Buying a new workstation for your mission-critical operations center can feel more complicated than buying a new car. With so many features and options available, each with its claims as the “best choice,” it’s easy to get “analysis paralysis.”
Should you choose straight desks or curved? Monitor arms or arrays? And what about the surface materials for your console desktop? Which material is going to provide the most durable, comfortable and attractive desktop?
3D Laminate vs. Traditional Laminate
If you’re shopping for new workstations for your PSAP, PACS or command center, you’ve likely seen a bevy of options for desktop surfaces, from wood and veneer to laminate and 3D laminate. Laminates are popular due to new manufacturing techniques that provide greater options for comfort, durability and aesthetic appeal.
So, what is the difference between 3D laminate and traditional laminate surfaces? Which is the right choice for your mission-critical operations?
Here we separate fact from fiction:
The definition of laminate is "a man-made decorative material that is applied to the surface of a substrate." Traditional lamination, aka HPL (high-pressure lamination), is a process by which a thin sheet of laminate is glued to the top of an MDF (medium-density fiberboard) panel. Melamine is typically glued to the bottom of the panel to protect the wood, and PVC plastic strips are then glued down to all four edge surfaces.
The rigidity of laminate sheets creates a rectangular product with squared-off desk edges that can cause arm and wrist discomfort to the user. Further, the plastic strip "edge-banding" is a challenge to cleanliness, durability and aesthetic appeal. The seams can provide an "incubator" for dangerous bacteria, and areas with exposed glue can be weakened by harsh cleaning products.
3D laminate is a film that wraps around an MDF plank vs. layering on top of it. As the laminate wraps around corners and through grommet holes it conforms perfectly to the customized shape of the wood. The result is a desktop with rounded corners and gently angled desk edges. These angled (beveled) edges add to user comfort and help decrease repetitive motion injuries by providing a resting place for wrists and forearms.
In addition to its ergonomic superiority, 3D laminate is:
- More visually attractive, with no plastic strip edges that can come unglued over time
- Smooth and visually appealing (looks most like solid hardwood)
- More affordable than traditional laminate. No edge banding process = lower cost
- Hygienic and easy-to-clean, due to seamless front edges that protect desks from water, bacteria and mold
Have questions about choosing the right workstations for your mission-critical operations center? Contact us today!