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Dental Laboratory Improves Efficiency Today
While Preparing for Tomorrow's Technology


Company
Peebles Prosthetics, Lakewood, CO. A full-service dental laboratory nestled into the foothills of the Rocky Mountains and providing customized craftsmanship since 1984.

Problem
After years of growth in a non-optimal office space, employees had to contend with inefficient floor plans and layouts that created bottlenecks and traffic jams. With a new, 20,000 square-foot building to accommodate his growing business, Richard Peebles now needed to design a new space that would maximize efficiency and comfort for his team of technicians.

Objective
Create a flexible, efficient, ergonomic and expandable work space for a growing, full-service dental laboratory with extremely specific technical requirements.

Solution
The solution was to use modular, adjustable and movable furniture that allowed Peebles to group workstations by function and could "grow" with the business. He chose the Arlink® Modular Workstation System, manufactured by Lista International Corporation, a Stanley Black and Decker company.

After spotting them at a dental trade show a few years ago, Peebles was attracted to Arlink's ergonomic design, which would suit all his technicians, whatever their size. He also liked the fact that the Arlink system can be configured in a variety of heights and lengths to best suit the different processes performed at the lab. The product had the design features he was looking for, including a clean front, no exposed handles for ease of cleaning, minimal dust-collecting ledges, and a good selection of colors.

Best of all, the modular workstations offered the flexibility Peebles was looking for to accommodate changing or future needs. Both sides of the bench's supporting columns can be used in combination with corner work surfaces to form L, T, U and X arrangements. Workstations can be arranged back-to-back for even greater flexibility. The Arlink system is also available on casters to create mobile workstations or case pan carts. This type of flexibility might come in handy if the lab were ever to move to more of a linear step style production, something that Peebles considers might be necessary in the future.

Benefits
The streamlined and efficient new workspaces are easy to use, easy to adjust, easy to keep clean and easy to modify as changing requirements emerge for this busy dental lab. The new configuration has allowed Peebles to increase the number of technician workstations from 22 to 55, and the increased efficiencies have enabled each technician to increase their work output as well.

Easy reconfiguration and tool-free repositioning of accessories was also important in Peebles' view. Now the lab can reconfigure the height of the bench tops, reconfigure the accessories, and reposition benches with very little labor. The easy-to-handle product also allows them to reposition hoses, air lines, and drawers. They can also change the height and angle of the shelves and lights to meet an individual technician's needs.

"There are a lot of unknowns and we don't know for sure where the industry is going. The last eight years have brought tremendous change in the field, with the onset of CAD/CAM, mill dental appliances, and even the use of 3-D printing technology. While we expect to remain a hands-on industry, we also have to be prepared for digitization. If new technology comes along, we will still be able to rearrange or modify the basic layout of the lab without too much effort." - Richard Peebles

There is no cookie-cutter design approach in the dental laboratory market; customized planning is necessary to be able to integrate the benches and cabinets with utilities and plumbing and to accommodate the workflow unique to each lab. The Peebles project had to incorporate the sophisticated air handling and ventilation systems that were installed to ensure that the environment was as clean as possible.

"Kudos are due to Lista's sales rep Jeff Skibba, who was always there when we needed him, answering questions, and checking drawings. He was invaluable in getting things done and did a tremendous amount of coordination with other contractors on the job site and the general contractor. Lista had the versatility we needed, the ability to adapt to changes that made the products work best for us, and provided the service we needed to get the job done." - Richard Peebles

"The Arlink line is a great product, which will last [Peebles] quite a while. The lab is extremely organized, and there are places to put everything, which helps with cleanliness." - Ann Quinn, A W Dunn & Co, Architects

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