It’s not unusual for a prospective customer to ask me if our control room consoles are made of metal and when I reply that they’re not, the conversation either ends, or I have the opportunity to discuss the differences. That said, the type of material shouldn’t be the deciding factor when evaluating control room furniture regardless of the application. I’ve been in the business for many years and sold hundreds of control room consoles and know that the type of material has little to do with product superiority; failings go more to poor design, accessibility, ergonomics and the absence of features that make the user’s job easier and more productive. However, let’s discuss the difference in materials and you can decide what’s important to you.
I should start by saying the perceived strength and durability of metal is a fallacy. But you ask how that can be? Isn’t metal stronger than wood? Maybe…it depends. Doesn’t metal bend or dent? Doesn’t it scratch? Isn’t it subject to corrosion? Doesn’t control room furniture made of metal sometimes have to be grounded? Well, I can say for sure that none of these apply to a quality wood/laminate product. And then there is the absence of customization that comes with a metal product. Metal is a prefabricated product and can’t be made-to-order except at great expense. It’s basically a catalog product with prefabricated components and skeletal interior that creates cubby holes that make equipment installation and service difficult. However, if your budget is minimal and console specifications basic, then a metal product will probably do the job. But then what about the many parts large and small that go into a metal product? Many metal consoles require a factory installer even for one console. Wouldn’t it be better to have a wood based product that can be made to specification and shipped assembled, or in modules so that the owner can finish assembly and save money?
I suppose that I could go on about other things like pricing and the additional costs that go with having a reseller in the middle, however I will simply say that when it comes to quality and the ability to “build it your way” that’s where value enters the picture. In conclusion, the appropriate product for your application depends on your preferences and ultimately your budget. However, take the time to look around and don’t take the opinion of any one manufacturer, or reseller. Control room console products are many and varied. If you need more information, request a needs assessment, or contact me by phone or email and we’ll discuss the options.