Additive Industries - MetalFAB1

Designing the future of manufacturing

Together with Additive Industries, we designed the exterior and user experience of the groundbreaking MetalFAB1. As first in its class, MetalFAB1 combines 3D printing of high-end metal parts with post-processing steps such as heat treatment, build plate handling and storage. All this in a modular system that requires minimal user input for maximum consistency.

Providing a complete design solution

VanBerlo knows what it takes to design for the high tech industry and to tackle complex challenges. Our multidisciplinary approach and domain knowledge make us a perfect partner for Additive Industries. We gathered user insights and came up with a clean looking and serviceable machine exterior, and a user-friendly interface built around the operator work flow. At VanBerlo, combining the physical and the digital is second nature. It enables us to provide a complete solution.

"Design is often overlooked, but crucial for a successful acceptance of new technology like 3D metal printing. I’m confident that the design of both the equipment and the user interface have contributed greatly to the sales of the MetalFAB1."

Daan Kersten

CEO, Additive Industries

"We are very proud of the smooth cooperation between the R&D engineers of Additive Industries and the designers of VanBerlo. Together we have created both a great product and a possible blueprint for the future of manufacturing."

Thomas Paulen

CEO, VanBerlo

Clustering user tasks around themes such as monitoring print jobs, managing jobs, servicing and maintenance...
Sketching the MetalFAB1 exterior.
Explorations on how to display job progress and job details in a user-friendly way.
Validating the design by means of usability testing: do people understand it, is it easy to use?

A whole new category

The MetalFAB1 is the first product in a whole new category of production machines. With this machine, we introduce an aesthetic that expresses the exciting newness of metal printing and reflects reliable mass production. Our design emphasises the modular setup that is essential for the concept, and establishes an iconic, robust shape.

Understanding the machine

The user interface is designed to provide actionable insight in the system status in a quick and intuitive way, despite of all the complexity that is going on "under the hood". The timeline and the visual representation of the machine provide a user-friendly overview, informing the operator about which processes are going on when and where in the system. To achieve this, we validated and optimized the designs through a series of usability tests.

An open system

Although the system does its job largely without supervision, it’s designed in such a way that the process is as transparent as possible. This ensures a more comfortable user experience. Our design for the machine includes large windows, illuminated spaces and meticulously designed hardware and software to match specific styles.

Print job management

The user interface allows for easy control of print jobs via a multi-touch display − sensitive even when wearing protective gloves. Users can gain quick insight into the progress of jobs and reschedule the job planning if needed. Jobs are visualised as bars on the timeline, so that users can see quickly which processes are going on simultaneously and which ones will start next.

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