In addition to serving as an important workspace, today’s fiber optic testing labs often host visitors like potential customers or technology partners for demonstrations. As a result, the appearance of the lab is important and can influence a visitor’s perception of the company. A crowded or disorganized lab is not only challenging for engineers to use, but it can also result in a negative impression or leave questions in one’s mind: If things are this disorganized, can I trust the results I’m seeing? Are projects completely efficient? This is especially the case if a visitor was recently at a competitor’s lab that spared no expense in terms of making an effort to maintain a top-notch lab space.
Although no two labs are the same, any company or team can follow a few essential tips to make its fiber optic testing lab more efficient while improving its appearance. Making a conscious effort to improve or maintain a great test lab space enables a company to showcase its expertise in the most positive light.
Tips for Designing and Maintaining a Test Lab That Turns Heads
Install Bright Overhead Lighting
Like most office and building environments, proper lighting in a laboratory increases productivity while helping individuals in the lab complete their jobs more effectively.
According to New York's Lighting Research Center, a naturally-lit environment goes a long way in maintaining productivity and comfort in a lab setting. Further, proper lighting provides essential mental and visual stimulation for those spending time there regularly. A workspace with proper lighting also makes physical hazards more identifiable with a smaller risk of accidents that can occur in poorly-lit spaces. Lastly, when giving demonstrations, training others, or showcasing technology equipment, a well-lit and clean laboratory improves the overall experience for the visitor.
Embrace Organization and Open Space
Since test laboratories are utilized for R&D, certification, and demonstrations that require various devices and tools, over time they can become crowded with equipment and documentation, resulting in a workspace that feels like it's getting smaller with each passing year. To reverse course and maintain efficiency, spending time periodically to review what is in the lab can be helpful. Maybe it results in reorganizing, finding a new home for gear, or eliminating outdated or duplicated equipment that is no longer useful - all of which can result in more open space and efficiency. Additionally, the extra open space may be necessary for supporting future testing objectives or initiatives.
Consider More Ways to Enhance the Lab Space
In addition to more efficient workstations, shelving, and storage options for fiber optic tools and devices, it is also helpful to evaluate other ways of improving the look and capabilities of the lab. For example, many fiber optic testing labs utilize spools of optical fiber for network simulation and latency testing when developing or certifying devices. These spools, which come in varying sizes from fiber manufacturers, take up significant physical space and can become a challenge to use and manage especially as the number grows while also becoming an eyesore. To avoid this, working with a company that offers more efficient optical fiber packaging solutions for a lab space can result in multiple, immediate benefits that include space savings and a more professional, organized look. As a result, that aspect of the lab will provide visitors with a better impression, while continuously adding value to the daily teamwork experience.
Example A: Inefficient Optical Fiber Spool Setup in a Lab Space
(Pictured: Unidentifiable, hard-to-reach factory fiber spools)
Example B: Efficient Use of Optical Fiber Spools in a Lab Space
(Pictured: M2 Optics Fiber Lab 3200R rack-mount chassis)
Periodically Review Lab Equipment, Setup Efficiency, and Aesthetics
Ideally, it helps to have a thorough and complete list of all equipment used or stored in the lab, which can be reviewed periodically. Not only does it help to ensure the team has all of the tools necessary to accomplish testing tasks and initiatives, but it’s also useful to review when budgeting for future needs, deciding which items should stay or be retired, and so on. Keeping it top-of-mind that the test lab may have visitors including customers or senior executives, setup efficiency and aesthetics then also become something that is regularly considered when acquiring new equipment or reconfiguring the lab space.
Start Improving the Test Lab Today
The most positive aspect of improving test lab efficiency and aesthetics for visitors is that it doesn’t necessarily require a significant amount of time or capital expenditure. Simply recognizing that the test lab can benefit both the team and the company by making a great impression on visitors is a positive start, which will then drive a focused effort on making the most of the space. Successful companies with fiber optic testing labs that host visitors have a lot in common - they invest and take pride in maintaining a highly efficient space with the most up-to-date gear and professional look in an effort to set themselves apart from the rest.
As a company that helps fiber optic testing and training labs improve the way they use and manage optical fibers for field network and latency simulation applications, the M2 Optics team has visited many labs over the years and received a lot of feedback from engineering teams on this topic. Whether it’s helping an organization to better organize existing spools of optical fiber that are becoming a hassle or determining the most efficient, customized approach for acquiring and deploying new fiber, M2 is a partner that you can rely on for maximizing the value of your test fiber.
Contact M2 today to learn more about best practices for acquiring, managing, and maintaining optical fiber spools for test lab applications.