METAV Forum to Examine Importance of Visual Design in Machine Tool Manufacture

Increasing numbers of manufacturers of machine tools and machine components are making elegant product design a priority consideration. That is because good visual machine design demonstrably improves functionality and ergonomics, resulting in gains in productivity for the user. Developments in this area will be presented at METAV 2008 when the free “Entrepreneurial Forum Design” event takes place April 2 from 4 to 6 p.m. in CCD South, Room 7a, at the Düsseldorf Fairgrounds. The theme of this event is “Visual Design as a Success Factor in Mechanical Engineering.”

“The primary consideration here is not on a pleasing appearance, but on function-driven design,” says Prof. Dr. Peter Zec, managing director of Red Dot GmbH & Co. KG, a consultancy that promotes the use of good design in business activities, which is advising METAV in the forum. “Safety and productivity top the requirements list for both manufacturers and users.”

At METAV, machine manufacturers and component suppliers to machine tool producers will showcase salient visual machinery design considerations through the display of their latest products. Large safety windows that let the operator experience the machining process more intimately and easier-to-read flat-panel control screens are examples.

But function-driven advantages are not the complete story. A machine’s attractive appearance conveys a message of innovative vigour and quality, making visual design a value-enhancing factor. Moreover, a company’s brand recognition benefits from a harmonized corporate design.

Individualized product design requires freedom, but standardization nevertheless has a role in machine tool manufacture. As Prof. Zec notes, it helps designers by mapping out natural boundaries for creative scope. In machine tools, many parts at the component level are standardized.

Though the visual elegance of machine tools and their components is not the primary focus of development work, it nonetheless carries potential advantage, as Prof. Zec explains. “It’s pleasanter for operators to work at a human-engineered, visually attractive machine. They’re proud of working with it, which ultimately is reflected in enhanced efficiency.”

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