Different Types of Workbenches
Workers need the right equipment in order to do their jobs correctly—it sounds like common sense, doesn’t it? Out in the real world, however, many workmen have to put up with outdated, substandard equipment that makes it impossible to perform their duties efficiently and accurately. In some cases, the type of equipment they need isn’t available in any shape or form.
Workbenches tend to fall into one of the above categories. It’s not uncommon for employees to be provided with a rickety, worn-out table on which they must somehow carry out tasks that require precision craftsmanship. Uneven legs can make a table wobble, when the workman needs a steady surface; the bench might slide across the floor if it can’t be properly secured; in short, all kinds of problems can arise. Sometimes the employees have no bench or table at all, forcing them to place tools and objects on a cleared-away surface or another improvised area. Without a dedicated workstation, though, it’s likely that the employee will have trouble keeping track of valuable work-related items.
A well-built workstation solves many of these problems. The initial expense involved in purchasing one will generally be offset by improved workplace efficiency and productivity. But, to say this, brings us to the next question: How do you know which kind of workstation is best for a particular environment? To answer that, you need to be familiar with the workstations currently available on the market. Let’s take a look at the qualities you should look for in a workbench, and then examine a few of the more common workbench types out there today.
What to Look For in a Workbench
Of course, there is no one-size-fits-all workbench that will be equally suitable to every production environment. Selecting the “right” workbench will depend on the weighing of several factors. While we won’t delve into every single consideration that goes into picking the best possible workbench, there are a few important matters that should be kept in mind before paying good money for quality equipment.
- Weight Capacity – How heavy are the items that the workbench will be expected to support? If the worker will be handling only small tools and objects, then this isn’t a particularly pressing concern. But if heavy materials will be placed on the tabletop, you need to know the maximum weight capacity of the bench. The typical workbench can hold several hundred pounds, but some models, such as the FastRak™ workbench, can safely carry more than 1000 pounds. Figure out the weight of all the items that might end up on the bench at the same time. It’s always best to err on the safe side—a workbench with greater weight capacity than you need won’t pose a problem, but one with less than you need could lead to serious harm.
- Worksurface Type – What kind of surface will be used to support the various objects placed on the bench? Particle board is common, and for many purposes this inexpensive, lightweight material is perfectly adequate. Keep in mind, however, that particle board can become damaged or warped when exposed to moisture, though applying a coating of some kind can offset this tendency. For heavy-duty tasks, you may wish to select a workbench with a steel surface. Another option is PVC laminate surfaces, which are easy to clean. So-called “shop top” worksurfaces provide yet another possibility—these help prevent the build-up of potentially dangerous static electricity
- Bench Flexibility – Workers can easily sustain repetitive stress injuries while toiling away at workbenches. If the bench hasn’t been sized to their particular physical specifications, the likelihood of injury is even more pronounced. It’s best to purchase a workbench that can be adjusted to accommodate the height of the individual worker; this reduces the need to reach and bend awkwardly while performing work functions. This is especially important in high-productivity environments. However, in many cases, a bench that lacks this capability will still be adequate.
Types of Workbenches
Now we’ll explore some commonly used workbenches. This is hardly a comprehensive listing, but it should provide an appropriate overview of the kinds of benches available. All of these workbenches can be purchased through Ziglift.
Boltless Shelving Workbenches
As the name implies, boltless shelving workbenches can be assembled without the use of bolts. This capability means that this type of workbench may be set up, taken apart, and reassembled with minimal fuss, which makes it suitable for warehouses and other areas where there is no permanent, dedicated workspace for personnel. They’re also found in many environments that involve shipping and receiving functions. Some of these workbenches come with shelving below the worktable, for easy storage of parts and tools; other models include an elevated shelf at the rear of the table.
FastRak storage solutions come in many types—there are a large number of warehouses outfitted with bulk shelving, record archive shelves, tire racks, cable reel racks, and other types of support equipment from this leading brand. FastRak workbenches follow the same highly durable design shared by these other solutions. In fact, the components used in FastRak shelves are found in these ultra-sturdy workbenches as well. These benches are ideal for environments that require support for weighty objects, as the toughest of these models can hold up to literally a ton of material. Featuring strong steel supports, FastRak workbenches are built for heavy use.
Steel Adjustable Workbenches
Sometimes called industrial workbenches, these provide maximal flexibility for the user by enabling them to raise or lower the table as needed. The steel workbenches available from Ziglift can be adjusted from a range of 31 to 37 inches; they come with either a “shop top” (a tough anti-static surface) or a steel top. Their welded steel legs ensure optimal sturdiness. Steel adjustable workbenches come in a wide variety of models, including ones with elevated shelves attached to the surface and/or with bottom shelves positioned beneath the table. Easy to assemble, yet reliable, these workbenches can get the job done, even in environments with heavy workloads.