Winsted is a worldwide leader in control room consoles and technical furniture solutions. We create attractive, ergonomic consoles that work with your operators to improve comfort and optimize efficiency. We offer stock and custom consoles and command centers suitable for any application. Whether you are building a state-of-the-art control room from the ground up, or simply need to upgrade your operations, Winsted can provide the ideal solution. Our experts combine the disciplines of industrial design, ergonomics and interior design to create control room solutions that are both efficient and eye-catching. We give special consideration to the ergonomic requirements of your operators to build consoles that reduce fatigue, improve productivity and inspire. Click on the images below to see some examples of actual installations.
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EASTERN SHORE NATURAL GAS
WINSTED ENGINEERS CONTROL ROOM OF THE FUTURE FOR HISTORIC LAUNCH TO THE MOON
Humans haven’t been to the surface of the Moon in nearly fifty years. But that is about to change. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania based Astrobotic is a lunar logistics company providing end-to-end delivery services for payloads to the Moon.
In 2022, Astrobotic will be launching Peregrine Mission One, which is poised to be the first commercial mission to successfully land on another planetary body. To prepare for this historic launch, Astrobotic needed a control room expertly equipped to support their team.
Designing, engineering, and building a control room fit to support a launch to the Moon is no small feat. It requires state-of-the-art design that prioritizes functionality and ergonomics.
In preparation for the world’s first lunar landing in the last half century, Astrobotic worked with Winsted, engineers of mission critical technical furniture, to design and build their new mission control center.
Astrobotic Peregrine Lander
Astrobotic was founded in 2007. Today they have 167 employees with more than
1000 years of combined experience across the space, robotics, and aeronautics industries. Their home base, located in the heart of Pittsburgh, is a 47,000 square foot complex; it is the largest private facility in the world dedicated to lunar logistics. Within this massive facility, Astrobotic scientists and engineers build and operate their line of landers, rovers, autonomous spacecraft navigation systems, and other space technologies.
Peregrine is a small-class lander that precisely and safely delivers payloads to lunar orbit and the lunar surface.
“The Peregrine lander will carry a diverse suite of scientific instruments, technologies, mementos, and other payloads from six different countries, dozens of science teams, and thousands of individuals,” said Jennifer Lopez, Astrobotic’s Director of Business Development, Commercial and Civil Space.
The Peregrine lander is designed of a core set of systems, known as the bus. The lander bus design enables safe payload delivery to lunar orbit and any latitude on the lunar surface. The bus can be arranged, augmented, and adapted to the various payload delivery locations. The Peregrine landers flexible bus configuration can accommodate a variety of payload types for science, exploration, marketing, resources, and commemoration.
The Peregrine will be carrying multiple payloads to the surface of the moon, 11 of which are from NASA.
The Peregrine lander is comprised of the following systems:
- Structures – Strong and lightweight for survivability during launch and landing.
- Propulsion – Maneuvers lander after separation from the launch vehicle.
- Guidance, Navigation, Control – Controls, orients, and flies the lander throughout the mission.
- Power – Generates, stores, and distributes power to payloads and lander systems.
- Avionics – Performs all command and data handling for the lander.
- Communications – Provides communication services between ground stations and the lander.
- Thermal Control – Regulates and controls thermal interfaces for lander systems.
“The Peregrine lander launch and Moon landing will be controlled directly from the newly built Astrobotic Mission Control Center inside our headquarters,” continued Lopez. “When looking to develop our new mission control center, we wanted to prioritize operator experience to ensure a successful launch and landing.”
The new Astrobotic Mission Control Center needed to support the high stress, high stakes Peregrine lander launch. The team of engineers and scientists tasked with controlling and monitoring the critical launch is expecting long hours that will require extreme focus. To create a top-of-the-line control room to support their team’s needs, Astrobotic contacted Winsted.
“Winsted specializes in seamless workspace integration through reimagined and refined products,” said Randy Smith, Winsted President. “We work to not only build control rooms; we’re dedicated to improving command center operations and efficiency. Astrobotic needed a workspace that was an extension of the operator and their objective – launching the Peregrine lander.”
With this in mind, Winsted and Astrobotic set out to engineer their new mission control room with intelligent ergonomics and smart furniture at the forefront.
Sightline to the Moon
The new mission control room required seating for 18 operators at a time, with extra space for additional employees to observe and support from the sides.
“We were required to engineer an innovative control room that provided open sightlines, comfortable seating for individual users, and provided sufficient room to operate and communicate with team members,” said Smith.
The solution – Winsted’s ergonomic, modular, and adaptable Sightline Consoles.
The Sightline is the gold standard for adaptable, reconfigurable control room consoles. The award-winning console series provides users with flexibility in any technical environment.
“The Sightline consoles was the perfect solution for Astrobotic because it can accommodate the broadest range of users who need to adjust and set sightlines and viewing angles, customizing to their personal needs simply and quickly,” said Lopez.
Sightline console features include:
- Sightline Cable Management – Convenient cable management solutions that are easily accessible.
- Sightline Data Power – Openings for a universal data mounting plate duplex power are conveniently located at the back of the work surface.
- Sightline Multi-Purpose Doors – Double-panel doors are extra sturdy to support a CPU shelf or file/storage bin for convenient swing-out access.
- Sightline Versa Trak – Integrated horizontal aluminum track system will support a wide variety of monitor arrays. Versa-Trak offers the ultimate in versatility with easy horizontal adjustment.
Astrobotic’s new mission control center is fully equipped with six Sightline consoles, seating three operators each. The Winsted Sightline offers ultimate adjustability and comfort with easily optimized viewing angles based on each operators personal needs.
“Together, Astrobotic and Winsted have built a mission control center that optimizes the space and offers ergonomic support to users,” said Smith. “During the upcoming Peregrine lander launch, Astrobotic engineers and operators will benefit from the center’s innovative design that offers both comfort and control. It’s a state-of-the-art innovative control room, built for their groundbreaking and historic launch to the moon.”
From concept to final build, Winsted worked to develop a new mission control center environment for Astrobotic where design, function, detail, and comfort worked together harmoniously to create a path to productivity and success.
“Every step of the process was great,” said Lopez. “Personality-wise, they all got along and worked together well. They understood our needs and the opportunity.”
With Peregrine’s launch, Astrobotic is opening the door to the next phase of space science, exploration, and commerce on the Moon and beyond. And they are empowering a thriving human presence in space to explore the universe beyond Earth’s orbit.
“For more than 55 years, Winsted has developed consoles and workstations for mission critical environments, making them the most experienced designers and manufacturers in the industry,” concluded Smith. “It was an honor to be part of Astrobotic’s mission to the moon.”
The new Astrobotic mission control center was completed in 2020 and is ready for the upcoming Peregrine lander launch in 2022.
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Robins Air Force Base
PARTNERING WITH UNITED TECHNOLOGY SERVICE TO IMPROVE SURVEILLANCE AT ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE
United Technology Service (UTS) is a full-service provider of enterprise-wide technology solutions. As a full-service systems integrator, UTS compliments its product offerings with unbiased consultation, design engineering, product procurement, systems integration and more. Through this value-added service approach, UTS ensures their customers receive dedication attention and long-term commitment to support their investment.
“Through the years, we’ve redeveloped our business to include all the turnkey solutions for any particular site build-out, including secure enterprise systems,” said Carlos Rivera, President, United Technology Service.
Throughout their history, UTS has partnered with Winsted to ensure their customers receive the best solutions for their technical control room environments. Around five years ago, a customer came calling to UTS with this exact need. It was the U.S. Air Force. Specifically, the Air Force was looking for a solutions provider to redevelop a video surveillance control room to improve situational awareness on Robins Air Force Base, located in Houston County, Georgia.
Updating Surveillance & Improving Operations
Robins Air Force Base was looking to improve the 402nd maintenance operation center while also building a new video surveillance system. The operation center is responsible for dispatch control and other radio dispatches for the 402nd maintenance wing of the base.
As the project began to unfold, Rivera and his team turned to their longtime partner, Winsted, to help with technical furniture.
“Once we were presented with the sit/stand desks, we saw that it was a natural fit,” said Rivera. “Being that it’s a 24/7 operation, we wanted to offer the sit/stand option for ergonomic reasons.”
Ergonomic Benefits for Air Force Operators
For this type of government project, the World Building Design Guides (WBDG), specifically Unified Facilities Criteria and GSA’s P100 Design standards, governed the design process. The standards outline requirements for the comfort of control room operators.
“We wanted a more flexible facility, said Rivera. “That made the sit/stand desks a natural fit.”
Winsted worked with UTS to layout and design a series of Impulse Dual Sit/Stand workstations for the space. As the teams were designing the plan, they kept sightlines top-of-mind, ensuring no views would be obstructed if desks were raised.
Winsted has a great, straightforward team,” said Rivera. “They worked with us from developing CAD drawings to product design and construction.”
During the installation Winsted was there in lockstep with UTS to achieve a successful outcome.
The users are ecstatic with the outcome.
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CONTROLLING THE COGENERATION PLANT FOR HUDSON YARDS
Towering over the Hudson River on Manhattan’s New West Side is Hudson Yards – a cultural epicenter with more than 100 diverse shops, residences and culinary experiences. By area, it’s the largest private real estate development in the United States – covering more than 18 million square feet over seven city blocks.
Early in the planning process, the Hudson Yards development recognized the opportunity to power Hudson Yards in a resilient, effective and sustainable way. The answer was a 13.3-MW cogeneration (CoGen) plant.
“The plant is a green initiative, we wanted to limit the greenhouse gasses by burning natural gas onsite, said Nick Lanzillotto, VP of MEP-HRY Development. “It means we use about 80 percent of the energy the plant produces both electrical and thermal energies, as opposed to around 30 percent of the energy from commercial electric suppliers.”
Not Your Typical Power Plant
The CoGen plant at Hudson Yards serves all the buildings in the Eastern Railyards development. The buildings energy needs are met with Cogen as well as the buildings own infrastructure. It’s a complex system that requires a master control room to keep everything operating smoothly.
“We needed to set up a control center that’s more typical of a power plant and a district energy plant rather than a typical New York City skyscraper,” said Nick.
Nick had a vision for this control center. Well into the center’s development, he realized his vision wasn’t being achieved. That’s when he discovered Winsted.
“I happened to visit Winsted website and saw images of control room layouts, they just had the right feel,” said Nick. “That’s when we brought Winsted into the project.”
A Seamless Process – From Concept to Installation
From concept to installation, the setup was smooth and seamless. So much so, that Nick wished other Hudson Yards projects would follow suit.
“If the whole project went as easy our work with Winsted, it would’ve been great,” said Nick. “The Winsted team was wonderful to work with. From rendering to layout, to determining the right components, all the way to installation, it all went very smooth.
In total, the CoGen plant’s control room contains five workstations, each with four monitors. An 8’ x 16’ video board stands in front of the workstations. Outside of the control room sits the information room with a single technician workstation, filing cabinets, storage cabinets and a blueprint-reading table with additional storage.
“They made it very easy for us,” said Nick. “Because it was so seamless, we worked with Winstead on a fire command center that also went very well.”
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Brussels Energy, Belgium
AN ENERGIZED CONTROL ROOM
Brussels Energy is a public private partnership between the Regional Brussels-Cleanliness Agency and SITA. The site, located on the Quai Leon Monnyer 8 in Brussels, incinerates household waste which is then processed as a renewable energy source.
Rockwell Automation, working with Brussels Energy, contacted Winsted to assist with the design for the refurbishment of the dedicated control room. During the design process it was realized that the envisaged design was comparable to another Winsted control room installation located at the European Commission International(ECI), also in Belgium.
With the co-operation of the ECI, a site visit was arranged, and representatives from both Rockwell Automation and Brussels Energy could view the design and workmanship of the Winsted installation first hand, before committing and awarding their contract to buy.
Auto CAD plans and 3D conceptual images were produced complying with the international standard ISO 11064 creating a user-centred solution. The approved design based upon Winsted Sight-Line consoles consisted of 6 modules with credenza, finished in a unique white gloss, integrated with custom worktops, rack mounts and Versa-Trak monitor mounting system. A host of accessories including task lights, phone trays and file storage bins were also included in the design to maximize space and increase user efficiency.
The sleek integrated solution works perfectly in accordance with the client’s needs and allows operators to work in comfort throughout their shifts whilst giving a comprehensive overview of the entire process.
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Sedgefield Borough Council
SEDGEFIELD BOROUGH COUNCIL
Sedgefield’s centrally-based control room facility receives images from over 120 public space CCTV cameras located throughout the borough. Considering the system’s requirement for increased monitoring capability, they set about finding a solution that would allow staff a more comfortable and flexible operating environment; one that would afford a comprehensive overview of the entire system, whilst assisting an increase in operational efficiency through ergonomic design.
Based on Winsted’s Prestige Range, Sedgefield’s bespoke console is formed to match the room’s unique curvature, and is presented in a ‘reflection minimizing’ dark color with a corresponding laminate surface. Andrew Aitken, Business Manager at Sedgefield Borough Council explains: “The non-reflective properties of the Winsted console are invaluable to us, as the entire width of the control room features wall-to-wall windows, the light from which presented our previous furniture with prominent reflection issues.”
Andrew Aitken continues: “Operator comfort is a primary concern for Sedgefield Borough Council and the Winsted supplied desk and Ergonomic Chairs were recommended by our own council Occupational Health Therapist as providing the best solution, delivering an effective ergonomic environment for our operators. Our team now enjoy a clear, unrestricted view of all system cameras displayed on large format flat screen monitors affixed to the console. The new console’s design and configuration not only allows our staff to operate in more comfort throughout their shifts, but also enhances overall efficiency in the control room.
“One of the biggest factors in our decision to use Winsted products was the modular property of the bespoke console. This was illustrated with a recent expansion to the desk, seamlessly integrated into the original design, it allowed us to add three additional spot monitors. Our next expansion will include an increase in operator numbers from our existing five, to seven. This will comprise another trouble-free expansion to the Winsted console, plus additional seating.”
Andrew concludes: “The technical control room furniture represented a significant slice of the overall investment for the control room upgrade and we wanted to get it right; with a product that would provide a bespoke and long-term solution to our unique requirements. Thanks to its quality and modular nature, Winsted have provided a technical control furniture solution that will serve our needs for many years to come.
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Foreign Automotive Processing
Q2 INDUSTRIAL SECURITY KEEPS AN EYE ON FAPS, INC.
If you’ve ever purchased a foreign car, chances are pretty good your vehicle arrived on U.S. soil through FAPS, Inc. in Port Newark, New Jersey. FAPS, Inc. (originally, Foreign Auto Preparation Services, Inc.) was the industry’s first full service automobile port processing company in North America. Since 1956 the company has provided port side automotive pre-delivery processing services.
Today FAPS, Inc. has the capacity to process over 600,000 vehicles annually and is widely regarded as the benchmark auto processing facility in North America. The FAPS, Inc terminal complex in Port Newark and Port Elizabeth, New Jersey covers 250 acres and 575,000 sq. ft. of under-roof processing facilities. Keeping their eye on the entire facility to ensure all that precious cargo is secure is Q2 Industrial Security.
Q2 Industrial Security provides surveillance solutions to critical infrastructure sites throughout the United States. The company recently developed a state-of-the-art security control room at the FAPS complex to monitor the facility.
The control room is designed to allow two security personnel, a surveillance specialist and a port watchman, to monitor more than 100 video streams from security cameras located throughout the FAPS facility. Security expert and president of Q2, Adam Conti designed the control room and oversaw every detail from the monitoring technology used to the color of the consoles.
Conti was a founding member of the United States Department of Homeland Security, where he was a highly decorated law enforcement officer assigned to the agency’s Special Operations Unit. He later served as a DHS senior officer in charge of design development and implementation of all covert surveillance and tracking technology for the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Technical Operations Branch.
In short, as a highly experienced security professional, Conti knew what he wanted in the FAPS control room to ensure the greatest possible level of security for the complex. To that end, the front wall of the control room is lined with five 46-inch and two 52-inch LCD monitors. Operators monitor the video streams on these monitors from a large security console on which seven additional 27-inch LCD monitors are mounted.
A major element of Conti’s design was the security console to be used in the control room. The console selected is an ergonomically designed Winsted Sight-Line console, which features clean lines, ample workspace and an innovative monitor mounting system.
The seven 27-inch LCDs are mounted on the console using Winsted’s Versa-Trak monitor array mounting system, which allows users to quickly and easily modify sightlines and monitor viewing angles based on personal needs.
“We selected a Sight-Line console, for it’s aesthetic design, compatibility with flat LCD panels, warranty, ample desktop workspace and cable management,” said Adam Conti. “I was pleased with the overall functionality of the console. My primary reason for selecting this console was the aesthetic appeal. Winsted had the right design and the right color offering I wanted; shark grey.”
All Sight-Line consoles come standard with Winsted’s exclusive TruForm work surface, and decorative end panels, both of which are available in a variety of colors and shapes including shark grey. Custom work surfaces and end panels are also available in laminated MDF or solid surfaces.
Lighting in the control room is kept low to allow operators to focus more easily on the monitors. Small task lights were included on the work surface of the consoles for when operators need more direct lighting.
The new control room at the FAPS facility is not only technologically advanced and ergonomically designed, it is impressive to look at. Conti and his team are pleased with the look and functionality of the control room and attribute much of the “wow factor” to Winsted’s Sight-Line console.
In addition to providing surveillance to FAPS, Q2 Industrial Security provides specialty services to federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. And, according to Conti, will be working with Winsted on some unique surveillance projects here and abroad in the future.
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Hart Electrical Cooperative
WINSTED’S CUSTOM DIVISION HELPS HART EMC DELIVER POWER TO RURAL GEORGIA
Nestled in the foothills of North Georgia, Hart Electric Membership Corporation (EMC) provides affordable, reliable energy to approximately 15,000 rural residents in Hart, Stephens, Franklin, Madison, Banks and Elbert counties.
Hart EMC was established in 1937, not long after President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the executive order that created the Rural Electrification Administration (REA). As one of the early rural electrical cooperatives, Hart EMC has a long-standing history of going above and beyond to provide its customers – the owners – with the highest level of service and reliability.
Nearly 75 years later, the cooperative still operates under the principle of working together to provide dependable energy solutions to rural areas. Recently, Hart EMC upgraded its control center – the backbone of the cooperative’s troubleshooting system, which deals with all system operations, including the monitoring of substations and handling of service calls and outages. A significant aspect of the upgrade was to replace the original control room console with a new one that would allow for three 21-inch monitors to be mounted vertically.
The previous console was bulky, designed for outdated technology and showed 20 years of wear. Hart EMC worked with Winsted’s Custom Division to design a new console for the control room. Because Winsted’s Custom Division is located in nearby Atlanta, Hart EMC staff was able to visit the site and see a variety of console concepts firsthand.
The cooperative chose Winsted to design the console because of the durability of the materials they use, the strength of the construction and the variety of monitor mounting options available. “When we visited and looked at the metal structures that Winsted offered, we liked the long-term viability of the metal construction,” said Edward Hoy, Supervisor of System Operations for Hart EMC.
Hart EMC selected a L-shaped Matrix EVO Custom Console design that would accommodate a third operator during large outages as well as allow for future expansion. Using their versatile Adapt-A-Track monitor mounting system Winsted provided a solution that enabled the unusual vertical monitor arrangement Hart EMC desired. “It is a little bit odd, if you’ve never seen anything like it before,” said Hoy. “But it worked out perfectly for what we wanted to do with the number of programs we needed to be able to tile vertically on the monitor screens.”
Throughout the design process Winsted was able to provide valuable insights to improve the console’s ergonomics. “Our original designs called for a 20-inch work surface with a slope to the cable management channels in the back,” said Hoy. “Winsted suspected correctly that this would impact the sight lines to our vertically mounted monitors.”
So the slope was eliminated and the console was designed with flat work surface. Specifically a durable Corian® work surface that would ensure many years of use with little or no apparent wear. According to Hoy, Winsted really made an effort to understand the environment and the goals from the start and continued to provide valuable feedback even after the design phase was complete. Open communication throughout the project helped to make the control room a success.
As an organization owned by the people it serves, Hart EMC values a high level of personal service and exceptional quality. “The work that Winsted does is superb, they do an excellent job with their custom products. It’s just far above and beyond anything else that we’ve seen,” said Hoy. “The welding they do on metal consoles like ours is excellent. The Corian work is high quality as well – stuff that I haven’t seen other companies do. As far as professionalism, design and the entire process, we enjoyed working with them.”
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FBI’S MINNEAPOLIS DIVISION SETS ITS SIGHTS ON THE FUTURE IN NEW FIELD OFFICE
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) operates 56 field offices in major metropolitan areas throughout the United Sates and Puerto Rico. The heart of the bureau’s investigative and intelligence operations are carried out in these field offices. Each field office is overseen by a special agent in charge and is staffed by special agents as well as a variety of specialized professionals such as intelligence and financial analysts, investigative specialists, support services technicians, language specialists, paralegals, electronics technicians, and security experts.
The Minneapolis field office oversees FBI operations in a geographic region that includes Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. The division’s specialized capabilities include evidence recovery and processing, computer forensics, bomb recovery and analysis, hazardous materials, translation, and victim assistance. Recently, the Minneapolis field office moved from its longtime location in downtown Minneapolis to a newly constructed, 8-½ acre complex in the northern suburb of Brooklyn Center.
The new three-building complex includes a five-story office building, a 200-car parking structure, and an annex for servicing the agency’s vehicle fleet. At 150,000 square feet, the complex more than doubles the space of the bureau’s previous headquarters.
The new Minneapolis field office is one of 35 new field offices the bureau initiated after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The construction of the stand-alone complex follows a trend of moving FBI and other federal law enforcement agencies out of multi-tenant buildings.
The state-of-the-art building incorporates all the safety and security features one would expect to find in such a crucial part of national security infrastructure, from blast-proof glass to closed circuit-television surveillance to Sensitive Compartmented Information Facilities (SCIF) to private conference areas with radio frequency shielding to prevent transmissions in or out.
A cornerstone of the new field office is a 24/7 operations center that serves as the nerve center for every investigation in which the Minneapolis division is involved. From communications to surveillance to intelligence gathering and analysis, agents working in the operations center perform all immediate need functions.
This represents a significant shift in standard practice for the Minneapolis field office. Previously, agents were trained for specific functions and depending on their roles did not work in close proximity to each other. The operations center in the new field office brings all ops center functions together in one room and every agent that staffs it is cross-trained to perform each of the necessary functions. “The new operations center will allow us to do all of these functions with fewer people, providing greater tax payer value,” said Rick Thornton, assistant special agent in charge.
Operations center agents utilize a range of information technology and communication tools to support investigations locally and nationally. The centerpiece of the operations center is a console that ties all of the technology agents use to collect, analyze and share intelligence gathered during investigations to the agents themselves, the people that work to protect the nation from a range of security threats and major crimes.
Because the operations center will be a focal point for high-level visitors to the Minneapolis field office, bureau staff didn’t want to sacrifice form for function when selecting a console. In this case, the FBI chose a console designed and manufactured by Winsted Corporation, a Minnesota company that specializes in ergonomic console solutions for demanding control room environments.
Radio, telecommunications, video surveillance and alarm monitoring come together in a single command center console designed to allow up to five operators to work simultaneously. Winsted’s Sight-Line Console in carbon/graphite provided a sleek, attractive solution that puts critical tools at agents’ fingertips. The console’s U-shaped design provides plenty of opportunity for agents to interact and collaborate.
CPUs and data storage are secured and hidden from view behind locking doors in the console base, but remain easily accessible to the bureau’s technicians for maintenance. Monitors and phone trays are mounted to the console using Winsted’s exclusive Versa-Trak monitor mounting system. This keeps equipment off of the durable TruForm work surface, leaving plenty of desktop workspace available for agents to complete paperwork or review documents.
Data and power connections are conveniently located at the back of the work surface for easy access. A large dual-cable raceway separates signal and power cords for enhanced protection and easier cable management. The switchboard for the Minneapolis field office is housed in a secondary Sight-Line console that is positioned within the “U” of the main console. This allows any agent working at the main console easy access to the switchboard as needed.
In addition to serving as the nerve center for all FBI investigations being conducted by the division, the operations center monitors security for the Minneapolis field office as well as dozens of remote locations in its jurisdiction.
While the operations center console represents a relatively small capital investment, it will provide significant gains in functionality and efficiency. Additionally, the modular design will allow the FBI to easily add equipment and workstations as the division grows.
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WINSTED CONSOLES TAKE TO THE SEA WITH BAKER HUGHES
Baker Hughes’ new Blue Tarpon™ vessel is one of the largest deepwater fracturing and stimulation vessels of its kind. The 300-foot ship improves completion efficiency by performing multiple well completions on a single voyage without docking to re-supply.
The Blue Tarpon is designed to provide high-rate, high-volume stimulation treatments for demanding offshore operations in the Gulf of Mexico. The vessel provides fracturing, sand management, acidizing and pressure pumping operations with three blenders, which offer maximum backup. All of these processes are monitored and regulated from a state-of-the-art Control Room onboard the vessel.
“The Control Room is the highlight of the vessel. It’s where the customer can observe their job,” said Mike DeRosso, senior engineering technologist. It is the nerve center of the vessel – where all of the ship’s mixing and pumping systems are managed. It’s also where data is acquired and analyzed to ensure that operations are flowing smoothly.
Baker Hughes worked with Winsted’s Custom Division, to design a one-of-a-kind console that was built to withstand the extreme weather conditions of the sea, would allow operators to do their jobs efficiently, and serve as a showcase for clients who routinely visit the vessel to check on the progress of their job.
“We wanted to make the best Control Room environment that we possibly could,” said DeRosso. “We needed high-quality furniture to tie our state-of-the-art Control Room together. That’s why we chose Winsted equipment.”
At the outset of the design process DeRosso looked at some of the standard, off-the-shelf technical furniture that Winsted offers but it was quickly determined that it would make more sense to design a Custom solution, that would be tailored to the unique size and shape of the room.
The installation includes three rows of consoles. In order to fit the compact dimensions of the vessel’s Control Room, the depth of the work surfaces on the front and middle consoles were shortened by eleven inches. The front console has 12 monitors that allow operators to view process instrumentation for directing pumping, blending and adding chemicals during completion operations.
The middle workstation is where the Baker Hughes supervisors and engineers acquire, process, record and display real-time pumping data, which can be viewed locally on the console’s seven monitors. The vessel also has the capability to transmit data remotely to shore.
The back console has four monitors where customers are able to observe the job. There are also 16 CCTV cameras installed throughout the vessel to monitor different areas, which customers can watch from the Control Room. A large work surface and task lighting enables the customers to read notes and complete documentation.
This workstation utilizes Winsted’s Adapt-a-Track horizontal track system inlaid into the work surface for mounting the monitors. It is a universal mount system that offers the same flexibility of a slat track system while improving the clients’ line of sight to additional monitors and giving the console a cleaner appearance. The track system allows clients to comfortably view the eight 52-inch monitors that are strategically placed around the Control Room, as well as giving a clear view of the Control Room windows.
The furniture bases are constructed of EIA 19-inch racks, which are sturdy enough to withstand the movement of the vessel and have the capacity for computers and other equipment to be mounted directly into the consoles.
Corian® work surfaces, were selected for the consoles. “We chose the Corian® countertop because we wanted something that would last a long time,” said DeRosso. “With the Corian® if we scratch it we can buff out the scratches and they clean easily. It is perfect.”
Winsted designers worked closely with the audio/visual company on the project to find a unique solution for mounting several Fostex® radio transmitters directly into the Corian® work surface. The Fostex units are recessed into the work surface at a slight an angle that makes the equipment easier for operators to access.
Many of the jobs the Blue Tarpon embarks on will take place at night. During these jobs the main lighting in the Control Room is turned off and blackout lighting is used. For this reason, task lighting was installed at each of the console workstations. In addition to consoles for the Control Room, Winsted’s Custom Division provided a table for the adjacent conference room using the same Corian® work surface that was used for the consoles.
“Working with Winsted to design the console was fun. You don’t say that very often,” said DeRosso of the project. “It turned out well and everyone was pleased with the result.”
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PREPARATION DELIVERS BIG PAYOFF FOR SECURITY AT HOLLYWOOD CASINO
Penn National Gaming’s new Hollywood Casino in Lawrenceburg, Indiana is the largest riverboat casino in the world. The entire casino – 3,200 electronic games, 88 table games, a World Poker Tour® poker room, as well as four restaurants on the property – is monitored by a $2 million surveillance system designed by Synectics.
The casino’s surveillance system is one of the most advanced in the world and includes 2,100 cameras, 420TB of RAID6 storage, new eSynx-16 PCI-e DVRs, a Pelco 9700 series matrix switch, integrated Micros point-of-sale software and Synectics’ Synergy™ video management software.
At the heart of the operation are the surveillance agents monitoring activity throughout the casino 24/7 from a world-class control room. Helping to bridge the gap between the state-of-the-art technology and the operators that control it is a series of Winsted Sight-Line consoles.
“It’s a big thing when we can take two systems, the digital system with LCD monitors and all the best that Synectics offered and put it with the best console Winsted offered,” said Mike Burnett, surveillance director for Hollywood Casino. “It was just a fantastic mesh to be able to integrate those two systems.”
Burnett and Lead Technician Chris Krabbe began planning the surveillance system and control room for the casino five years ago. The two were extremely thorough in their research and selection of solutions for every aspect of the surveillance system and control room.
During the planning phase, Burnett and Krabbe visited the control rooms of other casinos, attended trade shows and spent a lot of time researching consoles until they found a product that was going to be the best possible solution for their long-term needs.
Early on, plans for the control room included using VCRs and CRT monitors in a big square room. However, in just the few years between initial and final concepts for the system, mainstream surveillance technology made the shift from analog to digital. This changed everything from the room’s layout to the style of the console. After the decision was made to use flat panels rather than CRT monitors, Burnett and Krabbe opted for a curved wall with nine 60-inch monitors mounted on it.
“The Winsted Sight-Line series was chosen because we thought it would be a great look with our 60-inch plasma screens,” said Krabbe. “It is a great look. It’s also more workable in an ergonomic way to view the plasma screens we have mounted on the wall like a video wall.” While both Krabbe and Burnett agreed that aesthetics would be an important deciding factor when selecting a console for the company’s highest profile control room, each had their own requirements when it came to functionality.
Having been a surveillance operator himself for many years, it was important to Krabbe that they find an ergonomic solution that would be comfortable for the agents sitting at the station for 10-hour shifts. On the technical side, Burnett knew they needed a console that would provide outstanding cable management as well as allow for easy access to electronics inside the console.
“So when we looked at the different consoles that are out there, not just for aesthetic reasons but also for functionality, it was just a perfect console for us,” said Krabbe. The new control room at Hollywood Casino supports up to 11 surveillance employees at two Winsted Sight-Line consoles.
Surveillance agents sitting at the front line are the ones protecting the company’s assets. They’re doing the everyday surveillance monitoring work – monitoring the count processes, table games, slots and all cage transactions.
The front console consists of nine separate workstations for surveillance agents. Each workstation has three LCD monitors – two in the front and one on the left, which is mounted on an articulating monitor arm and holds a touch screen for a digital mapping system.
“The ability to pull the LCD screen in front of you when you need to touch which cameras you want without having to reach three or four feet is very nice,” said Krabbe. “And that was just one of the great things that this console enabled us to achieve.” The console was also customized with returns in between workstations that provide added desktop workspace as well as file storage underneath.
“When you’re dealing with surveillance agents, you’re not dealing with everybody coming in at 6’2”. You have some operators that are 5’ tall and some that are 6’3”, so to be able to sit down at this workstation and be able to do their job comfortably because it was designed correctly is fantastic,” said Krabbe. The back console consists of essentially two workstations for managers but allows enough workspace for two agents from the Indiana Gaming Commission, which operates onsite, to observe.
The managers are the ones overseeing all operations in the control room. They are the ones approving everything. They’re also the ones that evaluate players. The managers’ console is set up to allow unobstructed views of the monitor wall and the entire control room. Two 50-inch plasma mounts on the left and right side of the station for tracking and viewing old dubs.
“It’s one of the cleanest consoles. It gives us the cable management we need when we’re dealing with so much digital equipment. Every station has it’s own digital workstation, which means there are a lot of cables,” said Krabbe. “But when I walk out there I only see three cables and each one goes to an LCD and is threaded inside the monitor mounting post.”
Cable trays run within the consoles to hide the cables without restricting access. The consoles also have doors on the front and back and CPU shelves on the inside of the doors that allow Burnett and his team of technicians easy access to the electronics inside.
Anytime you’re building a system, you’re not building it to set on a console that’s going to last a year. A console is a significant investment that must be durable for years of use as well as flexible for future expansion.
A Dupont Corian® work surface was selected for the consoles for its long-term durability but also for aesthetics and flexibility down the road. As for today, the new Sight-Line consoles made for an easy transition for the surveillance agents and managers from previous systems to the new state-of-the-art surveillance system at Hollywood Casino. Krabbe reports that he doesn’t have any agents getting stiff necks anymore.
“This console turned out 100% better than we could have imagined, just due to the way it looks and how user-friendly it is for our agents,” said Burnett. “It paid doing a lot of homework from our side. We were very specific on what we wanted. Winsted was very specific on what they could offer,” adds Krabbe. “And when they put the two together we ended up with a great finished product.”A
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Mystic Lake Casino
MYSTIC LAKE SURVEILLANCE UPGRADE
When it became a federally recognized tribe, the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC) gained the right of self-determination and self-sufficiency. Most importantly, it gained the right to the dignity that comes with sovereignty. For that reason, SMSC bears a burden of responsibility when it comes to protecting the patrons at its casinos and the assets those gaming facilities bring to the tribe. That was the thinking behind SMSC’s recent renovation of the video surveillance and access control system serving its Mystic Lake Casino Hotel and Little Six Casino facilities in Prior Lake, Minn.
“Integrity is the lifeblood of a gaming facility such as ours,” says Scott Scepaniak, corporate compliance officer for the SMSC Gaming Enterprise, which oversees gaming operations at the two facilities. “If we expect our patrons to maintain confidence in our games, we need to maintain the highest possible standards. By protecting our customers and our owners — the tribal community — we protect our reputation and our future.”
On the side of security was community management that was receptive to do whatever it took to get the job done, regardless of cost. While the scope of the project ahead seemed daunting, advance planning proved to be a huge advantage when it came to challenges that arose during the installation. The end result marks a new era in how Mystic Lake protects its patrons and the reputation of SMSC.
Sovereignty puts more responsibility on security When the federal government formally recognized SMSC as an Indian tribe under federal reservation status in 1969, it marked the beginning of a new era. The Minnesota and Mississippi River Valleys had been home to the Dakota Indians for centuries, but it had been a history filled with conflicts and broken treaties.
In 1982, Tribal Chairman Norman Crooks brought Indian gaming to Minnesota with the opening of the Little Six High Stakes bingo parlor. After the passage of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA), Little Six expanded in 1988 with slot machines and black-jack, becoming Little Six Casino. Four years later, a second casino complex was opened roughly a mile down the road named Mystic Lake. The “Mdewakanton” portion of the tribal name translates to “Dwellers of Spirit Lake” or “Mystic Lake.” The facility has grown to include 4,250 slot machines,100 blackjack tables, 600 hotel rooms, five restaurants, a star-caliber showroom and the high-stakes bingo that gave the place its start.
Self-sufficiency was not easy and the tribe takes its sovereignty, and its security, seriously. What had started out as a state-of-the-art video security system when the facility was built was starting to show its age. Richard Thake, director of surveillance, and James Arsenault, surveillance technical supervisor, had long been tasked with running the day-to-day video surveillance operations. The two had been evaluating digital video systems since 1999 and saw first-hand the tremendous increases in video quality, reliability and operational features.
“Our surveillance control room needed to be relocated to make room for expansion of the employee dining area. With the added features that a digital system would provide, we felt we had a compelling story to take to the board of directors.” Thake explains.
The determination to invest the resources for a state-of-the-art digital system is consistent with the commitment and emphasis on regulatory compliance by the community and Gaming Enterprise. This is illustrated by the dedicated staffing of nearly 300 team members within the departments of surveillance, security and internal audit that are responsible for the operations that provide for the security of assets, game protection and the safety and welfare of patrons and team members.
In addition to the internal regulatory efforts, the community maintains an independent gaming commission with a staff of 30 regulators that oversees compliance with the regulations and minimum internal control standards that govern the operation of the two gaming properties.
The expanded scope of the work began to take shape. There would be two command centers — one for security and one for surveillance — but these would now function more like operation centers, tying in cameras from around the community. These included cameras from the three parking garages
One element of the system design that was not left to chance was the selection of the rack and console manufacturer: Minneapolis-based Winsted. The company was headquartered a few miles away from Mystic Lake and had been working with the facility since the first system was installed. Winsted had already worked with me to provide 3D renderings of the new control room, allowing Mystic Lake to see its control room and the final product before it was even built. “Winsted has always been part of our family, willing to change or enhance their products for our application,” explains Thake.
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Great River Energy
GREAT RIVER ENERGY UPGRADES CONSOLES TO IMPROVE ERGONOMICS
Great River Energy is a not-for-profit electric cooperative, which generates and transmits power for 28 member cooperatives throughout central and northern Minnesota. With a generating capacity of more than 1,100 megawatts, Coal Creek Station in Underwood, N.D. is the cooperative’s largest plant.
The plant operates two steam turbines fueled by lignite coal, which is supplied by nearby Falkirk Mine. Lignite is a softer coal that contains higher water content than other types of coal. Great River Energy uses a patented coal refining process called DryFining™, which utilizes waste heat from the plant to dry and refine the coal, making it cleaner and more efficient.
Recently, Great River Energy upgraded the consoles in the control room to improve ergonomics for operators monitoring plant operations as well as the DryFining process. The primary reason for the upgrade was to improve the operators’ sightlines to the top row of monitors in the control room. The existing consoles were provided by the control manufacturer and did not provide sufficient ergonomic considerations. In order to see the top monitors, operators were tilting their heads too far back and experiencing eyestrain from trying to focus on the information on the screens.
Great River Energy worked with Winsted Corporation to design and install new ergonomic consoles for the control room. In order to eliminate any need to drill holes in the floor or move wires or cabling, the new consoles needed to fit the existing footprint and floor penetrations.
Together, Winsted and Great River Energy created a design that includes three Sight-Line consoles, in a horseshoe formation. Two of the consoles are identical, sit back-to-back and each controls one of the two power generation units. The third is a slightly smaller console that controls the DryFining system.
“The control room upgrade was really a team effort between our operations, electrical and instrumentation, IT, safety and management staff and Winsted’s Custom Division, along with their installation team,” said Mark Baisch, control room operator at Coal Creek Station.
The two consoles controlling the power generators are laid out identically so that regardless of which unit an operator is controlling, the process is intuitive. For instance, the turbine generator control is always on left no matter which console you are facing. Each of these consoles has five monitors mounted to it plus the operator’s LAN network computer.
The third console is set up to run the coal dryer or DryFinding system. It’s a bit smaller than the other consoles and has only four monitors, but otherwise houses the same equipment. The reason for this is that the control system is operator-based, which means operators can run any of the controls from any of the three workstations depending on how they log in.
To improve sightlines and reduce physical stress to operators, the monitors on each of the consoles are mounted using Winsted’s unique Versa-Trak monitor mounting system. Versa-Trak is an integrated horizontal aluminum track system, which enables easy horizontal adjustment of post-mounted VESA brackets.
Versa-Trak also allows users to easily adjust viewing angles based on personal needs, making it an ideal solution for the Coal Creek Station control room. Now any operator working a typical 12-hour shift can adjust the monitors at whichever console they are sitting and achieve ergonomically correct sightlines, reducing strain to the neck, back and eyes. “The new consoles meet the operators’ needs,” said Baisch. “They solved the neck strain issues and improved the visibility of the top monitors.”
While the vast majority of the control system is digital and controlled via computer and monitored onscreen, there are a number of hard panel switches mounted to the console that must be visible and accessible at all times.
Additional console features included metal base cabinets and Corian® work surfaces, to reduce combustibles in the control room for safety and insurance reasons. Winsted also incorporated some unique slat panels that allowed file management systems for paperwork, books and a phone tray to be kept off the work surface.
The new console layout also took into consideration ADA requirements by creating a larger entry point into the console to allow enough space for a wheelchair or other assistive device to roll through.
In addition to ergonomic and ADA considerations, it was important that the new consoles be scalable to allow for future upgrades to the control room. The Versa-Trak mounting system supports a wide variety of monitor arrays. This will allow Great River Energy to eventually replace the existing 20-inch monitors (4:3 aspect ratio) with today’s more common 22-inch (16:9 aspect ratio) without having to make any alterations to the console.
From design to installation, the console upgrade in the control room at Coal Creek Station was a success. The installations were completed during plant outages, so disruption to plant operations was never a concern. The new consoles fit the footprint of the previous furniture. And, most importantly, the consoles provided vastly improved ergonomics for control room operators, enabling them to do their jobs more comfortably and with greater efficiency.
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WINSTED CONSOLES ADD WOW FACTOR TO G4S MONITORING & DATA CENTER
Not long ago the company launched a strategic initiative to bring both sides of the security business together to create a much more comprehensive solution for their customers. The result is a new state-of-the-art remote monitoring and data center that leverages new security technologies, such as virtual video guard tours and remote access control systems, to augment traditional guarding and central station monitoring.
According to Jerry Cordasco, Vice President of Operations for the G4S Monitoring and Data Center, this innovative facility and the services it offers address a paradigm shift in world of security. “One of the major keys in big corporate environments now is trying to reduce costs. But they don’t want to compromise security in the process,” said Cordasco. “So we felt that being able to build a facility that would be able to provide remote video monitoring services to our corporate customers around the world would have some real benefits.”
Based outside of Boston, the G4S Monitoring and Data Center is a 3,500 sq. ft. facility containing the industry’s most intelligent video and streaming audio over IP technology, which interfaces seamlessly with analytic software systems and manned security. At first glance, it may appear that consoles would be a rather insignificant aspect in the design of such a high-tech facility. But take another look and you’ll likely see what potential customers see, or rather what they don’t see.
When done well, consoles can turn a space from an overwhelming, incomprehensible collection of technology and operators into a logical, attractive and highly efficient command center. The well-designed console creates order out of chaos.
Cordasco knew that from a design standpoint one of the biggest elements in the room was going to be where the operators were actually going to be seated. The console would tie the whole control room together and its appearance needs to make a lasting impression on customers when they visit the facility.
“When I started the design phase, I really didn’t have any benchmarks or anything. I just sort of had this vision in my mind of something out of a NASA command center or Star Wars kind of thing,” said Cordasco. “I looked at a number of different central stations at different facilities and none of them had the look I had in mind. I needed an environment where my operators had plenty of space to work that looked very professional and high-tech.”
After wondering whether one could find such a thing at Staples or Office Depot, Cordasco re-discovered the Winsted Corporation at a trade show. “I really knew very little about Winsted at the time,” said Cordasco. “Most of what I knew was that they sort of made what I’d seen in the past – very traditional steel consoles you might see in an old guard room someplace.”
After visiting their booth at the show and seeing what Winsted has to offer today, Cordasco and the interior designer from his architectural firm began working with Winsted designers on a console solution. Winsted suggested their new Prestige Sight-Line series, which is both extremely functional and striking in appearance. Sight-Line consoles feature Winsted’s innovative Versa-Trak monitor mounting system, which allows users to easily modify sightlines and monitor viewing angles based on personal needs.
Prestige Sight-Line Consoles also come standard with Winsted’s exclusive TruForm work surface and decorative end panels, both of which are available in a variety of colors and shapes. “The design of Winsted’s Sight-Line consoles really lends itself not only to the look, but from a practical standpoint we were able to really hide all of the computers and wiring,” said Cordasco. “When you walk into the room you don’t see any extraneous stuff just hanging around.”
The G4S Monitoring and Data Center includes 20 workstations for operators, technical support personnel and an operations manager. Winsted’s Prestige Sight-Line consoles create an open environment with ample workspace, which allows operators to do their job but also interact with each other.
The console design and facility layout is flexible enough to allow changes to be made or workstations to be added as needs change. “Since we began full operation of the monitoring center we’ve had many, many high-profile customers come and visit the facility – from the FBI and US Air Marshals Office to Bank of America,” said Cordasco. “Every one of them has been absolutely amazed by the look of the control room. I attribute a significant portion of accomplishing what I wanted in terms of the wow factor to Winsted.”
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WINSTED CONSOLES HELP KEEP TRAFFIC FLOWING IN NEW ORLEANS
Commuters in New Orleans and surrounding areas are getting around a little easier these days thanks to a new state-of-the-art transportation management center. The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) recently completed the 29,120 square-foot New Orleans Regional Transportation Management Center (RTMC).
The center uses Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) technology and regional coordination to facilitate better communication among drivers, traffic operations staff, emergency response personnel and other agencies in order to maximize the efficient use of existing roadways in Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. John, St. Tammany and Tangipahoa parishes.
The RTMC employs DOTD traffic management staff to actively monitor real-time traffic information on roadway conditions and distribute this information to drivers and emergency response personnel by using a variety of ITS tools including roadside surveillance equipment such as traffic cameras and vehicle detectors, Dynamic Message Signs, Twitter and the 511 Traveler Information System.
As a result, drivers can avoid traffic congestion by planning alternative routes, and emergency response personnel–such as Motorist Assistance Patrol, police and firefighters–can decrease the response time to an incident and clear lanes of travel more quickly.
Operators staff the traffic management center 24/7 to monitor the interstates and dispatch Motor Assistance Patrols to incidents ranging from fender benders to stranded motorists. Operators actively monitor 150 real-time traffic cameras along the interstates circling Lake Pontchartrain.
DODT worked with Louisiana A/V firm Creative Presentations to help design and integrate the A/V systems that make this level of monitoring possible. Two significant elements in the design of the control room include a video wall and several command center consoles. The video wall at the front of the control room consists of twelve 67-inch Mitsubishi rear projection cubes. Winsted Sight-Line consoles were chosen for the operator workstations.
“We chose the Winsted consoles because of their reputation,” said Stephen Bohrer, integration manager for Creative Presentations. “They are very well known throughout the AV industry, especially when it comes to control room application-specific furniture.”
The RTMC control room is arranged with two rows of consoles. The front row consists of four workstations. The back row consists of two consoles with two workstations each. In 24/7 monitoring environments such as this, reducing operator fatigue and increasing efficiency is crucial to control room design.
Creative Presentations did some very specific sight line drawings to make sure that there was the least amount of fatigue on operators looking from their computer screen up to the video wall and back. So that had a lot to do with the placement of the consoles, the height of the video wall, the height of the monitors and the height of the consoles themselves.
“Winsted also provided the Ergonomic Chairs, which are extremely comfortable,” said Borher. Each individual monitoring station is equipped with a headphone system, which enables operators to listen to their own audio or whichever news station they want at any given time. Operators can watch up to eight news stations on the video wall at one time, but obviously you only want to listen to one.
Paul Hsu was the system engineer in charge of the project for DODT and was involved in the design, installation and integration of the new control room from the start. For him, one of the most challenging aspects of a project like this is making sure every piece of the puzzle falls into place in time to meet the deadline.
“I was very involved with all of the installations because I was there every day during construction,” said Hsu. “ All the A/V components, furniture and wiring were part of my responsibility.”
He goes on to say that at times there were at least 7-8 different contractors in the control room at one time, all doing their thing, trying to get to the deadline. It can be frustrating when a contractor arrives and can’t do their work because someone else is there working on another aspect of the installation.
“The guys from Winsted were very professional. They showed up and worked with us, coordinated with us and the other contractors in terms of what times they could get in and do their work,” said Hsu. “They would stay late to finish up what they needed to do and even worked during the weekend to make sure that the consoles were in place before the other installers needed to move in.”
“As far as the quality of the consoles, we’ve been using them for about a year now. They’re very tough and durable,” said Hsu. “Really, I don’t think we could have made a better choice.” Winsted Sight-Line consoles are designed to maximize operator comfort and productivity in 24/7 control room environment.
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CONNEXUS ENERGY DISCOVERS THE ERGONOMIC BENEFITS OF SIT/STAND CONSOLES
Connexus Energy is the largest electric distribution cooperative in Minnesota, serving about 126,000 members in a seven-county service territory north of the Twin Cities. Recently, the cooperative completed a significant upgrade to its systems operations control center that includes the necessary technology to support a new Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system designed to enhance communication with substations and improve response time to outages.
“The control center is really the nerve center of our company,” said Nick Loehlein, Connexus Energy Group Leader – System Operations. “From here our operators monitor and analyze the operating performance of the cooperative’s distribution system to ensure safe and reliable electric service.”
Designed in 1997, when the building was constructed, the original control room made use of CRT monitors. When these were replaced with flat panel monitors there was room for only three on each console, which was hardly enough to support the multiple software applications the operators monitor at any given time.
Major components in any control room are the consoles that tie the technology to the operators. When Connexus Energy began designing the new control room it quickly became clear that new consoles would be needed. The existing console was simply not flexible enough to accommodate the new technology. “There was not enough desk space and not enough space for monitors,” said Loehlein. “That’s why we needed to upgrade the console. We actually had flat panel monitors in the old holes for tube-type monitors.”
Some of the different operations that are performed and monitored at the workstations include: dispatching, trouble information, outage information, communication with line crews, answering customer calls, responding to alarms from various systems and monitoring both security and control systems. There are three console workstations in the new control center. At any given time one to three of them are manned. Each console is an identical copy of the next, which was a request from the system operators.
Previously, there may have been only one point of access for each system, which meant that the operators were having to move from workstation to workstation in order to address the demands of the system. For instance, if the phone that connects to the county dispatch centers rang and the operator that worked at that workstation was responding to a different alarm another operator would have to come over to answer the call.
Now every aspect of the control system can be accessed from any workstation and operators can move seamlessly between workstations if necessary. “It’s a much more efficient way to approach the control room setup that allows operators to easily collaborate and provide coordinated control of all the activities on the distribution system,” said Loehlein.
Connexus Energy engaged a designer within the organization to work with operators to design a console that met the unique requirements of this operations center. She created a U-shaped console design that would bring together all of the new technology and provide sufficient monitors at each workstation.
The preliminary design was then sent to several vendors with requests for bids. As always, cost was a consideration but in the end the decision came down to the need for fabricated furniture that would be both durable and flexible vs. cubicle-type furniture that was largely pieced together. “We really felt, on the advice of our designer, that the pieced together cubicle type furniture offered by other vendors would not be sufficient,” said Loehlein. “It wasn’t appropriate for a control room environment. It wouldn’t have the strength we needed to support all the systems, computers and, of course, 24/7 use.”
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City of Bloomington
CITY OF BLOOMINGTON IMPROVES ITS VIEW OF WATER TREATMENT OPERATIONS
The City of Bloomington, Minnesota covers 38 square miles in the heart of the Twin Cities and is home to more than 85,000 residents. Water service for this bustling metropolitan community, which also includes well-known businesses such as the Mall of America, Health Partners and Toro®, is provided by the Sam H. Hobbs Water Treatment Plant.
The original plant was built in 1973 and remodeled in 2002 to meet increased demand. Today, the plant has the capacity to produce 14 million gallons of water each day. The plant operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and is staffed around the clock by operators who monitor and control the inflow of water to the reservoirs and pumping into the distribution system by utilizing a state-of-the-art supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system.
The system allows plant operators to monitor and control the pumps and valves that control the water pipes supplying the reservoir as well. Every aspect of plant operations are monitored from a control room at the plant. From there, operators communicate with maintenance staff in the field that investigate and address any alarms or concerns.
Operators also test the water throughout the treatment process – as it enters the distribution systems and by taking samples from locations around the city. More than 85,000 tests are performed on the city’s water annually resulting in a water supply that consistently meets or exceeds all of the criteria established by federal and state regulations and guidelines.
Recently, the City upgraded the plant’s control room to improve functionality and enhance ergonomics for its operators. One challenge to be addressed was the relatively small size of the control room. At any given time, two to three operators staff the control room and the previous layout made it difficult for more than one operator to work comfortably at the console. “We needed a solution that would give us more room, but the footprint of the control room could not be altered,” said Scott Ketchmark, utility supervisor for the Sam H. Hobbs Water Treatment Plant.
The City chose an ergonomic control room console from the Winsted Corporation that provides enough workspace for several operators to work simultaneously. Winsed’s Insight Consoles provide flexible monitor display options, smart equipment and cable management, and easy access to data/power, making it possible to maximize the amount of workspace for operators. “When we started researching new consoles online, ergonomics and adjustability were our primary focus,” said Ketchmark. “The flexibility of the Winsted console design allowed us to mount more monitors to the console and put larger monitors on the wall without sacrificing operator comfort.”
Ketchmark and his team used Winsted Equipment Layout Software (WELS) to design the console to meet their specific needs. WELS is a standalone program that provides full 3D design capabilities, comprehensive parts lists, automatic dimensioning, the ability to create specification sheets, and can export AutoCAD DWG files for 2D and 3D application.
Ketchmark and the operators designed an L-shaped Insight console featuring two 30-inch and three 24-inch monitors, which operators use to monitor and analyze plant processes, flow rates and system alarms. Insight consoles feature Winsted’s Versa-Trak monitor support system, which offered the necessary adjustability for multiple operators. Monitor viewing angles and sightlines are easily optimized based on personal needs.
The upgrade also included a new data acquisition and retrieval tool (DART), which enabled the plant to eliminate volumes of paperwork and physical manuals that took up valuable space in the small control room by migrating everything to an easily accessible digital system. The CPUs for the SCADA and DART systems are stored in the base of the console, which made it possible to add more CPUs and still free up valuable space on the floor and desktop. Double-panel doors in the console base allow easy access to CPUs for maintenance.
The use of telephone trays and wireless mice and keyboards have reduced clutter and created more desktop workspace for operators. Data/power rails and a cable raceway that are built into the console have eliminated the mess of cables and wires that was problematic with the previous console solution. “In a 24/7 control room environment like ours, comfort and durability are major concerns,” said Ketchmark. “The Winsted console is very solidly built. We’re especially pleased with the durability of the work surface edges, which is an area where we’ve had issues with wear before.”
The City selected Winsted’s Comfort Edge™ with Marmoleum Work Surface, which features an extremely durable urethane edge molded to 1-1/8-inch medium density fiberboard. The UV resistant urethane will not change color or deteriorate over time.
The control room upgrade also included a second single-station Encompass II console in the control room is used by operators working on reporting and administrative tasks.
“Our operators are very pleased with the comfort and functionality of the new consoles,” said Ketchmark. “There is so much more room for them to work and viewing the monitors is much easier with the new console layout.”
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University of Virginia
WINSTED DESIGNS MODULAR CONSOLES TO AID IN RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
The control room is the central nervous system of the nuclear power plant. As aging plants in the United States face licensing renewal and the next generation of plants seek approval, more research and education is needed into new control room technology.
The shift from analog to digital controls will create significant changes in the way nuclear plants are operated. Most of the control rooms in the existing fleet of plants were built in the 1970s and are still using the same hard control panels, lights and dials of that era. The next generation of control rooms will be completely different, with flat panel monitors and digital instrumentation and control (I&C) systems.
While there are many simulator rooms for training on the existing fleet of control rooms, until recently, there has been no facility in this country to do research and product development for the next generation of nuclear control rooms.
The nonprofit Center for Advanced Engineering Research (CAER) and the University of Virginia, together with local industry partners and other universities, have created the Center of Safe and Secure Nuclear Energy (CSSNE) to research these emerging control room technologies and educate the next generation of control room operators.
At the center of the CSSNE is the Reconfigurable Main Control Room Simulator (RMCRS), a 2,700 square foot facility designed to be a reconfigurable control room researching the modernization of existing control rooms and the design of next-generation control rooms.
The configurable control room simulator will enable researchers to evaluate different concepts and ideas across a broad spectrum of reactor designs, ranging from small modular reactors to next generation reactors. Researchers will look at digital instrumentation and control systems, cyber security and human factors that go into the successful operation of a nuclear plant.
The RMCRS includes a number of features crucial to the configurability aspect of the control room simulator, including reconfigurable modular consoles. “The easy way to do it would have been to just put a bunch of computers up on tables,” said Bob Bailey, executive director of CAER. “But we wanted to create a room that would simulate not just the decisions operators would have to make, but what the room would look like in order to analyze the human factors aspect of control room operation.”
The control room console is where I&C systems and human operators come together in a human-machine interface. Digital technology makes it possible for operators to access controls through keyboard instead of standing at control boards, a significant shift in the way they work. Effective control room design considers both form and function to create workspaces that facilitate the complex interaction between operators, technology and the environment.
In order to study the interactions between the operators and the controls in a variety of control room settings, the consoles selected for the simulator needed to be flexible. CAER chose Winsted Corporation to be the manufacturer. “We wanted the ability to take the consoles apart and put them back together again in different configurations and still have them look like the real thing,” said Bailey. “Winsted was best able to meet our need for reconfigurability.”
The consoles are uniquely designed to be modules, which can be taken apart and put together again in different configurations. The consoles can be arranged for single or multiple operators in “W” shaped, “U” shaped, straight or various other configurations. Each console module can accept from one to five 24-inch monitors and features Winsted’s unique Versa-Trak monitor mounting system, which allows users to easily modify sightlines and monitor viewing angles based on individual needs.
Another requirement for the console design was that they conform to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) NUREG standard 0700 “Human-System Interface Design Review Guidelines.” Winsted Corporation had significant experience working with NUREG guidelines over the years and was able to provide CAER with consoles that were both reconfigurable and compliant with the standard.
When experiments begin in 2014, an observation room next to the simulator will enable researchers to watch experiments taking place in the RMCRS and collect data on human performance in the control room. Safety is a chief concern for nuclear power plants and a primary focus of control room design. Winsted Corporation’s ergonomic approach to the design of Modular Control Workstations and the various layouts of the RMCRS control room will aid researchers in achieving safety and performance objectives set for tomorrow’s nuclear power plant control rooms.
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DELTA AIRLINES UPGRADES GROUND CONTROL CENTER IN MINNEAPOLIS
Each year more than 30 million travelers pass through Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP). Most are there to fly Delta Air Lines, the airport’s largest carrier. On peak days, Delta has more than 400 departures to 120 nonstop destinations.
What all those passengers don’t see as they travel through the airport is the small army of people behind the scenes keeping everything on the ground running smoothly. The staff of the airline’s control center oversees every aspect of Delta’s ground operations. Control center staff coordinates communication with pilots, baggage handlers and gate agents within the terminal as well as the caterers, cleaners and maintenance personnel that service the planes on the tarmac.
Recently, Delta completed a $3.5 million renovation of the control center at MSP that included replacing outdated technology as well as installing all new control room furniture. The radios and computers in the original control room had passed their prime and the control room consoles had been designed to hold cumbersome CRT monitors.
In the air and on the ground, time is money for airlines of all sizes. The ability of control room operators to communicate quickly and easily with each other and workers on the ground helps keep flights running on schedule. Delta worked closely with integrators to design a new control room that would improve communication and increase efficiency. This included installing all new computers, monitors, intercoms and radio equipment.
A significant aspect of the control room renovation was the installation of ergonomically designed control room consoles to house the new equipment. Several factors complicated the selection of new consoles. First, the new console layout needed to fit the existing control room while also adding three workstations essentially within the same footprint. Second, the control room needed to remain operational throughout the renovation, so installation of the consoles had to take place in phases.
Delta chose Winsted Corporation to provide the control room consoles because the company was able to meet both these requirements and offered a feature-rich console design. The airline provided Winsted with an initial layout concept from which the console manufacturer designed a series of Winsted Sight-Line consoles to fit the existing footprint with the additional three workstations. Sight-Line consoles are ergonomically designed to provide operators with a comfortable, efficient workspace that is ideal for 24/7 control room environments such as Delta’s control center.
Operators in Delta’s control center are trained on all positions so they may work at the board confirming gates with incoming flights one day and may direct catering on the ground the next. The constant rotation helps keep operators alert and engaged, but makes the flexibility of each workstation imperative to accommodate the ergonomic needs of individual operators.
Sight-Line consoles feature Winsted’s Versa-Trak monitor mounting system, which makes it possible for operators to easily adjust viewing angles and sightlines for personal needs, regardless of which workstation they are staffing. The new control center has a total of 32 workstations, which allows enough space for all of the day-to-day operations as well as a few additional workspaces for seasonal needs such as deicing operations.
Each workstation is equipped with several monitors (the number varies depending on the function of the workstation), PCs, radio, telephone and intercom. “Our old consoles did not provide adequate accommodations for PCs and the wiring was a mess,” said Richard Benz, MSP Control Center Department Manager for Delta Airlines. “Now our operators have easy access to the PCs and Winsted’s cable management system keeps all the wiring organized and under control.”
Sight-Line consoles feature easy-access CPU storage in the base of the console and a dual cable raceway that keeps signal and power cords separate, organized and out of the way. Winsted also created custom shelves at each workstation to hold radio speakers for the control center’s communication system. Dividers between each workstation give operators a defined workspace and certain level of privacy to enhance concentration.
The architectural firm Burns & McDonnell handled the design and engineering of the new control center. Installation of the new consoles was completed by Winsted’s professional installation team. In order to make it possible for the control center to remain operational throughout the upgrade, the installation was completed in phases and largely overnight, between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. This minimized disruption to operators.
Further complicating the installation was the number of vendors that needed to complete different aspects of the integration. “The installation of the new equipment and consoles was our biggest concern going into this upgrade,” said Benz. “Every inch of the control center had to be redone without disrupting operations because the company didn’t want to incur the expense of building a temporary facility.” To accomplish this, equipment from several workstations was temporarily transferred to the three new workstations while work was completed in particular areas of the control center. Workstations were sort of leapfrogged around to keep operations running throughout the install.
“The installation went very smoothly, especially considering the sheer number of moving parts that had to be coordinated,” said Benz. “Now that it’s complete our operators are very pleased with the results.”
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Statue of Liberty
CREATIVE CONSOLE DESIGN OVERCOMES SPACE LIMITATIONS FOR STATUE OF LIBERTY COMMAND CENTER OVERHAUL.
After the devastation following Hurricane Sandy, visitors seeking to tour New York City’s iconic Statue of Liberty were forced to find alternative tourist destinations. In the aftermath of one of the country’s most deadliest and destructive hurricanes, Lady Liberty’s doors and all of Ellis Island were shuttered for more than eight months. The surveillance and security departments of the park experienced severe damage and underwent upgrades and repairs following the storm.
Maintained by the National Park Service, the monument’s command center helps the U.S. Park Police ensure visitor safety, manage traffic control and deploy resources as needed to help make sure everyone touring the statue has a positive, safe experience. As a result, redesigning the room layout was a vital consideration – and one that came with several challenges.
Because the original command center was located at ground level, the areas experienced immense water damage from the hurricane. The storm water was so high that the electrical systems for the statue – and Ellis Island – were completely destroyed.
“We ended up physically moving the command center to a new location in the park,” said Jordan Heilweil, CEO of Total Recall Corporation, the firm based in Suffern, New York that led the project. “We were working within very tight quarters and needed the room to be extremely functional, but not cramped or crowded.”
In order to maximize the available space, Total Recall and their team worked with Minnesota-based Winsted Corporation to design a comprehensive console system that allowed operators to work with ergonomically correct devices and functional workspace, while designing a piece of furniture constructed to withstand the test of time and 24/7 use.
“The room needed to have enough space so that the operators could function without feeling confined or restricted,” Heilweil said. “That’s why the console was designed to provide functional and personal space, and allowed operators to focus on both their desktop monitors and the video wall comfortably and effectively.”
Achieving this goal meant implementing a design that diverged from the traditional straight console and taking into consideration the space requirements of the two operators in the command center who would both utilize dual monitors as well as a large format video wall that can be reconfigured at the touch of a button. The answer was an angled console that maximized usable space.
“Making a console work in a room that was a snug fit was a challenge,” Heilweil said. “The end result, however, was a system that was set up so the operators could always have one hand driving the video wall and another hand free for communications.”
Part of the Prestige Series of consoles from Winsted, the compact Insight console is ergonomic, modular and adaptable, so the operators have the flexibility and adaptability to monitor viewing angles and sight lines as well as maintain a level of personal comfort.
Built with Winsted’s Versa-Trak mounting system, the console includes an integrated horizontal aluminum track configuration that supports the two monitors. The track itself enables the operators to make horizontal adjustments more easily and the post-mounted VESA brackets provide the ability to tilt and pivot the monitors.
As an added touch to the console, Winsted included a tribute to the project by placing a graphic at the end of the console that pictures the statue and the American flag alongside the park police logo.
“Winsted was a great partner and the graphic on the console was a nice addition to a job well done,” said Heilweil.
The new command center was moved to an undisclosed location at the monument to help ensure safety, and adjoins with an additional room for park officials to conduct related police work while protecting Lady Liberty’s tens of thousands of daily visitors.
“Whether the operators are documenting an unattended package or changing boat schedules, the goal was to make ensure visitors had a positive experience visiting the Statue of Liberty,” Heilweil said. “This console helps them keep those goals in mind.”
Total Recall and their team completed the project just in time for the National Parks Service to reopen the Statue of Liberty to the public on July 4, 2013. Since then, the monument has averaged 25,000 visitors per day. The entire project was a pro bono donation led by Total Recall that encompassed 10 different companies with varying specialties in the security and communications industry.
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Georgia System Operations
GEORGIA SYSTEM OPERATIONS CORPORATION TAKES CONTROL
Georgia System Operations Corporation (GSOC) controls and monitors electric generation, transmission and distribution assets for one of the largest electric cooperatives in North America. An independent system operations company, GSOC serves 39 of Georgia’s distribution electric membership corporations (EMCs), Oglethorpe Power Corporation (OPC) and Georgia Transmission Corporation (GTC).
GSOC is charged with monitoring thousands of miles of transmission line on behalf of GTC for both routine maintenance and outages due to severe weather. GSOC coordinates the switching and scheduling when a portion of the line needs to be removed from service for maintenance and helps restore electric service throughout the state when outages occur. On the power generation side, the company also monitors and controls several power plants for Oglethorpe Power, helping balance the load to meet the energy demand of its members.
Recently, GSOC upgraded its control centers as part of the company’s ongoing Smart Grid projects intended to modernize operations and provide greater situational awareness. The upgrade encompassed every aspect of the two control centers, from the carpet on the floor to the lights in the ceiling and everything in between. One of the primary needs for the upgrade included new control room consoles to house the equipment for a new energy control system.
Lloyd Snyder, manager of transmission operations for GSOC, served as project manager for the control center upgrade and was charged with finding the right consoles. “We looked at a number of consoles. This isn’t the first control center I’ve built, so I was familiar most products out there,” said Snyder. “Still, I flew around the country looking at different control centers that had either just been built or were under construction.”
Like many control rooms, the GSOC control centers are a showpiece for the company. It’s the destination for all sorts of visitors and dignitaries, so the consoles needed to make a good impression. “While the console is a showpiece, it also had to be functional, because we’re operating billions of dollars worth of equipment for our affiliated companies and keeping the lights on for cooperatives throughout Georgia,” said Snyder.
Ergonomics was a key requirement of the new console design. Operators sitting at the consoles work 12-hour shifts and some have up to 13 monitors in front of them. That’s just at their workstation and doesn’t include the array of wall-mounted monitors at the front of the control center – the largest of which is a 42’ x 12’ map board.
After considering numerous console options, GSOC ultimately chose Winsted’s Custom Division, for a variety of reasons. One of them was time. The new consoles had to be installed in a very short amount of time and needed to be completed prior to the upgrade of GSOC’s energy control system. Including design time, manufacturing and installation, Winsted was able to meet the strict deadline.
Another reason was location. Winsted’s Custom Division, is a mere 25 minutes away from GSOC, which made it possible for Snyder to go there and see the consoles throughout the manufacturing process. “We like dealing with local vendors, so the fact that Winstead was close made it ideal,” said Snyder. “But if they could have delivered it from Seattle in the timeframe they did, we still would have chosen Winsted.”
Snyder and his team looked at finished products Winsted had built in their own showroom as well as other control centers and liked the clean lines of the consoles. They were complementary with what GSOC had in mind for the modernization of their control centers. “We were trying to get away from old-style, cabinet-like consoles,” said Snyder. “Our previous consoles were made with CRT insets with glass fronts and they couldn’t hold the new flat panel monitors, so they had to go.”
According to Snyder, the new consoles were developed after significant work by Winsted’s design team and the architect for the project. They looked at the control center floor plan, how the existing consoles were laid out and how they could fit everything in and still meet ergonomic and ADA requirements. Because the consoles had to fit in an existing space, Winsted’s ability to do custom Corian work for the work surfaces was something that intrigued Snyder.
Perhaps more important, in terms of ergonomics and functionality, Winsted’s unique Adapt-A-Track monitor mounting system was a significant feature that put them on GSOC’s short list. The post mounting system uses an integrated horizontal aluminum track with easy horizontal adjustment, allowing greater versatility of monitor sizes.
Adapt-A-Track is mounted in a recess behind the console work surface, making it possible to mount the first monitor on the post significantly lower than other consoles. This improves sightlines to monitors mounted to the workstation, reducing eyestrain and neck fatigue, and makes it possible for operators to look over their own workstation to view the monitor wall and map board. “We had to have a way of getting the initial row of monitors low enough so that our operators could look over them and see the big map board,” said Snyder. “Winsted is the only console provider we saw that had that capability.”
With the help of Winsted’s Custom Division, GSOC now has two completely upgraded, ergonomically designed and showpiece-worthy control centers. There are five new workstations in the generation control center. In the transmission control center, there are two engineering consoles and four operating consoles – three of which were designed to be redundant and manned by two operators in the event of severe weather or other emergencies.
“Are we happy with the Winsted consoles? Yes,” said Snyder. “So much so that in the building of our new training center we installed Winsted consoles there, also.”
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WM SECURITY SERVICES OVERCOMES CHALLENGES WITH NEW CONSOLE SYSTEM
It’s no secret Waste Management is the leading provider of waste reduction, management, collection, disposal, recycling and renewable energy services. The company is North America’s largest environmental solutions provider, serving more than 20 million residential and commercial customers throughout the U.S. and Canada.
What may be less apparent, however, is that Waste Management is also one of the leading security and surveillance providers in the country. WM Security Services, Inc. (WMSSI), a wholly owned subsidiary of Waste Management, protects the assets of the multi-billion dollar, Fortune 200 company, while additionally offering commercial security and surveillance services to a variety of businesses.
The Waste Management security operations center (SOC), located in Houston, Texas, monitors the safety and security systems of customers across the country. The center also serves as an emergency response and crisis management office.
“We work around the clock, 365 days-a-year, and our staff is made up of highly trained, industry-certified security professionals,” said David Lee, manager for the SOC. “We monitor fire and burglar alarms at more than 2,000 Waste Management facilities, and the SOC additionally provides intelligent video monitoring and security tools to help companies manage risk, allowing them to focus more on maximizing their core business.”
When WMSSI outgrew their original monitoring space, the company moved the entire security operations center to a new location in downtown Houston. As part of the move, Lee and his team inherited a data center that was less than modern and in need of updated work spaces.
“The consoles and entire data center was really outdated,” Lee said. “Everything looked like it was from the 1980s and the consoles were curved, so they didn’t really fit into the new control room very well. Unfortunately, there wasn’t room in the budget for a redesigned command center at that time.”
When next year came around, WMSSI made sure there were funds for a complete remodel of the security operations center that included new consoles and command centers. Throughout the process, however, Lee and his team ran into a few challenges in remodeling the new space and finding consoles that would fit some of the room’s unique characteristics, including a unique truss system and misappropriated wiring.
“The room has an interesting truss system that is designed to tie together the creative function of the room,” Lee said. “We hang banners from the trusses, but they jut out from the wall a bit, so finding consoles that would work in this space proved to be challenging.”
Existing wiring in the room provided additional challenges for Lee and his team as well, as many of the power outlets were in less-than-ideal locations or simply non-existent. This forced the team to reposition operator stations throughout the room and making sure each piece of security monitoring system had access to the proper power source.
“The wiring wasn’t always located in the most convenient location,” he said. “And once we had all of the wires in place for operations, we needed to make sure the room looked professional and attractive to both staff and visitors.”
In order to solve the space and wiring challenges, Lee contacted his long-time partners at Winsted Corporation, a Minneapolis-based manufacturer of consoles and control room furniture. Together, they determined the best console solution that not only provided an answer to the trusses and the wiring challenges, but one that would additionally offer an environment for comfortable, efficient operations.
Lee and the WMSSI chose a control room product line from Winsted called Sight-Line. Working together, the team harnessed their creativity and determined the best way to install the console so that the furniture would complement the truss system, solve the wiring challenges and still perform at a high level of functionality and efficiency.
“Winsted was really creative in helping us select a console and coming up with creative ways to install the command center into the space, discretely hide the wires and still provide a functional, spacious and aesthetically appealing control room,” Lee said.
Creative design and unique installation helped solved the space challenges, and the console construction with exclusive design features provided an answer to the wire challenges.
“The imbedded power strips and openness of the console flooring made it much easier to create a plug-and-play environment, and the internal cable system hid the wires to maintain aesthetics and functionality,” Lee said.
As well as aesthetics and functionality, WMSSI considered the health and comfort of the security staff when selecting the right console. Pairing the Sight-Line control room console with Winsted’s Versa-Trak monitor support system, the entire configuration provides ergonomic, modular and adaptable features that give users flexibility. These features allow operators to adjust monitor angles and desk height based on personal needs for comfortable, efficient operations.
“Our operators often work 12-hour shifts, so we decided to try the adjustable raised desks so staff could take a break from either sitting or standing at any time,” Lee said. “We’re the first center in Houston to implement Winsted sit/stand consoles and it’s really a healthy benefit we can provide our employees.”
While functionality and operator health are two key benefits to the new control room furniture, Lee also said the SOC now serves as an impressionable showpiece for prospective customers and external businesses.
“The SOC is a big selling point for WMSSI,” Lee said. “Winsted really exceeded our expectations with their creative design thinking and coming up with a functional unique product. The entire setup really helps us show potential customers the level of sophisticated security and surveillance services we can provide.”
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CUSTOM CONSOLES GIVE CREATIVE FUNCTION TO SCOTTSDALE TMC
Scottsdale, Ariz. hosts numerous high-profile events throughout the year, including the renowned golf tournament, the Waste Management Open as well as the Barrett-Jackson Classic Car Auction and the Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show. The nearby city of Glendale will host the 2015 Super Bowl, which will be the third time the Phoenix area has hosted the NFL championship game.
For visitors, residents and local businesses, major events like these bring festivities, media attention and floods of people. For the Scottsdale Traffic Management Center (TMC), events such as these invite the potential for incredible traffic nightmares.
Managing traffic for a large metropolitan area comes with significant challenges, but when major worldwide events are thrown into the mix, even greater challenges naturally follow. In order to maintain efficient operations on a daily basis as well as during large-scale events, the Scottsdale TMC decided to build out an entirely new management center, complete with the most advanced technology and functional capabilities.
As the general contractor, integrator and installer for the project, CS Technologies worked with the Scottsdale TMC for several months determining precisely what features and technologies to include in the new center. Once work began, however, the team only had about 30 days to construct the management center space.
“Once we got started, we worked extremely fast,” said Marty Soulard ITS division manager at CS Technologies. “The City of Scottsdale hosts more outdoor events, spectator events and outdoor spectators than any other city in America. As we prepared for construction, the Waste Management Open was getting ready to happen, as well as the Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show.”
Starting from scratch in an entirely new area, the CS Technologies team faced space and size constraints in addition to the challenging fast-track schedule. The room design included a video wall combined with a series of desk-mounted monitor systems. Comfortably utilizing the monitors without obstructing the video wall proved to be a significant challenge.
“TMC staff needed to see the bottom of the lowest monitor on the video wall and there were a lot of concerns that employees wouldn’t be able to see over the tops of the desk-mounted monitors and consequently partially block the view of the lower video wall,” Soulard said. “We needed furniture that could comfortably fit in the space without obstructing sight lines.”
In order to provide a solution, CS Technologies chose the Envision line of consoles from Minnesota-based Winsted Corporation. Envison consoles offered a modular design with multiple mounting positions for optimal sight lines and ergonomically correct viewing angles.
“The monitors were mounted low enough without obstructing the view of the video wall, and yet comfortable enough for operators to utilize on a regular basis,” Soulard said. “The consoles also fit nicely in the space, so the room didn’t feel crowded.”
Along with the consoles, CS Technologies worked with Winsted to develop a conference table with monitor lifts and cable cubbies. Before even looking at the furniture, however, Soulard and his team had a few ideas of what they wanted in terms of design.
“We put together some rough sketches and designed what we thought the consoles should look like from an aerial perspective,” Soulard said. “We showed Winsted the drawings to communicate what we were trying to achieve and Winsted’s product line defined itself almost immediately based on what we were looking for.”
Throughout the entire process CS Technologies collaborated with both the Scottsdale TMC and Winsted to help ensure a functional workspace while keeping the project timeline on track. This collaboration brought unique solutions and positive end results.
“During the course of the project, the Scottsdale TMC gave us feedback and good ideas for productive features,” Soulard said. “And because they were able to test drive the systems on the workstations, we were able to collaborate and come up with exciting new features we could integrate into the system that we hadn’t even considered.”
One example of the creative, collaborative thinking resulted in a wire management system within the furniture. The legs of the furniture became wire-ways, enabling the team to maintain a clean, clutter-free work area. This was important because the workstations could be viewed from both the front and back of the consoles, and the Scottsdale TMC wanted to make sure the furniture looked presentable to both operators and visitors touring the facility.
“The wire management system was simple, yet effective, and there are two workstations spliced together by a common return,” Soulard said. “Both of these features are examples of thinking outside the box, identifying what needed to be done and coming up with a solution.”
Despite the short timeframe and space constraints, CS Technologies completed the job on time and with better-than-expected results. The City of Scottsdale can breathe just little easier facing upcoming events such as the Waste Management Open and the Super Bowl, knowing their city has traffic management under control with a sophisticated new center.
“It would be really easy to cast a bad shadow on your own city if you couldn’t handle traffic and parking well, especially during major events,” Soulard said. “Overall, the project went better than expected and the collaboration we had with the Scottsdale TMC and Winsted helped the entire project run smoothly.”
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MTBA Control Room
MASSACHUSETTS DOT UPGRADES MBTA CONTROL ROOM
There are plenty of variations on the aphorism, “That’s no way to run a railroad!” (The actual source quote is from a 1932 political cartoon in the humor magazine Ballyhoo and is, somewhat archaically, “Tch, tch! What a way to run a railroad!”) Nonetheless, the sentiment remains ubiquitous in urban transportation: There has to be a better way to manage what has become a massive logistical, control and security challenge as urban cores become more densely populated and rely more than ever on public transportation.
On the seventh floor of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) headquarters in Boston, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s Operations Control Center (MBTA OCC) thinks they’ve conquered that challenge. There, a combination of AV and IT technology and design has brought the newly renovated OCC to life, with a huge new videowall and much deeper integration between AV and IT systems designed to keep Greater Boston’s transportation hubs more secure and efficient.
The $6 million renovation of the agency’s existing control room, paid for through grant funding from the Department of Homeland Security, was prompted by a number of factors, including outdated display technologies and poor lighting. But its main drawback was an inability to display information and data from a wide array of sources, such as other state systems for transportation, security and other functions, in a coherent and quickly actionable manner.
“The existing systems didn’t give them the flexibility they needed to make decisions quickly and accurately based on the available data,” explained Jim Ferlino, one of the principals of Vistacom (vistacominc.com), the Allentown PA-based AV systems integrator who took on the project. The installation commenced over the summer on a 10-week compressed timeline after a 10-week demolition of the room’s old systems.
For instance, Ferlino said, the city’s transit system has more than 10,000 video cameras, but trying to bring up specific ones in a timely manner was cumbersome and could have led to minutes lost during an emergency, a caution not lost on the city in the wake of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings. “There were ways to get other types of data into the control room, like weather reports and traffic information, but not in a way that made sense, that could be used to make informed, comprehensive assessments of unfolding situations,” he explained.
Some of what the OCC needed was obvious, such as better imagery and improved workspace lighting. But before they could begin to plan out the upgrade, they had to understand the nature and dynamics of this particular control room culture, offered Dan Gundry, Vistacom’s Control Room Team specialist. “We had to take the time to understand MBTA’s particular concept of operations there, how they needed to share information with other stakeholders in the building and elsewhere, as well as how they took in information from other sources, and what their protocols were for making decisions and action. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to understand how they wanted the systems to operate.”
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Dominion Energy — Bear Garden
OPERATIONAL ERGONOMICS FOR DOMINION ENERGY
Headquartered in Richmond, VA, Dominion Energy is considered one of the county’s largest producers and transporters of energy. To help operate massive amounts of electric and gas generation, Dominion employs 16,200 people, helping power their communities.
Dominion’s Bear Garden Generating Station, a natural gas facility located in Buckingham County, VA, is responsible for powering 146,000 homes in the area. Within the station sets an operations room, where a team of operators and engineers work 12-hour shifts to ensure the station runs safely and effectively.
These strenuous shifts hinge on a sharp attention to detail. As such, the operations room at the station needed to reflect an environment where employees could safely and comfortably perform their duties.
“I had been pushing for an operations room console upgrade for a while,” said Jay Postak, PE, Bear Garden Generating Station. “Our primary objective was to provide a healthier environment for our operators.”
A Familiar Partner
When searching for a company to help create a more ergonomic environment for the Bear Garden operators, Postak didn’t have to look far. Having recently upgraded Dominion’s Clover Power Station control systems, Winsted came recommended by Postak’s manager, who told him to, “check these folks out.” The upgrade was about to begin.
Well off to a Good Start
After taking a look at Winsted, Postak hit the ground running with WELS Software. A Winsted exclusive, WELS Software allows users to digitally design 3D control rooms with Winsted consoles and furniture. With the software, Postak could begin to layout the custom console setup his operations room needed.
“It proved useful helping me get better use of the space we had,” said Postak. “With the room’s dimensions, we were able to re-adjust the console and present it to the operators for their feedback.”
Once the design was finalized, Postak engaged Winsted to find the right products for the layout. To maximize the control room space, a large “L” shape desk would be placed in the center of the room, allowing a central location for 24 display monitors. An operations supervisor station would oversee the activity of the main desk, and an engineer’s desk would be placed on the far end of the room to allow operators and engineers to work seamlessly in the space.
Postak referenced features of the Clover Power Station when deciding on the configuration of the space – highlighting ergonomics and comfort-ability.
“My main priority was making the space comfortable for the operators,” said Postak. “I learned the Clover station had inset monitors, which is a more natural display.”
With any Winsted project, success hinges on smooth installation. This particular project provided its own set of installation challenges. The amount of equipment being installed and the large “L” shaped desk would require a hands-on approach.
Winsted arrived to the site for the install. The “L” shaped main desk was delivered in three sections. To secure everything in place, Winsted super glued blocks onto the sections, also placing glue in the cracks between the sections – finally using c-clamps to anchor everything together.
Once the materials were dried, the installation team returned to remove the blocks and buffed the entire desk surface, rendering the desk as one continuous surface.
“I was thinking, what is this going to look like when it’s done?” said Postak. “In the end, you couldn’t tell. There was no seam.”
To ensure that Bear Garden’s budgetary requirements were met, Winsted worked to fulfill the product order, and installation in a matter of a couple months.
“I didn’t sign off on the final design drawings until middle of November,” said Postak. “They started construction and everything was onsite by the end of December.”
During the process, Winsted and Postak were able to quickly navigate a question regarding the desk height, leading to no loss in downtime.
“After all the effort I put into making sure the displays were below the operator sitting position, I didn’t add a desk height dimension,” said Postak. “I was actually able to visit Winsted onsite and they quickly addressed the issue. We quickly had all the 3D renderings done and got the desk height just the way I wanted.
Success in Bear Garden
With new ergonomic equipment lining the engineer and operation room at Bear Garden, Postak has a space where his team can comfortably thrive. Despite the large scale of the project and installation, creating this ergonomic environment became a smooth undertaking.
“It was really remarkable,” said Postak. “Winsted was very accommodating, and we have a great space as a result.”
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A NEW ROOM FOR A NEW ERA OF CLEAN ENERGY
RED-Rochester, LLC supplies the energy for the Eastman Business Park in Rochester, NY. Eastman Business Park is a 1,200-acre industrial campus with more than 16 million square feet of multi-scale manufacturing, distribution, lab and office space, interstate rail and highway access. Specifically Red Rochester, LLC provides the business park with energy through five new clean-burning natural gas-fired boilers, recently retiring all of the coal-fired operations in the park
Because of help from RED-Rochester, LLC, the park is now entirely coal-free for the first time in more than 127 years, and CO2 emissions have been reduced by 50 percent
RED-Rochester, LLC currently supplies 110 customers in the Eastman Business Park through a unique suite of 16 utility services. To help effectively and efficiently control the output of energy to the park, RED-Rochester, LLC turned to Winsted for a needed update to their control room.
“Our existing room was from the 60s, and the current furniture needed an upgrade,” said Ken Gerew, Senior Project Manager, RED-Rochester, LLC. “We also needed to consolidate everything in the same room.”
With consolidation and efficiency in mind, Winsted proceeded to retrofit the control room space with a series of Impulse Dual Sit/Stand consoles. The consoles provided an ergonomic update to the furniture, giving operators the freedom to easily adjust their desks to a sitting or standing position. The room layout was improved, having the consoles form a “U” shape around a conference table.
With improved furniture and layout, RED-Rochester, LLC’s new control room embodies the forward-thinking mindset of the energy provider. As RED-Rochester, LLC continues to make strides in clean energy. It will do so with a control room of operators working on state-of-the-art equipment to help the energy provider run as efficiently as possible.
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Eastern Shore Natural Gas
A NATURAL CONTROL ROOM SOLUTION FOR EASTERN SHORE
Eastern Shore Natural Gas has served the natural gas transportation needs of the Delmarva Peninsula for nearly 60 years. Located in Delaware’s capital city of Dover, Eastern Shore transports this domestic fuel source through approximately 490 miles of pipeline to 96 delivery point stations around the peninsula.
As part of Eastern Shore’s operation, a control room of operators and SCADA staff work tirelessly to help ensure this natural gas is transported in a safe, reliable, and responsible manner. The control room is staffed 24/7/365 and is subject to Federal Pipeline Safety Regulations enforced by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (“PHMSA”). The Gas Controllers remotely operate and monitor the pipeline system pressures and flows, respond to alarms, dispatch on-call personnel, remotely control up to 14 different compressors, and provide reporting to customers and other staff.
Recently, Eastern Shore began the process of moving to a larger campus which combined three different business units within the Chesapeake Utilities Corporation. Part of this expansion included a larger control room for employees. A space that would not only house the operators, but also the SCADA staff and Gas Control Manager was needed with room for team collaboration and to increase the display capabilities for monitoring the pipeline.
“It was a big change in every single area for us,” said Marianne Coker, Gas Control Manager for Eastern Shore Natural Gas. “Comfort and fatigue mitigation was critical. We wanted to ensure we were creating a space that would support a healthy lifestyle for the team while also creating efficiencies within our operations.”
Starting out, Coker was pretty particular about the layout she wanted for the new control room. Specific requirements for the space were formed after talking with her manager and receiving feedback from the team members.
Introduction to Winsted
When searching for a partner to help create this expanded control room space, Coker and her team quickly came upon Winsted and a specific element of their furniture.
“Their sit-and-stand consoles were very unique,” said Coker. “They were the first that we found that allowed our operators to raise and lower two different portions of the desk. This enabled the controller to configure their setup in a way that worked best for them and to change it as needed throughout the day to mitigate fatigue”
Winsted began rendering the room and Coker could quickly visualize what they were pulling together. Despite multiple requests coming in throughout the process, the Winsted team worked to keep everything seamless.
“They were really responsive while communicating with me,” said Coker. “That was really the best part of the relationship. Grace was accessible, responsive, and worked with us when we ran into a slight delay for delivery.”
This communication came into play as the team began to setup installation and delivery. With a slight delay in the building completion, Eastern Shore needed to push back their schedule two weeks. Despite the last-minute change, the team collaborated to hold the furniture at the freight location at no additional charge. What was almost a major obstacle became hardly a bump in the road.
Once the new Eastern Shore building was ready, it was time to move in. During delivery, a large concern from Eastern Shore was any potential furniture damage. However, the furniture was in good hands. Winsted worked closely with the delivery subcontractor to ensure every piece was delivered on time, and in mint condition.
“I was able to drive over and watch everything get taken off the truck,” said Coker. “They really knew what they were doing, so everything was set ahead of schedule.”
After a two-day install, Winsted invited Coker back to the control room to look at every piece of new furniture. To ensure everything would be wired correctly, Winsted met with additional members of the control room team. Previous customer experiences with the furniture were discussed, along with any necessary operating tips for Eastern Shore’s new control room equipment.
Comfort in the Control Room
Once the Eastern Shore Gas Control team moved into their new space, they were quick to notice the quality of their Winsted furniture.
“They simply love it,” said Coker. “They use the sit-and-stand feature everyday. They’re just thrilled to have that capability.”
In addition to the console furniture, Winsted also helped install new lockers into the space, allowing the control room staff to personalize their own space which was great for the team and the individual.
“The whole space just has a really nice flow,” said Coker. “If I ever need to design a control room again, I will definitely go back to Winsted.”
EASY ACCESS TO
HELPING AN INDUSTRY LEADER CREATE A SOLUTION IN SECURITY
VTI Security is one of the industry leaders in designing, installing and supporting a full range of advanced security technologies. Integrating with companies for nearly 40 years, VTI helps organizations in industries such as oil and gas, healthcare, utilities, transportation, education, industrial, financial services and more to form software and hardware solutions for their security.
One of VTI’s recent projects came with a unique challenge. A large, Midwest energy organization needed to update the control room for their security team while making room for a new group to use the workspace. The new space needed to house an enterprise resiliency department, in addition to a security team. This team would be responsible for incidents involving major catastrophes, natural disasters, executive travel and more.
Building a Longstanding Partnership with VTI Security
To face this challenge, VTI turned to a longstanding partner, Winsted. Collaborating for more than 20 years, Winsted has become a “go-to” company for VTI.
“We did look at other manufacturers at the client’s request, said Jerry Klapak, Senior Account Manager, VTI Security. “But after looking at other lines, we found that the cost, level of service and attention we received from Winsted wasn’t comparable.”
The consoles VTI needed to help their client replace were original Winsted furniture. The furniture had been in the space for more than 20 years.
“It really spoke to the longevity of the equipment,” said Klapak.
To create the right solution for this dual-use space, Winsted got to work right away, letting the needs of the client drive the solution.
“They took the time to set up several meetings in the beginning to find the right furniture for the space, said Klapak. “Once they understood what the needs were, they rolled that into a design that fit the physical space.
A Space for Everyone
VTI doubled the space for the shared area to 2,300 square feet. To create cohesiveness in the space, Winsted was able to customize furniture for the smaller enterprise resiliency department space. Although the furniture was different, it had the same look, feel and function as the primary security operation.
The new space includes eight Impulse Dual Sit/Stand Consoles split into three workstations – six for the security operations and two for the enterprise resiliency department. Each workstation features a clamshell credenza, designed and manufactured by Winsted. Winsted also retrofitted with space with 38 custom lockers for staff.
Creating Security Solutions – Building Trust
Partnering for more than two decades, VTI trusts the strengths and focus that Winsted brings their projects time and again.
“I truly feel that Winsted has our best interests in mind for both us as an integrator and our clients, said Klapak. “They use the voice of our clients’ needs to drive their solutions.”
Klapak also regards Winsted’s service after the sale, not just leading up to it.
“Their attention to detail and high focus before, during and after installation is key,” said Klapak. “It’s one thing to provide that level of service to get a sale, but after the sale the staff came out and made some adjustments to fine-tune and polish the installation.”
EASY ACCES TO
University of Toronto
WINSTED PARTNERS WITH UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO TO BUILD OPTICAL CONTROL ROOM FOR CAMPUS POLICE UNIT
This number can be particularly high for universities located in congested city landscapes, like the University of Toronto.
The University of Toronto is located in the downtown area of the city. Due to the location, the campus sees foot traffic from roughly 100,000 students and patrons each day. Ensuring the safety of its students is a tall order, and the responsibility falls on the university’s public safety unit, the campus police.
Ensuring student safety against a variety of threats is no easy task. Campus Police Service must be able to respond and react to a situation at a moment’s notice. To do so, it requires seamless communication over miles of campus space with tens of thousands of people. It’s simple – communication, whether it’s with each other, fellow students, faculty, local police or more, is the key to the job.
In 2013, Campus Police realized their communication center – which services the entire tri-campus university – was in need of a renovation to better serve and protect its students. But the space itself had its challenges.
Little Room to Work With
The University of Toronto Campus Police had very limited workspace, compounding an already challenging situation. Unfortunately, these space limitations can be common among universities. As student populations rise, space becomes a valuable commodity around campus.
“We knew we had space restrictions because everything needed to be housed in one central room, and that space is roughly 20’ x 40’,” said Alan Truong, Manager, Security Systems and Services of The University of Toronto Campus Police. “When we were looking at our renovation and development plan, we were trying to fit everything in terms of access control, 24/7 employee utilization along with all of the operational systems required.”
This 800-square foot space needed to include multiple desks, a video screen and a scalable computer monitor stand for the 80+ employees to use on an ongoing basis.
Campus Police began working with Minneapolis-based Winsted Corporation, a manufacturer of technical furniture and control room consoles. A worldwide leader in control room design, Winsted has installed control room consoles and furniture for universities, company world headquarters, national monuments, casinos and much more.
Working with a local architecture firm, the Campus Police engaged Winsted to partner with them and help meet the challenges of the small, but critical control space.
Limitation Meets Opportunity
Tasked with meeting the specific needs of Campus Police in a confined space, the Winsted team scouted the location to determine how best to maximize square footage.
“Although our space was limited, Winsted presented us with a variety of options that would have worked well for our needs,” said Truong.
Taking pride in the challenge, the Winsted team was able to offer the Police Service many different types of desk set ups, wood and stains, and more, all that fit within their space constraints.
The solution – Winsted’s Prestige Ascend Sit/Stand Consoles.
Campus Police was outfitted with a series of six Ascend consoles with custom millwork. The Ascend consoles include many features that lend themselves to critical control rooms, including Versa-Trak monitor mounting system, electric-lift legs, easy-access cable management and multiple-purpose doors.
The consoles offer three programmable height settings for versatility and comfort, allowing the desks to be adjusted to any height. This is a particularly helpful feature when multiple communications officers use the same space on any given day.
Within a few months the newly designed room was fully outfitted and operating smoothly.
From concepting to installation and beyond, Winsted ensured that it got this job right.
“They were with us since day one, which is great,” said Truong. “Communication was always open and their reps would follow up with everything we asked of them. They still follow up with us to make sure we have absolutely no problems.”
Functionality for Safety
In a very important room with limited space, every inch needed to be used to its fullest potential to achieve success.
The same could be said for the University of Toronto Campus Police. When optimized to its full efficiency, something that may look small to the outside perspective has the opportunity to achieve great things.
“I’ve had a very professional experience and am very satisfied with the overall dealings with Winsted, throughout the entire process and follow-up,” said Truong. “In fact, a few people from different agencies have come to see our set-up and layout, we’re very happy with it.”
A team of 80 tasked with keeping the safety of 100,000 on a daily basis. This is the job of the University of Toronto Campus Police. For Winsted, helping them with the opportunity to improve their job through layout of their control room was a task not taken lightly.
*Source: National Center for Education Statistics – https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=804