If you are unaware of what shadow boards are for, then you haven’t looked closely enough at our website! As a seasoned pro when it comes to continuous improvement, at Lean 5S Products we definitely know our way around a shadow board.
For those of you who want to know more, shadow boards have multiple purposes, and not necessarily just for hanging your tools from. They are there to encourage a more organised workplace, which in turn makes the working environment safer for everyone else, resulting in less stress and more productivity.
However, more often than not, tools are the focus for shadow boards and the systems used are fundamental to ensure safe and correct fixing to the board.
The items secured to the shadow board need to be done so in a reliable way so that they won’t damage or compromise the quality of the products. When it comes to holding items on our customer’s shadow boards, our choices will depend on specific criteria and requirements. Some of the most typical are discussed below.
Cleaning station shadow boards
When it comes to items with handles such as brooms, dustpans, and squeegees, at Lean 5S Products, we use tool clips. The standard style is a simple, yet effective push and grip system.
Standoffs for corners are a helpful addition to a shadow board, as these allow any bolts to go through the back, while also being easier to use for cleaning routines in food environments. For food grade environments, we use all plastic versions to comply with regulations.
Tool shadow boards
When a shadow board requires fixings for tools such as spanners, screwdrivers, or pliers, we will use a combination of hooks, bolts, and terry clips.
Since one of the main purposes of a shadow board is to reduce the time wasted by looking and searching for tools, the tool fixing MUST be easy to use. If the tool is awkward and clunky, the operators will not be getting the full benefits from the shadow board and will only end up feeling frustrated.
Some tool shadow boards may require specialist magnetic fixings. At Lean 5S, we use highly magnetic neodymium fixings when the tool shadow boards cannot be drilled in place, such as on the side of CNC machines, or cleaning room environments.
We also see unusual or unique items that require custom tool holding solutions. For instance, hoover parts require custom fixings to hold the tools securely and robustly in place. In this case, stainless steel offers strength and a fantastic finish, and can be used to provide shelves or shoulder fixings.
What to consider when mounting tools
There isn’t necessarily a “one size fits all” solution when it comes to mounting tools. There are various factors that we need to consider first:
- How is the weight distributed? Does the weight hang at one end of the item? If so, the fixing will need to compensate for this. A combination of bolts can “cradle” most items, evenly distributing the weight across the item.
- What environment is the shadow board being placed in? If it is being used outside, then robust galvanised fixings should be applied to prevent corrosion caused by the elements. If it is a food grade environment, then it is important to use all plastic tool clips, stainless steel hooks or shelving.
- Simple and easy to use solutions will last longer than complicated or awkward clips. Since operators will be using the shadow boards more than anyone, they need to be consulted so that their opinion can be taken into consideration.
- Other tool fixing solutions, such as magnetic fixings or box shelving for environments where they are necessary.
- For heavier tool shadow boards, we must use a robust frame so that the items are held in place. The shadow board can then be mounted over the top of the frame, ensuring the weight of the items is taken up by the frame and not the slimmer, weaker shadow board material.