Friday, May 11, 2012

Traffic flow problems or, get the $#$#$ out of my way!

The siting of instruments and balances in a laboratory are extraordinarily fraught things. Once instruments have been placed, the status quo bias is quite strong and you're locking people into certain traffic flows within a small space.
Culver's, south Prairie City, USA.
(the one on the main drag)

Of course, it's not as if the architecture of the room or building itself doesn't set up these patterns. Behold the image to my right, which is the floor plan of what was the local version of my favorite chain hamburger joint of all time, Culver's. For some reason, a standard Culver's floor plan has this ridiculous room that attempts to cram the soft drink fountain, the ketchup/mustard and napkins in a tiny narrow space. In addition, there was only one place to get the lids for cups (left side of the fountain). You can imagine all the traffic snarls as a bunch of Midwesterners tried to (very, very politely) navigate their way through getting condiments, napkins and drinks in a 10 foot by 4 foot space.

In a typical synthetic organic chemistry laboratory, the siting of group equipment probably can generate the same problem. Rotovaps, vacuum pumps, common consumables, solvents and balances (and hoods!) will all generate easy traffic flow or ridiculous snarls where awkward people will have to dance awkwardly with people.

After you, no, after you, no, I insist, after you. MOVE OUT OF THE WAY &^*&*&*%%$%%%!

Sigh. Have a good weekend!

10 comments:

  1. Did you use Chemdraw for that diagram?

    ReplyDelete
  2. @CJ: Speaking of Culver's, which do you like better, the crinkle-cut fries or the cheese curds?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love cheese, but I find cheese curds not so yummy. The crinkle-cut fries, however, are really very good.

      The Butterburger, imho, is the best fast-food burger available.

      Delete
  3. Every Culver's I've ever been to has the same layout. I tend to use the drive up or go off-peak for that reason. Their root beer is good, too, imho.

    ReplyDelete
  4. CJ, you didn't get hooked on In-and-Out when you were in SoCal? I do agree that the Butterbugers are yummy.

    Back to the topic of crappy lab design/equipment layout, a habitual problem back in grad school was placement of microbalances next to doors, under A/C vents, on lopsided tables, and other inconvenient locations. Even worse, our desks were 30 ft away from the main hallway doors, separated by fume hoods and benchtops...so much for safety!

    Anyway, have a nice weekend, too. I look forward to your Monday post(s) :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Grrr...microbalance location. Often times, I have to ask my coworkers to STOP moving, just so I can weigh out my starting material...

      Delete
  5. Sounds like a six sigma spaghetti diagram and some 5S is called for :-)

    ReplyDelete
  6. I also went to grad school in the Midwest - I used to wish I had an electric cattle prod whenever I had to deal with slow-moving Champaign townies! The only thing that motivated them to move fast was if someone with out-of-state plates parked illegally!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I had such a problem with our microbalance...turned out one of the problems was a desk fan on the other side of the room

    ReplyDelete