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Nestled in the foothills of North Georgia, Hart Electric Membership Corporation (EMC) provides affordable, reliable energy to approximately 15,000 rural residents in Hart, Stephens, Franklin, Madison, Banks and Elbert counties.

Hart EMC was established in 1937, not long after President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the executive order that created the Rural Electrification Administration (REA). As one of the early rural electrical cooperatives, Hart EMC has a long-standing history of going above and beyond to provide its customers – the owners – with the highest level of service and reliability.

Nearly 75 years later, the cooperative still operates under the principle of working together to provide dependable energy solutions to rural areas. Recently, Hart EMC upgraded its control center – the backbone of the cooperative’s troubleshooting system, which deals with all system operations, including the monitoring of substations and handling of service calls and outages. A significant aspect of the upgrade was to replace the original control room console with a new one that would allow for three 21-inch monitors to be mounted vertically.

The previous console was bulky, designed for outdated technology and showed 20 years of wear. Hart EMC worked with Winsted's Custom Division to design a new console for the control room. Because Winsted's Custom Division is located in nearby Atlanta, Hart EMC staff was able to visit the site and see a variety of console concepts firsthand.

The cooperative chose Winsted to design the console because of the durability of the materials they use, the strength of the construction and the variety of monitor mounting options available. "When we visited and looked at the metal structures that Winsted offered, we liked the long-term viability of the metal construction,” said Edward Hoy, Supervisor of System Operations for Hart EMC.

Hart EMC selected a L-shaped Matrix EVO Custom Console design that would accommodate a third operator during large outages as well as allow for future expansion. Using their versatile Adapt-A-Track monitor mounting system Winsted provided a solution that enabled the unusual vertical monitor arrangement Hart EMC desired. “It is a little bit odd, if you’ve never seen anything like it before,” said Hoy. “But it worked out perfectly for what we wanted to do with the number of programs we needed to be able to tile vertically on the monitor screens.”

Throughout the design process Winsted was able to provide valuable insights to improve the console’s ergonomics. “Our original designs called for a 20-inch work surface with a slope to the cable management channels in the back,” said Hoy. “Winsted suspected correctly that this would impact the sight lines to our vertically mounted monitors.”

So the slope was eliminated and the console was designed with flat work surface. Specifically a durable Corian® work surface that would ensure many years of use with little or no apparent wear. According to Hoy, Winsted really made an effort to understand the environment and the goals from the start and continued to provide valuable feedback even after the design phase was complete. Open communication throughout the project helped to make the control room a success.

As an organization owned by the people it serves, Hart EMC values a high level of personal service and exceptional quality. “The work that Winsted does is superb, they do an excellent job with their custom products. It’s just far above and beyond anything else that we’ve seen,” said Hoy. “The welding they do on metal consoles like ours is excellent. The Corian work is high quality as well – stuff that I haven't seen other companies do. As far as professionalism, design and the entire process, we enjoyed working with them.”