machine. They may be intended for different systems, e.g. control apparatus, measuring and control equipment, computer equipment and visualisation of the technological process. The versatility of desks does not end however on the equipment fitted. Various dimensions and solutions used in the control desks also can be customized to meet your needs. They are particularly well suited to act as operators’ workstations at automated production lines. Furthermore, control desks can also be combined together into larger working stations or smaller working stations, adjacent to each other. What is more, it is also possible to prepare openings in the desks to meet the needs of different systems. Radiolex manufactures custom control desks of unusual sizes or properties, e.g. made of stainless steel. Other special materials used for the production of control desks are e.g. carbon steel sheet, aluminium sheet, stainless steel sheet and even acid resistant sheet. The colour of desks, even though it is a secondary issue, can also can be customized according to the requirements. Usually desks are powder coated. Virtually all colours from the RAL palette are available. As you can see, in addition to the standard design, control desks can be adapted to your needs. That is why this is a solution that has been proven in a variety of industries over the years.
Use of control desks
As already mentioned, control desks are used on a large scale in various industries. The desks are used in different industries to perform the following tasks:
- chemical industry – desks for the chemical process control, monitoring and alarming in the event of a fault,
- petrochemical industry – analysis of the various stages of production, control and monitoring of production and processing of liquid fuels,
- rail transport — monitoring of the operation of machines, setting processes and train sets dispatching,
- marine transport — marine navigation and control of marine vessels,
- food industry — detailed control of the various stages of production and the functioning of machinery,
- mining industry — monitoring of mining machines and machines handling extracted raw materials,
- manufacturing industry in various fields — control of production machinery, control of processes as well as monitoring and alarming of errors and irregularities.
Control desks can be very widely used, everything depends on their equipment and basic technical characteristics.
Control desks are the ideal solution without regard to the industry. Their main advantage is that they can be adapted to your needs and then they will surely satisfy all the requirements.