Lubricating oil in yoghurt? Bacteria in jam? Not only does it sound unappetising, it can be dangerous as well. This is why extremely strict hygiene standards apply to production systems in the food and pharmaceutical industries – after all, machine parts and components can come into contact with the products. Specific customer requirements from various industry sectors must be taken into account during product development.
A clean affair
Functional as well as intuitive to handle: those are the features of a standard Festo drive. Products used in the food and pharmaceutical industries also have to meet additional requirements. Above and beyond a corrosion-resistant coating and the use of food-safe lubricants, the Festo product design also plays a significant role. Here it's all about cleanliness.
Karoline von Häfen, head of product design at Festo, explains: “Clean Design means that we have to comply with very strict specifications when designing the product. System components have to be very easy to access and fully washable, or entirely closed off and sealed. There can't be any dead space where dirt could accumulate. Other stipulations include smooth surfaces and a minimum radius for corners."
The product design of system components at Festo is refined again and again, right from the initial concept and throughout the entire development process. This is every bit as essential as the implementation of the required functions.
Distinction for pioneering design
The electrical connecting cable NEBV, which connects pneumatic valve terminals to control components, is a perfect example of how product design enhances the flexibility of Festo components. In addition to the basic product – a black cable for standard applications – the product designers at Festo have also created a grey variant for use in sensitive production areas. “With the grey cable, we’ve avoided ribbing or other edges in which dirt could accumulate. Yet the plug can still be easily gripped and disconnected”, says Jörg Peschel, product designer at Festo.
And the effort has paid off: Festo’s electrical connecting cable NEBV was distinguished on 1 July 2013 with the “reddot best of the best” award in recognition of its flexibility for applications in all types of manufacturing environments.
Here is an animation featuring the two NEBV cables: