Special Report

How design can simplify the operation of machine tools

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Communication between man and machine in focus

Intuitive operator control is the goal the designer firm The Kaikai Company, in Munich, has set for itself. Tim R. Wichmann, marketing director and executive partner, added an explanation: “Communication between man and machine is becoming an increasing priority with products of growing complexity. A transparent design guides the user and shows him where an operational intervention must take place, can take place, or is unnecessary.”

Orientation by means of an intelligent design is said to help the user clearly identify where he is working on the machine and where the process itself is taking place without long familiarisation. “As in a modern car engine, one can select the actions of the user and control autonomously. Here a shaped cover shows clearly, for example, where only oil and water can and may be added. All other options are ruled out by the design,” Wichmann said.

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This can also be seen in the new Kaikai design of the coordinate measurement machines of the Wenzel Group. “In the process, the measurement and work area is shown to the user via a number of elements and details. The flap on the gear-tooth measurement machine is a fifth surface, inclined towards the user, which invites him to approach and indicates the working area,” according to Wichmann.

This is underlined by the CI cutout, an element which constantly recurs in the firm’s colour on all newly designed products of the Wenzel Group. This cutout marks the area in which the measurement takes place. Christian Jaeger, creative director and executive partner at Kaikai, explained the concept. “Independent of the size of the machine in each case, this cutout always represents the heart, the precise measurement, and thus has a dual function: it helps to imprint a recognisable characteristic, thus communicating the brand, and also provides clear orientation for the user,” explains

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