DESIGN AWARD 2017 for user interface design of the M LINE FACTORY from Concept Laser

User interface design of the CL WRX 3.0 software for the modular M LINE FACTORY receives award | Innovative HTML5 technology permits the separation of design, content and functionality | Great transparency of design and functionality of the software architecture of the M LINE FACTORY

Pure usability: The user interface design of the CL WRX 3.0 software suite from Concept Laser for PCs, tablets, smartphones and touch panels. © Concept Laser

Lichtenfels (Germany), Monday, March 13, 2017: The user interface of the CL WRX 3.0 software suite from Concept Laser has won the iF DESIGN AWARD 2017. The intuitively operated, ergonomically optimized and user-oriented interface of the CL WRX 3.0 software suite won over the international jury comprising 58 members.

The development partner for the user interface design is HMI Project from Würzburg, Germany. The human machine interface specialists were thus able to demonstrate once again that they are almost in a league of their own when it comes to the design and usability of user interfaces. Concept Laser teamed up with HMI Project to develop an HTML5-based user interface for interactive dialog between the user and the additive manufacturing machine production environment. This new user interface of the CL WRX 3.0 software suite from Concept Laser was completed in time for formnext powered by TCT 2016 following a 12-month development process. This very interface won this year’s iF DESIGN AWARD and is thus one of the winners of the design label that is renowned around the world.

Innovative design meets HTML5 technology

The structure and graphical preparation of the interactive user interfaces of CL WRX 3.0 permits a maximum degree of transparency and rapid acquisition of parameters on local or mobile devices. The essential attributes, as the jury saw them, include improved self-descriptiveness, better ergonomics, greater efficiency, shorter learning times, better acceptance, fewer operating errors, greater operational reliability and a high-quality overall impression. According to HMI Project, the design makes the interface stand out from the competition and ultimately is more fun to work with. The open, standard-based HTML5 technology permits the separation of design, content and functionality. This enables rapid testing and prototyping. Intuitive gestures and multitouch and easy integration of semantic animations are also supported. The system allows uniform, system-independent presentation and responsive behavior for different screen sizes and types of terminal devices. It is also very easy for functions to be expanded on this technical basis.

Web-based technologies ensure rapid orientation in production

A clear and process-oriented architecture is the hallmark of CL WRX 3.0. It enables more efficient production in a smart factory. The status of all machine components can be monitored at all times during the process. The web-based app concept allows for modularity and expandability. External interfaces are available for flexible adaptation to larger production networks. It is also worth mentioning the standard control across all applications and the flexible way that the software can be individualized with configurable widgets. Apps can be combined, and a rapid change of app via partial / full integration is possible. The software allows data to be managed centrally with clear authorization concepts, both in the network and for locally available applications. Accordingly, there is a breakdown into user roles with a range of functions depending on the particular user role. The operator is presented with an intuitive, graphically subdivided user interface with functional animations. Convenient operation thanks to multi-touch gestures also forms part of the new design. Not least, a harmonious color scheme aids orientation. Workflow-oriented navigation and transparent parametric representation make it easy to map complex processes. All of these aspects combine to deliver a harmonious overall impression and optimum usability.

M LINE FACTORY at the core of industrial series production           

The new M LINE FACTORY machine solution from Concept Laser heralds a completely new approach in machine architecture and offers an unprecedented level of automation and innovation. For the first time, part production as well as set-up and dismantling processes will take place in two independent machine units so that they can be operated physically separate from one another and can be combined however you desire. This now enables production processes to run in parallel rather than sequentially so that downtimes are considerably reduced and the availability and output quantity of the process chain is thus increased. The modular machine technology of the M LINE FACTORY also forms the core of Concept Laser’s “AM Factory of Tomorrow” concept which also makes provision for upstream and downstream stages of the production process as well as links to conventional manufacturing methods. The concept consistently implements the basic idea of “Industry 4.0” in the form of automation, interlinking, and digitization of any number of machines, and thus permits the economical series production of additive metal parts. Such a production scenario can be controlled and monitored using the CL WRX 3.0 software suite. It brings together all units and modules of the M LINE FACTORY and allows employees and operators to access all process components.

The M LINE FACTORY in detail

The M LINE FACTORY consists of two independent machine units. The M LINE FACTORY PRD, as the production unit, has a max. build envelope of 400 x 400 x 425 mm³ (x,y,z) and is optionally equipped with 1 to 4 laser sources, each delivering 400 W or 1,000 W of laser power. The core of the unit is three independent modules, the dose module, the build module and the overflow module, which can be individually activated for the first time and therefore do not form one continuous unit. The individual modules are moved via a tunnel system inside the machine. This means that, for example when new powder is supplied, the empty powder storage module can automatically be replaced by a new module immediately without the build process necessarily needing to be interrupted, as was previously the case. Finished build jobs can now also be moved out of the machine with the dedicated module and replaced directly by a new prepared build module so that production operations can be resumed immediately. The physically separate, autonomous M LINE FACTORY PCG is available as the processing unit for set-up and disarming processes. This enables “optimum use windows” right through to the ideal of 24/7 availability of the machine technology. The new processing unit has an integrated sieving station and powder management. There is now no need for containers to be used for transportation between the machine and sieving station. Unpacking, preparations for the next build job and sieving therefore take place in a self-contained system without the operator coming into contact with the powder. An automated material flow is another unique selling point. This allows self-contained modules for transport and material provision to be used.