The German Design Award, highly esteemed both within and outside Germany, is awarded once a year by the German Design Council, a body which has been helping mold the face of German design for 60 years. A total of 1,900 entries were submitted to the 2014 German Design Award committee and judged by 30 design experts from the fields of commerce, education and science.
The German Design Award is normally presented to individual products which makes KHS' ClearLine system winning a prize all the more unusual. Michael Schlegel from Product Strategy at KHS GmbH says; "In ClearLine KHS has a uniform design concept which covers all the machines on a beverage filling and packaging system, visually underlining KHS' line expertise." Thomas Berger, project manager for ClearLine at KHS GmbH, adds, "Before we implemented the ClearLine project we carried out a full analysis of all of our machines. We went into the greatest detail to come up with a convincing result regarding function and design. Winning the 2014 German Design Award has confirmed that our great effort was worthwhile. In the future our existing machinery and all new KHS developments will be supplied in the ClearLine machine design."
When developing the uniform ClearLine design for KHS machinery great importance was attached to producing a design which fully met various aesthetic, tactile and ergonomic specifications. The focus was also on simplifying functions and reducing the number of parts to improve clarity, cut down on the maintenance and cleaning effort, optimize the hygienic design and enhance transparency.
KHS ClearLine was first presented with all its various aspects at drinktec 2013, the world's leading trade show for the beverage and liquid food industry. All of the new developments exhibited at the KHS booth had the stylistic traits of ClearLine machine design pertinent to machine operation, haptics and visuals.
One feature of the ClearLine design concept is a new machine operating system known as the Human Machine Interface or HMI. In cooperation with the Fraunhofer IAO Institute an operating unit has been conceived which meets the needs and requirements of people with various backgrounds and qualifications. Role-based control and monitoring of machines and production lines is now combined on a uniform interface with identical hardware and software. The result is user-friendly machine operator prompting that employs simple buttons, colored graphics, easy-to-remember icons and interactive handling instructions. The concept can also be readily understood and processes easily grasped by new operators. The ClearLine operating concept has already won a number of awards, these being the red dot: best of the best, the iF product design award and the iF gold award.
Thomas Detemple, managing director of ergon3Design and KHS partner in the development of ClearLine, says, "We paid very special attention to making the features of a machine or a line easy to understand, thus again boosting user friendliness and at the same time producing a design that meets KHS' high-tech standards and creates an atmosphere people are happy to work in."
As regards the tactile aspects of the machinery, ClearLine uses identical handles on all KHS machines. So that the outward appearance of the design is consistent certain components are always included, such as identical lighting and specific colors, with a simple, subdued color scheme deliberately chosen. The main element here is a gray stripe which always encircles the machine at the same height. Prof. Dr.-Ing. Matthias Niemeyer, Chief Executive Officer/Chief Technical Officer of KHS GmbH, explains. "The combination of stainless steel and white, dark gray and silver for the lettering creates a sense of value, underlines the innovative design of the machine, has a clear design vocabulary and makes for transparency. The focus is on the product; this combination stands for premium quality and the design also integrates functional aspects. The neutral gray also provides the perfect background for colorful customer logos. By implementing our ClearLine design philosophy, as one of the world's leading manufacturers of filling and packaging technology for the beverage industry we're once again illuminating KHS' vision of being first choice in technology and service."