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Join Date: Oct 2017
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Setting up a New Electronics Lab

10/30/2017 5:31 AM

My first post in this forum is about electronics lab.

I am setting up a new electronics lab for embedded systems related work. We need four or five workbenches/workstations, a soldering station, enough storage space for all the essential electronics supplies, and maybe some other useful equipments. We already have quite some equipments available such as oscilloscopes, logic analyzers, large cabinets, etc. But we need a storage solution for all those electronics components.

I see there's already a SE question in (Best way to get components for a new electronics lab). But that one is about getting components while I am thinking about the higher level things including lab layout, workbench design, flooring & lighting etc. I would like it to be a bright, modern, and safe lab environment.

I guess I need some professional help here. But I would like to hear some recommendations from you, my fellow engineers.

Thanks.

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#1

Re: Setting up a new electronics lab

10/30/2017 5:50 AM

A critical question is "how many people will be working in the lab?"

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#5
In reply to #1

Re: Setting up a new electronics lab

10/30/2017 12:08 PM

About half of them... (I'll get my coat)
Del

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#7
In reply to #5

Re: Setting up a new electronics lab

10/30/2017 3:38 PM

That reduces the human work expenditure from 75 W per capita to about 45 W, assuming the other half are still breathing. Does the cooling bill go down with it?

Then there's the "hey guys gather around and watch what happens to this chip when I do X" factor - that one may generate extra watts for a fraction of a second.

Clearly this lab does not need beer holders (as in hold my beer and watch this).

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#2

Re: Setting up a new electronics lab

10/30/2017 7:04 AM

The best recommendation is to hire a competent local Project Manager.

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#3

Re: Setting up a new electronics lab

10/30/2017 7:10 AM

The most important thing in setting up an operation is work flow. You have to plan out sequential operations to keep product movement from station to station at a minimum.

On things like workbenches I found out that by adding locking wheels for movement of the assembly/operations you can design the work flow to changing demands and design around specific line requirements.

If you are into manufacturing engineering always do a MTM (Method Time Motion) study on all stations. You will find that only necessary components specific to a given operation should be in easy reach of the operator.

Flexible manufacturing will either make or break a company as product lines change and being easily adaptable to changing demands is the key to success.

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#4

Re: Setting up a New Electronics Lab

10/30/2017 10:12 AM

Electronics Designing Services - Product Development Services‎

WTSi Product Development - Electronic Design Company‎

components - Setting up a new electronics lab - Electrical Engineering ...

Talk to someone who has done this recently, if you know anyone.

I see you visited Stack Exchange too.

Good luck. My last new lab was set up in 1990, so I'm too old to help you. Make it user friendly.

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#6

Re: Setting up a New Electronics Lab

10/30/2017 12:30 PM

Need to know the nature of the work that will be done and the scope and scale....

https://www.hdrinc.com/portfolio/electronics-laboratory

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#15
In reply to #6

Re: Setting up a New Electronics Lab

11/02/2017 4:02 AM

Wow...this is really cool! I like it!

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#8

Re: Setting up a New Electronics Lab

10/31/2017 4:34 AM

Think also about the flooring material / clear antistatic and durable! But the color is also quite important. Use bright and "mono" color flooring. You will like that if one of the expensive SOT devices jumped out of the pliers and end on the floor!

We had "granite" colored flooring material (grey with white and black spots) and as Murphy would consider it: these parts always landed on the dark spots and only sweeping the floor on hands and knees let us find the "escapees..." again - very rare first IC samples.

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#13
In reply to #8

Re: Setting up a New Electronics Lab

10/31/2017 10:34 AM

It is a corollary to the buttered toast rule - always land opportunistically the wrong place/upside down.

Then the five second rule comes into play. Does that work for chips also?

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#9

Re: Setting up a New Electronics Lab

10/31/2017 6:32 AM

I know this should go without saying, but, make sure all the benches have plenty of mains sockets: guess at how many you think you'll need then treble it.

Also make sure they're all switched.

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#10

Re: Setting up a New Electronics Lab

10/31/2017 6:47 AM

Most Important, ventilation & extraction of fumes and flexibility of work stations, you don't say if this is D&D or production, A bit of advice, don't buy thousands of components just because they're cheaper per unit, buy what you need, I bought the contents of an electronics company that went bust and the value of the stock far outweighed the debt the company folded for, if they hadn't bought so much they may have survived, & I would be poorer. Behind every dark cloud ect-ect.

Bazzer

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#11

Re: Setting up a New Electronics Lab

10/31/2017 10:07 AM

If you're looking for some pro help our company specializes in ESD workstation furniture and complete ESD areas. We have a lot of modular workstation furniture with a lot of different storage options. Lots of expertise in PCB and SMT, have an engineer on staff, ask for Jim Hartley. Quotes are free ofc. Hope that helps!

You could also fill out this short RFQ and someone will contact you:

Workbenches & Workstation Furniture

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#12

Re: Setting up a New Electronics Lab

10/31/2017 10:17 AM

This may seem off-the-wall, but I'd recommend at least talking to someone who worked/managed a Hobby-Shop on a Navy base. Every base had a auto hobby-shop which was open to anyone's (in the military) use. They had it set up so you could plan whatever project you wanted and rent whatever tools you wanted from their storehouse. That place had good set up that could be re-purposed to whatever kind of work (electronics) you want. You could put all the storage on wheeled shelves so that it only took up space while loading/unloading them. The work area could be kept uncluttered, because it won't double as the storage space. And if you get someone from a newer hobby-shop, it won't be out-of-date info. After you collect all your ideas, then you could plan/integrate them into your own design. I'd start by talking to a veterans group somewhere to point you in the right direction. You might be surprised with what could come out of that.

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#14

Re: Setting up a New Electronics Lab

10/31/2017 10:58 AM

When you say embedded systems work, does that mean the workpiece comes to you or do you have to go to the workpiece?

There is a lot of reference information on workstation design in the Six Sigma and Toyota Production Systems approaches. It's initially driven by the procedure for completion of the work and then arranging the workflow, input components and tooling to complete the work most efficiently. Both systems recommend setting up workstations and sequential work cells so that they are mobile and can easily be reconfigured to accommodate changes in the workflow. You might find yourself ahead if you can find someone with Six Sigma certification to look at the process setup.

At one place I worked, we set the equipment up as plug and play, with component racks and lift tables, workbenches with overhead tool supports, conveyors and semiautomatic packaging so that some hydraulic lift table rolling carts could be shoved under various pieces of equipment so that they could be rolled to new locations, set down, plugged in and go to work.

The steps in the workstation design were Work Procedure, Workflow, Workstation design based on Accessibility of tools, components, and ergonomics. Then plan on rearranging to fine tune the process efficiency.

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