What Is a Manual Positioner?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 22 November 2019
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A manual positioner is a piece of equipment that is often used in different types of factories, laboratories, and even in repair shops of different types. Essentially, the device is intended to aid in the process of working with certain types of tools and materials, allowing the user to maneuver or position the items involved in a process so that the work can be done quickly and efficiently while still protecting the well-being of that user. A manual positioner may be used in such diverse situations as using a laser beam, tooling a piece of metal, positioning a specimen for viewing under a microscope, or even for focusing one or more cameras for surveillance purposes.


There are many different types of manual positioners in use today, with each one having a design that is relevant to its intended use. For example, a manual positioner used in a manufacturing environment may provide the ability to adjust the angle or a work surface with ease, allowing the worker to turn and move the surface in order to perform different tasks on a product that is under assembly. In like manner, a manual positioner used in a laboratory situation may provide an easy way to adjust slides being viewed under a microscope, without running the risk of contaminating the sample by using the hands to move slides in and out of the viewing area. In any incarnation, the idea is to enhance the ability of tasks to be performed while also minimizing any safety issues that would otherwise be present in the operation.

Using a manual positioner will often require some amount of training. The complexity of the operation will depend on the design of the device. With some, a series of controls that may be operated by the hands, the feet, or a combination of the two may be involved. The movement of the positioner may involve rotation as well as the ability to move a work surface up or down, or from side to side. Care is usually taken to make sure the design allows for easy movement in whatever direction is desired, while also affording the ability to lock the device once the ideal position is achieved, and maintain that position for as long as desired.

The concept of the manual positioner is not new. The earliest forms of these types of devices can be traced back to the early years of the Industrial Revolution. Contemporary incarnations of this equipment are often based on designs that emerged in the mid to latter 20th century, and have proven invaluable in many different applications, ranging from scientific research to the creation of goods on an assembly line.


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