Technically, though, they do have different meanings. In general, the term “workstation” refers to an entire workspace, including all its components, like: assembly tables, chairs, storage benches, racks, laminar flow benches, clean room work benches, and office tables. “Work bench” can mean this too, but it also refers directly to work surface areas, like assembly tables, storage tables, and lab work tables, instead of entire units with furniture. Note also that, in this context, the definition of workbenches and workstations excludes benches used for woodworking and hobbyist activities. Also, “workstations” in the broader commercial and manufacturing communities generally refers to either a) combined home/school/office workplace furniture and computer workstations, b) CPU holders and furniture, or c) computers and computer systems that provide a software “work station” for IT administrators.
Depending on the setting in which they are employed, workstations serve a number of different applications. Some of their general applications, though, include: making things more organized and accessible, reducing worker stress, providing adequate work surfaces in offices and factory settings, and helping avoid injuries.
Because they offer such broad applications and are so widely helpful, workstations are popular for use in many industries, some of the most common among them including:
In industrial manufacturing, workstations play a vital role in assembly lines, providing designated areas where workers can perform specific tasks efficiently. These workstations may be equipped with tools, fixtures, and conveyors to streamline production processes and optimize workflow.
In shipping and packaging, workstations are utilized for tasks like sorting, labeling, and packaging goods. These workstations often include ergonomic features and accessories to enhance productivity and reduce the risk of repetitive strain injuries.
In office and IT environments, workstations are typically office desks equipped with computers, monitors, keyboards, and other accessories. These workstations provide employees with a comfortable and organized workspace to carry out administrative tasks, data entry, programming, and other office-related activities.
Cleanroom research and laboratories require specialized workstations to maintain a controlled and sterile environment. These workstations are designed with materials and features that minimize particle contamination, ensuring the integrity of experiments, research, and testing processes.
In education, workstations are utilized in classrooms, computer labs, and research facilities. These workstations facilitate learning activities, computer-based tasks, and collaborative projects, offering students and educators a dedicated space to study, research, and create.
In the medical and laboratory field, workstations are crucial for various tasks such as data analysis, specimen handling, and equipment operation. These workstations are designed to meet specific industry regulations and safety standards, providing an environment conducive to precision and accuracy.
Engineering and drafting workstations cater to professionals involved in designing, drafting, and modeling. These workstations are equipped with powerful computers, specialized software, and ergonomic features to support complex engineering tasks and optimize productivity.
Software development workstations provide programmers and developers with a dedicated environment for coding, debugging, and testing software applications. These workstations often have multiple monitors, high-performance processors, and ample memory to accommodate resource-intensive development processes.
In the automotive industry, workstations are utilized for tasks like vehicle assembly, repair, and maintenance. These workstations may include specialized tools, vehicle lifts, and diagnostic equipment to facilitate efficient and safe automotive operations.
Workstations in the foodservice industry are designed for food preparation, cooking, and serving. These workstations typically feature stainless steel surfaces, storage compartments, and easy-to-clean materials to ensure hygiene, organization, and efficiency in commercial kitchens.
These examples illustrate how workstations are tailored to specific industry requirements, providing optimized work areas for various tasks, ensuring productivity, efficiency, and safety in different professional domains.
Workstations and workbenches are based on the concept of a table, so it’s not easy to pin down exactly when they came into use. What we do know is humans were using that, at the latest, by 50 A.D. At that time, the Romans were using thin, simply constructed, low to the ground workbenches. Workers usually sat down to use them. We do not hear anything significant of workbenches again until the 17th and 18th centuries, when the French designed the aptly named “French workbench”. The French workbench did not use screws or welding, but rather held pieces in place with stops.
Before the Industrial Revolution, workstations were used mostly for woodworking, food prep and other artisan crafts. After the Industrial Revolution, they began to adapt for manufacturing and machines. Since the 20th centuries, workstations have become more than tables. Often desk-like, modern workstations are created ergonomically for worker convenience.
A packaging table is a unit that gives workers a place to prepare packages for shipment or distribution without having to lift or push heavy objects. Also known as a packing table, the packaging table features components and accessories designed to increase workflow speed and efficiency, while maintaining safety.
A modular workstation has interlocking components that can easily be arranged and rearranged as needed. The focus of modular workstations is convenience. Thus, modular workstations are typically built with adjustable shelving, bins and whatever other features it takes to organize the work space. Of all the workstation types modular workstations are most often used as cubicles, because of the way they can be arranged to fit into any space.
Mobile workstations, or mobile workbenches, are equipped with wheels so that users can move and roll them across the room or through the building. They also include braking mechanisms for safety and convenience. Other than these features, they can be designed with just as much complexity as any stationary workstation.
An industrial workbench is a sturdy table used in industrial settings, such as product manufacturing and repair. Its goal is to create an efficient and safe environment for workers as they go about their duties. Industrial workstations often feature adjustable shelves and drawers, where they store tools and supplies. Because they are designed for heavy duty work, they’re usually made with a steel or stainless steel welded frame.
Heavy Duty Workbench
A heavy-duty workbench is tough and durable. It is used for applications that require a table of its caliber. Like the industrial workbench, it can be designed to hold tools and equipment. In fact, heavy duty benches often serve as the “bench” component of industrial workstations. Heavy duty workbenches are popular for use in settings including: metal fabrication plants, commercial workspaces, woodworking stores, machine shops, welding plants and auto repair shops. Because they are so durable, users can put objects weighing thousands of pounds on top of them without worrying about them bending or breaking.
Lab workbenches are work tables used inside laboratories. There they serve as surfaces for a wide range of applications, including: lab equipment storage, chemical testing, biological testing and student workstations. Because they may come in contact with volatile chemicals and/or moisture, lab workbench tops are usually made from an inert material. They also usually feature components including gas valves, fume hoods and stainless steel sinks.
The term “computer workbenches” refers broadly to those workstations made to accommodate computers, computer equipment and computer accessories. These workbenches are found in the home, as PC and laptop workstations, and in the office.
Command Operating Center
A command operating center is like a computer workbench, but more complex. Found in information technology fields, command operating centers are built to hold items such as: computer and electronic equipment, keyboards, processors and display monitors. Their goal is to make all of this equipment readily accessible.
Workstations consist of a work table and various helpful components, such as drawers and shelves (freestanding, bottom, adjustable top or pull out). In offices or industrial complexes that use computers, workstations are equipped with CPU holders to keep the computers in place and safely out of the way. Other common workstation components include: overhead lighting, under shelf lighting, electrical outlets/power strips, surge protectors, locks, shelf reels, handles, locking casters, footrests, privacy panels, keyboard trays and powered back guards.
Workstations, when designed and utilized effectively, offer several benefits across industries. Here are some of the key advantages:
Workstations are designed to optimize workflow and efficiency. They provide dedicated spaces with organized layouts, allowing workers to have easy access to tools, equipment, and resources necessary for their tasks. This arrangement helps minimize time wasted on searching for materials, promoting focused and productive work.
Ergonomic considerations are a crucial aspect of workstation design. Proper ergonomics, such as adjustable chairs, ergonomic keyboards, and monitor placement, promote comfortable and healthy working postures, reducing the risk of musculoskeletal injuries and improving overall worker well-being. Ergonomically designed workstations can enhance productivity by minimizing discomfort and fatigue.
Tailored to Task Requirements
Workstations can be customized to meet the specific needs of different tasks and industries. They can include specialized equipment, tools, and accessories that are essential for particular job functions. This customization ensures that workers have the necessary resources readily available, enhancing efficiency and accuracy in their work.
Organization and Space Optimization
Workstations provide designated areas for work, helping to keep the workspace organized and clutter-free. With proper storage options and compartments, tools and materials can be easily accessed and stored, reducing the time spent on searching for items. An organized workstation also contributes to a safer work environment, minimizing the risk of accidents or misplaced items.
Flexibility and Adaptability
Workstations can be designed to accommodate changing needs and technological advancements. Adjustable height workstations, modular components, and flexible layouts allow for adaptability as tasks and requirements evolve. This flexibility enables workstations to be reconfigured or modified to meet changing demands, supporting long-term usability and cost-effectiveness.
Safety and Compliance
Certain industries have specific safety and regulatory requirements. Workstations designed with these considerations in mind can ensure compliance with industry standards and regulations. For example, in cleanrooms or laboratories, workstations can be constructed with materials that meet stringent cleanliness and contamination control standards, ensuring the integrity of sensitive processes.
Collaboration and Communication
Workstations can be designed to promote collaboration and communication among team members. In office settings, shared workstations or open-plan layouts can facilitate interaction and idea exchange, fostering teamwork and creativity. Additionally, integrated technology solutions like shared displays or collaborative software can enhance communication and collaborative efforts.
Overall, workstations offer benefits such as increased productivity, improved ergonomics, task-specific customization, organization, adaptability, safety compliance, and facilitation of collaboration. By providing optimized work environments, workstations contribute to enhanced efficiency, employee satisfaction, and overall effectiveness in various industries.
How to Use Them
You’d assume that using a workbench is pretty straightforward. You sit in front of them and work on your computer; you store things in their drawers; you place machines on top of them and use said machines. Of course, because every workstation is different, they’ll all have different details of use. Here are some tips on how to properly use a workstation to maximize productivity and create an ergonomic and efficient work environment:
Maintain Proper Posture
Sit upright with your back supported by the chair, and keep your feet flat on the floor or a footrest if needed. Ensure that your knees are at a 90-degree angle and your elbows are positioned close to your body. Adjust the chair height, backrest, and armrests to support a comfortable and neutral posture.
Position the Monitor
Place the monitor directly in front of you at eye level. Adjust the height and tilt of the monitor to avoid straining your neck or eyes. Maintain a distance of about an arm’s length between your eyes and the screen.
Arrange Tools and Equipment
Keep frequently used tools, such as pens, notepads, and reference materials, within easy reach. Arrange them in an organized manner on your desk or in storage compartments to minimize clutter and maximize efficiency.
Utilize Ergonomic Accessories
Consider using ergonomic accessories to enhance comfort and reduce strain. These may include an ergonomic keyboard, mouse, wrist rest, or adjustable monitor stands. Choose accessories that support natural body positions and reduce the risk of repetitive strain injuries.
Take Regular Breaks
It’s essential to take short breaks throughout the day to rest your eyes, stretch your muscles, and refresh your mind. Stand up, move around, and perform simple stretching exercises to prevent stiffness and promote blood circulation.
Keep the Workstation Clean and Organized
Regularly clean your workstation to maintain a tidy and organized workspace. Minimize unnecessary clutter and ensure that cables are properly managed and secured to avoid tripping hazards.
Customize to Your Needs
Adjust the workstation setup based on your specific requirements and tasks. Consider the nature of your work, the tools you use, and any individual preferences or ergonomic needs you may have. Personalizing your workstation can significantly improve comfort and efficiency.
Use Proper Lighting
Ensure that your workstation is adequately lit to avoid eye strain and fatigue. Utilize natural light if possible, but also supplement with task lighting to provide sufficient illumination for your work area.
Practice Good Workstation Habits
Avoid prolonged sitting by incorporating movement throughout the day. Take short walks or perform stretching exercises. Additionally, maintain good work habits, such as prioritizing tasks, minimizing distractions, and using time management techniques to stay focused and productive.
Seek Professional Advice
If you have specific ergonomic concerns or requirements, consider consulting with an ergonomic specialist or occupational health professional. They can provide personalized recommendations and assessments to optimize your workstation setup.
By following these guidelines, you can create a productive, comfortable, and ergonomic workstation that promotes well-being, minimizes the risk of injuries, and enhances overall work performance.
Design and Customization
Workbench manufacturers construct workstations using partial welding, full welding or modular assembly. When the goal is strength, they will choose partial or full welding. For added precision, they can use laser welding technology. For less heavy-duty applications, modular, on-site assembly works best.
Workbenches for industrial workplaces are usually made of steel or another metal because they must be durable and strong. They almost always have a steel frame. Very small or light-duty ones, though, can be made from a heavy-duty plastic instead. Depending on the application, manufacturers can use a wide variety of workbench top materials, such as: HDPE, stainless steel, edge-grained maple, composite resin wood, epoxy resin, PVC-edged laminate, self-edged laminate, electrostatic dissipative (ESD) laminate and chemical resistant laminate.
No matter your application, your supplier will design your custom workstation for ergonomics, as their goal is always to reduce stress and boost productivity. Aside from that, manufacturers choose how to customize your workstation based on your application needs and requirements. For example, they can modify height with adjustable workbenches to meet the needs of employees with any height adjustment requirements. In many cases, the height of not only the workbenches but also desks, chairs and drawers or cabinets can be altered to suit the user. Manufacturers can even design your workbench to fit in a corner. In addition, manufacturers can produce workstations in virtually any size. To strengthen and protect your workbench, they may also add paint or a sealant coating.
Safety and Compliance Standards
Safety and compliance standards for workstations vary across industries but generally focus on ensuring a safe and healthy work environment for employees. Workstation safety considerations often involve ergonomic design principles, fire safety measures, electrical safety standards, and adherence to relevant health and safety regulations. Compliance standards may include guidelines for load capacity, stability, and structural integrity of workstations. In specific industries like cleanrooms or laboratories, additional standards such as contamination control measures, hazardous material handling protocols, and proper ventilation systems may be required. It is essential to consult local regulations, industry-specific guidelines, and relevant safety authorities to ensure that workstations meet the necessary safety and compliance standards for the particular industry and work environment.
To avoid accidents or inadequate support, it’s very important that you pay attention to safety and compliance standards. For example, if you plan on using heavy amounts of electricity, you may want to make sure that your outlets are IEC or NEC certified. If you plan on using your workbench in food prep or a medical setting, the surface material should be FDA certified and antimicrobial. For military parts assembly or testing, your workstations need to meet Mil-Specs. Also, in general, since your goal is always worker comfort and safety, your workstations should be OSHA certified. For more specific advice, talk it over with your workstation supplier.
Things to Consider
Before you set out to purchase a workstation, you need to know the details of your application. Ask yourself questions such as: What load capacity do I require? Do I need a special surface? (If you are working with chemicals, food or medical instruments, the answer is probably yes.) What are the dimensions of the space in which I would like to place my workstation? What is my budget? When do I need my workstation? Is my workstation for sitting, standing or both? Does my workstation need to be mobile? Once you’ve compiled all the answers to your questions, you’re ready to shop around.
When it comes to workstation purchasing, you have available to you a vast array of options. While we all love options, there comes a point when we reach information overload, and we simply don’t know what to decide. Plus, with so many options out there, how do you know which ones are quality? To help you narrow down your choices, we’ve provided you with a list of several workstation companies that are proven leaders in the field. Each of these companies has something unique to offer customers. To find out which one has the right combination of products, workstation services and price points for you, start by checking out all of their profiles. Then, pick three or four companies with whom you’d like to speak directly. Reach out to each of them, and talk over your specifications with one of their representatives. After you’ve done that, compare and contrast their quotes. From among them, choose the one you think fits your needs best, and get started. It’s as easy as that. Happy hunting!
Choosing the Right Workstation Manufacturer
To ensure you have the most positive outcome when purchasing workstations from a workstation manufacturer, it is beneficial to compare several companies using our directory or workstation manufacturers. There, each workstation manufacturer has a business profile page highlighting their areas of experience and capabilities, along with a contact form to directly communicate with the manufacturer for more information or to request a quote. Review each workstation business website using our patented website previewer to quickly learn what each company specializes in. Then, use our simple RFQ form to contact multiple workstation businesses with the same form.
Work Station Informational Video