Festo honoured twice in this year’s German Design Award
Visionary design combines innovation and communication
Festo, a global player in factory and process automation, was presented with two Design Awards of the Federal Republic of Germany on 12 February 2010: in the product design category for its compressed air preparation unit MS9 and in communication design for its visionary bionic jellyfish, the AirJelly, in its Future Concepts programme. “As a method of differentiation, good design is a key economic factor – especially in times of crisis,” says Andrej Kupetz, Technical Manager and Managing Director of the German Design Council “Rat für Formgebung”. The MS range is the driver for the global market of maintenance devices and is used in a wide variety of areas in automation technology – from the food to the automotive industry. The company combines communication, innovation and design in a holistic approach which puts people at the centre. Design is the combining element of innovation communication with regard to employees and customers. The company links this with the following objectives: optimal man-machine interaction, energy efficiency, maximum performance, and range of use of its products on the global market in over 200 sectors. Moreover, with the fascinating design projects of its Bionic Learning Network, the global market leader in technical training and education aims to get young people excited about technology.
Design creates trust
Careful design creates the impression that great technical care has also been taken on the inside. “As the technological leader in our sector, we want to make customers aware of the high performance of our products through excellent design,” stressed Dr. Eberhard Veit, Chairman of the Management Board and Director Market Positioning of Festo AG. “The new maintenance device generation MS stands for maximum flow rates with minimum space requirements, as well as maximum security and energy efficiency. Our design gives customers the feeling that our products deliver what they promise. Our products stand for innovation and high quality. If our components are used in large production lines, they should act as a hallmark of excellence for the whole process,” explains Dr. Eberhard Veit.
Festo’s high exterior design quality is achieved with a clear and simple design language which structures the product as a whole.
The design is rooted in Festo’s holistic Corporate Design approach: logo, colour combinations of blue, black and silver with standard design elements. This ensures that Festo products are quickly and easily recognised, and thus provides orientation and a purchase recommendation to customers around the world who have already made good experience with Festo.
The human factor: design helps man-machine interaction
Everyday manufacturing reality is characterised by ever shorter time-to-market times, high component and machine complexity, and global use of cutting-edge technologies by varyingly skilled employees.
As a result, the design of technical products at the man-machine interface is increasingly becoming a key factor in global competition.
In close cooperation between product development and design, Festo focuses firmly on the needs of people. In other words, products communicate with their users and enable simple and intuitive use – irrespective of staff training.
“It must be possible to use our products flexibly in a wide variety of sectors and to adapt them to various production scenarios, while at the same time fulfilling often completely different functions. Users should be able to recognise these varying uses and their respective operation themselves,” explains Karoline von Häfen, Head of Product Design Processing. “We use the colour code blue, for example, in a clearly defined context. This colour signifies for Festo that something can be operated, set or moved by hand. This hint can be easily learnt and facilitates intuitive user guidance for all Festo products.”
These criteria also apply to the compressed air preparation unit MS9. In order to change the filter dishes, they first have to be released by the blue locking switch so that they can be individually removed. The blue slide of the manual on-off valve is used to fix it in position and secure it against unintentional operation. The manual on-off valve can be easily turned and operated even at high pressures or when wearing gloves. All modules can be replaced without dismantling the entire unit. During operation, levels can be checked from the front with the aid of sight glasses. This saves time during the installation, maintenance and expansion of the respective unit.
In addition, the MS range offers exceptionally high safety levels for both humans and the machine. This is reflected in the design, for example, by ergonomic radii in the field of gripping and operating, robust construction, and securing against unintentional operation.
Despite extremely high requirements, the MS maintenance device range is designed to handle large flow volumes while at the same time saving space. The units can be expanded at will, configured according to customer needs, and combined with other sizes.
The product’s design is clear, ergonomic and functional. The complete unit exudes a high degree of quality and reliable operation and is integrated into the company’s CI. The high “inner” technological quality is thus clearly expressed on the outside. It is characterised by the integrated sensors and remote adjustment possibilities for remote servicing, control and preventive maintenance, which enhance ease of operation, machine availability and process reliability.
Inspired by nature: fascinating aesthetics – made by nature: AirJelly
Delicate, graceful and apparently weightless, the AirJelly jellyfish glides through the air like its natural role model in the ocean. The main fascination of this technological prototype emanates from its bionic design.
The artificial jellyfish glides through the air with the aid of its central electric drive and an intelligent, adaptive mechanical system. The AirJelly is kept in the air by its helium-filled ballonet. Its only energy source are two lithium-ion-polymer batteries, to which the central electric drive is attached. Eight tentacles use the bionic Fin Ray Effect® of a fish fin to drive the AirJelly forward. It is steered by shifting the weight of a pendulum. This enables the AirJelly to “swim” in any spatial direction. This peristaltic propulsion system was previously unknown in “lighter-than-air” aviation. The AirJelly is therefore the first indoor flying object to use this drive concept.
Design at the interface of innovation and communication: Bionic Learning Network launches new Future Concepts
Nature never ceases to amaze us with its aesthetic beauty. It is no surprise therefore that nature’s fascinating creatures also serve as inspiration for many of the projects of Festo’s Bionic Learning Network. As a network created by Festo together with leading universities, institutes and development companies, the Bionic Learning Network has established itself as an integral part of the company’s innovation process over the past few years.
Activities are coordinated with the Corporate Design department and jointly implemented with R&D. “Bionic projects require the networking of know-how from several areas. Designers take an interdisciplinary approach and are used to communicating with various departments. The Bionic Learning Network inspires people from different areas to develop their ideas together with Festo,” explains Markus Fischer, Head of Corporate Design at Festo.
“As a pioneer in the manufacturing of industrial goods, Festo has been pursuing a holistic design approach for decades – from corporate design to architecture to product design. Corporate design provides clear design rules, but also helps people visualise and experience the company’s values and the Festo brand. With the technological prototypes of its Bionic Learning Network – such as the AirJelly – Festo combines design, innovation and communication in a sustainable development approach for energy-efficient and visionary drive concepts of the future. Festo’s AirJelly is a spectacular highlight in the visualisation of the company’s Corporate Identity and performance capabilities. With its fascinating design and function, this vehicle not only captivates Festo’s customers, but also its employees and junior staff, while at the same time presenting Festo as an innovative company in the field of automation technology. A fresh approach to Corporate Identity: visionary, bold and thus also memorable and inspiring. The medium is the message!” says jury member Johannes Erler.
“Companies must repeatedly ask themselves: what makes us unique? We are committed to our Bionic Learning Network and Future Concepts as a platform to discover new products or product ideas and to test their market relevance. With our Future Concepts we aim to secure our sustainable lead on the global market and to test future technologies with the aim of offering our customers added value,” stresses Dr. Eberhard Veit.
“Future Concepts like the AirJelly are very much more than a means of brand communication. They are an emotional expression of our innovation culture and act as visionary intermediaries between man and technology. As future studies, they should demonstrate in which direction the company wants to develop with its products and technologies. They interpret the brand and enable it to be experienced by customers, employees and junior staff from various disciplines, such as technology, marketing, sales or design. They are shown around the world at trade fairs and events, where they help visualise our solution expertise with completely new technological approaches and encourage a dialogue with our customers about what we can do and what we want to do in future. Moreover, we hope that our design will get young people excited about technology,” explains Dr. Heinrich Frontzek, Head of Corporate Communication at Festo.
German Design Award
The Design Award of the Federal Republic of Germany is also referred to as the “Award of Awards”. No other design award sets such high requirements for the participants. For example, a company can only take part in the design award if its product has already received a national or international award.
The recipients of the design awards are chosen by an independent jury of experts. The jury is composed of representatives from industry, higher education, design and the media.
Festo is a leading international supplier of automation technology and global market leader in technical training and education. With around 100 new products per year and 2,900 patents around the world, Festo provides the impulse for maximum productivity in manufacturing for 300,000 customers in over 200 sectors – from the food industry to the automotive and electronics industries. 13,500 employees in 176 countries guarantee daily progress in the manufacturing of capital and consumer goods. The Didactic division offers professional, industry-relevant training solutions – from seminars, training and consulting, to e-learning and learning systems, as well as turnkey equipment for learning centres.
Please refer to: Festo press photo CC_01_10_ MS9_1.tif
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Caption: Award-winning design for people at the man-machine interface: Festo’s new maintenance device unit MS9
Please refer to: Festo press photo CC_01_10_ Airjelly_1.tif
Festo press photo CC_01_10_ AirJelly_2.tif
Festo press photo CC_01_10_ AirJelly_3.tif
Caption: Design at the interface of innovation and communication: fascinating aesthetics – made by nature: as an intermediary between man and technology, the technology prototype and Future Concept “AirJelly” enables people to emotionally experience both innovation and the brand.
Please refer to: Festo press photo CC_01_10_ Festo_AwardWinner_1.jpg
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Caption: Festo Award Winners: Karoline von Häfen, Head of Product Design Processing (left photo), Dr. Heinrich Frontzek, Head of Corporate Communication (right photo).