Tonae’ Hamilton: Can you expand on how the idea of the OmniShelf came about?
Bobby Martin: As an oilfield service technician, I use a laptop most of the time and would constantly struggle due to not having a workstation. I had to hold my laptop with one arm, while typing with the other or set it in my lap while sitting on a chair or on the floor. The only place I could set it when not in use was on the floor. One day I notice that a 3rd party company had a built-in metal folding shelf mounted on the inside of their control panel doors. This shelf was used by their technicians to set their laptop on while connecting to the PLCs. I thought this was a great idea, but I needed something similar that was mobile and could be used anywhere on the rigs. I wanted to design a similar device with magnets enabling me to use it anywhere since just about everything on a rig is made of metal.
TH: What is your goal for the OmniShelf? In what ways do you feel it will benefit oil and gas industry professionals?
BM: Our ultimate goal is to get the OmniShelf in every business that has any type of maintenance and/or electrical department. We would also like to get it into the military. We have currently sold to large companies such as Shermco Industries, Siemens Industry, Michelin, Trans Ocean, and many others. As far as retailers, Dealer’s Electrical Supply in OKC has been selling the OmniShelf for several months. We recently were approved by the buyer for Home Depot to place the OmniShelf on their website. The OmniShelf would be a huge benefit to any worker who needs extra workspace and/or needs a temporary desk. The OmniShelf can be used in various ways.
TH: In addition, what would you say are some of the biggest challenges oil and gas professionals face in the workplace? Will the OmniShelf resolve some, or any, of those challenges?
BM: Whether is a controls technician, electrician or a mechanic, they all face the problem with no workbench or station near the piece of equipment they are working on. The OmniShelf solves this everyday problem, whether it’s to hold a laptop, tools, power tools, meters or just a writing surface.
The OmniShelf ergonomically provides a safer way for field workers to work, from holding a laptop at the proper height to holding tools while working in an electrical panel. It also helps reduce the potential of neck and back pain by being able to have your tools at arm’s reach and not having to reach down to the floor or ground.
TH: Can you expand on the design of the OmniShelf? For example, are there any surfaces that the OmniShelf won’t stick to?
BM: The OmniShelf is designed as a portable briefcase/workbench/desk. It has 1.5 inches of clearance on the inside when closed. This allows most laptops and hand tools to be carried, inside the OmniShelf, from one workspace to the next.
The OmniShelf has a “Y” design to allow the magnets to be adjusted closer together. This allows it to attach to narrow surfaces, such as a narrow column or light pole.
We use 4 rare earth magnets to latch it closed. These have 6-7 pounds of magnetic pull, which is strong enough to hold most small hand tools. This is a very convenient place to hold tools between uses.
When the OmniShelf is attached to a wall surface, there is a 1/4” clearance the shelf and the wall surface. This allows room for papers or folders to be stored while using the OmniShelf.
Last, but not least, we offer an option for four (4) industrial strength suction cups. This allows the OmniShelf to stick to any flat, non-porous surface. Between the use of magnets and suction cups, the OmniShelf can attach to most surfaces.
TH: Will you ever consider making a second OmniShelf (i.e., bigger, different design) or making changes to the current product?
BM: Yes, we have many ideas such as, different accessories, making one a little smaller and one that is more water/weatherproof.
Oil and gas companies are regularly faced with many industry-specific issues to overcome. Such issues, including exploration and drilling, are often complex and intricate processes with many unique challenges to overcome. Data analytics can play a massive part in streamlining some of the most fundamental operations that are involved in the oil and gas industry.