Archive

Archive for September, 2010

Don’t Forget Technicians When Considering Control Layout

September 8th, 2010

We’ve talked about the importance of keeping your clients’ in mind when planning molded keypads for your equipment. However don’t forget about people other than end users, specifically repair technicians. When technicians open up devices and see confusing layouts, it makes their jobs harder.

Access Panel Placement

Nobody wants to look at an access panel so they are often located in the back of the machine. This makes it easy to get to certain parts of the internal components, but since these panels are typically located far from the molded keypads on the front, this location makes it hard to deal with control issues.

Even small devices may have multiple access panels. Instead of removing an entire case, several small panels can open up individual components. Large machines will definitely need multiple access points. In either case, creating controls that can be opened up give technicians easy access to underlying circuitry. It allows them to diagnose control problems and to easily replace controls that have been damaged through heavy use.

Keeping Things Organized

Your product may have carefully laid out molded keypads that group controls into logical clusters, use colors and graphics to identify controls quickly, and are placed for maximum ergonomic efficiency. Are you using this same logic when laying out internal components?

Too often a technician opens up a device with a well designed outside to find chaos inside. Device maintenance takes longer because they have to spend so much time trying to figure out which cable is which, and where each component is located. Instead, make the same effort you did on the outside controls to group related components together. Give easy access to all serviceable components rather than forcing technicians to delve deep into a machine for even easy repairs.

Interior Lighting

When a technician can see what is going on in a device, mistakes are easy to make. Trying to direct a light inside equipment when two hands are needed for the work can be a nightmare. Consider mounting lighting inside your devices to illuminate the work area. You don’t want these lights on all the time, since that wastes energy, builds heat and requires more maintenance as bulbs burn out. Set up lights to go on when an access panel is removed, or connect them to interior molded keypads so technicians can turn them on as needed.

Put clear labels on all components, with emphasis on the word “clear”. Large fonts, high contrast displays and considering of other components that might block visibility are all key factors in creating labels that help technicians navigate your equipment.

These steps can greatly enhance your product’s reception. Better organized internal components mean faster repairs and less downtime. Technicians who find your products easy to repair will recommend them to managers for future purchase.

Uncategorized