Machine and Process Management

How Can Aesthetics Drastically Improve Your Machine Efficiency?

In my last article, I’ve talk about the importance of aesthetics for the control interfaces of machines, how a pleasant to see control interface could ease your sales talk by providing more attractiveness and well design components and control panels could ease the operators’ life by providing more ergonomics.

I’ve wanted for some time to make it a bit more real by giving more concrete examples. With this in mind, I’m proposing to discuss today about two topics:

  • How to choose between flush and standard mounting?
  • How can customised products help your machines?
Flush mounting pushbuttons with their labels on the left, and an example of control panel integrating these flush mounted products on the right.

Flush mounting push buttons with their labels on the left, and an example of control panel integrating these flush mounted products on the right.

Have you seen some flush mounted buttons in elevators or in your day to day life and wondered if you could use similar products on your industrial machines? And did you stop dreaming then, thinking that industrial products could just not go to this level of aesthetics? Worst did you feel uncomfortable, wondering when you would have to use flush mounted buttons and when to use standard mounted ones? Though I’m far from claiming I have all the answers to these questions, I would like to share some thoughts on this topic:

  • If the operators are using the buttons without looking them, it’s better to provide them with standard mounted buttons which will be easily located blindly.
  • If the operators usually stand far from the control panel, so that the pilot lights should be visible from far and low angles, it’s better to let them stick out of the panel.
  • If operators are wearing ample clothes, like lab coats or just long sleeves, flush mounted devices will prevent them from getting their clothes stuck. They will just love you for saving the 100€ jean’s they bought last week-end.
  • If the machines are often cleaned with a tissue, the cleaning task will be much easier with a flat surface…go for flush mounting.
  • Have you ever gotten scratches on your control panel buttons after a rough delivery by a truck? Anybody who has faced a customer focusing on this unpleasant line on the component will understand that a button that doesn’t protrude from the panel is an asset. In the worst case, if it doesn’t stick out, it means it cannot be beheaded, which could improve your machine robustness against shocks.
  • And finally it’s also a question of looks. Which of the two designs do you feel to be the best? Which one will your customer like?

And as a nice little gift, it’s possible to find flush mounting accessories which will enable you to choose the proper mounting type depending on your customer’s applications, without having to drastically  increase  your inventory.

The second topic I wanted to share my thoughts on is the customisation of components directly under the eyes of the operators. Customised hardware products are very useful to align the aesthetics of all visible components with your brand image and brand strategy. In particular, when dealing with customized hardware products, a key question is whether you want the component to display its manufacturer’s brand, your own brand or nothing.

  • Display manufacturer brand: you advocate for using reliable components and the manufacturer reputation is reinforcing your own brand image.
  • Display your own brand: you show to your customer that you’ll take care of everything for him, up to the smallest parts.
  • Display no brand on components: you place your machine at the centre of discussion and push away the “details” that are the small components.

    A typically green crane remote controller can be changed to wear a new red dress to fit with your brand image.

    A typically green crane remote controller can be changed to wear a new red dress to fit with your brand image.

Through standard touch screens are usually displaying their manufacturer’s brand, customized products are usually helping you reinforcing your own brand image by hiding the manufacturer’s brand. We can even expect to soon see touch screens displaying your own brand.

Though standard touch screens are usually displaying their manufacturer’s brand, customized products are usually helping you reinforcing your own brand image by hiding the manufacturer’s brand. We can even expect to soon see touch screens displaying your own brand.

Another type of customisation is the addition of markings on external components, like labels or pushbuttons. Such customised markings can provide easy to understand instructions to machine operators, increasing their efficiency.

Some push buttons with customised markings for garbage trucks & pumps operations.

Some push buttons with customised markings for garbage trucks & pump operations.

For readers interested in my previous article, it can be found here .

For readers interested in flush mounting, a demonstration video is accessible on Youtube

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