Special Report

How design can simplify the operation of machine tools

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Operator codes for the all-round experience

Asked how the design can simplify concretely the operation of the machine, Schindler answered that “it is not merely a matter of making three buttons into one. Ultimately, the user must feel an all-round experience that may perhaps consist of making three buttons into four. As long as the operator is faster as a result and feels better, the goal has been achieved.” A discipline that is apparently becoming more and more important is not only to plan the hardware, but also to have intuitive use and design of software surfaces.

“We often have to smile when time is spent in making a machine by one second. Up till now, however, no one in machine construction has thought seriously about how the operator can become faster,” Schindler observed. DSC, with its Interaction Design department, suggested it that it has an answer. “This department is concerned exclusively with man-machine communication and attempts to connect the functions of the machine with the logic of man and thus to simplify,” he said.

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Good design eliminates operator error

An example is the software for Fette Compacting or Bystronic. These were new developments by DSC. Schindler said it was not just a matter of colours and shapes – as most people mistakenly expect from a designer. “Attention was paid mainly to the operating sequences and the simplicity of operating the software surface. During development, it was repeatedly interesting to see that the operator never used certain functions, or that he had absolutely no idea that certain functions existed at all. This was due simply to the fact that the classical operator in our world today is no longer prepared to read through handbooks for days in order to use a very simple function,” Schindler said.

DSC therefore wishes to continue not only making the product itself an experience, but increasingly hopes to also develop software surfaces for customers for which the operator no longer needs long, drawn-out preparatory reading or familiarisation. “In future, he will be able to operate simply the software developed by us. This saves time and simplifies daily work – as with modern smartphones,” the designer explained.

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