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Smart Case Studies

Design to Business

The Design to Business network supports companies in product design and brand communication. The people involved in two successful cooperation projects explain how it works.

Design is not only a question of aesthetics, it’s a strategic factor for corporate success. The importance of design, long recognized by industry giants, is now being realized by an increasing number of SMEs, too. The success of a product does not depend on functionality and precise technology alone – the growing service component necessitates the consideration of new business models. This in turn changes products and enhances customer satisfaction.

The Design to Business network of IHK Hessen innovativ and IHK Offenbach am Main provides highly specific support. Experts from product designers and brand and communication agencies help companies to optimize processes, identify new business opportunities and develop innovative products.

How this works in practice is shown by the cooperation of product designer Andreas Schulze from Limburg with the Vitronic company. An intensive design process led to the new generation of a line-scan camera for the logistics sector. The Vicam 3S – smart, small and synchronized – was designed to set new standards of data capture in this field of application. To ensure the success of this venture, Andreas Schulze and his team worked closely with Vitronic, taking the product from the first idea sketches right through to series production. Thanks to a structured design process, both partners were able to make a significant contribution to keeping to the tight timeframe of the development project.

The new all-in-one line-scan camera features an extremely high line frequency and the highest focus range on the market. The decoding unit that detects and processes shipment data is now already integrated into the device. “We have also been able to reduce the weight and the size of the housing by a further 40 per cent compared with the already ultra-compact predecessor model,” says Andreas Schulze. This means that installation and maintenance can now be handled by one single person. Convenient grips and an ergonomic orientation of the housing components make the camera easy to service. The time this saves is a particular product advantage for the logistics sector.

Ensuring the necessary cooling of the camera components was an additional functional challenge for the product designers. They devised a special cooling section for this purpose. The components are cooled in the same way as in a heat exchanger and are at the same time encapsulated as protection against dust and spray water. The cooling section is therefore a central functional element while also linking the front and back housing, giving the VICAM S3 a compact yet dynamic look.

Another example of how companies benefit from the expertise of the Design to Business network is a cooperation between XONOX Technology GmbH and Stefan Karp from ma ma Interactive System Design in Frankfurt, which led to the design of a storage and handling system for inspection objectives used in interferometry.

ma ma Interactive System Design is specialized in “User Centered Design”. In field studies, the designers watched how inspection objectives were handled in XONOX’s production facilities and identified relevant aspects. They realized that one of the aims of the design process had to be to optimize the handling of the heavy inspection objectives. The original task to design just a box and storage system was therefore expanded to embrace a concept for handling and using the objectives in manufacturing operations.

Various product ideas were devised, discussed and elaborated in cooperative workshops. This iterative approach is typical of design processes. The result of the cooperation was a robust box system with an integrated grip allowing virtually contact-free handling of the inspection objectives. XONOX itself calls its practical and safe box and handling system a “smart case”.



Design to Business
Frank Irmscher
IHK Offenbach am Main
Phone +49 69 8207342

Andreas Schulze Industrial Design
Andreas Schulze
Limburg an der Lahn

ma ma Interactive System Design
Stefan Karp
Frankfurt am Main