User experience is essential to positive customer interaction, and mechanical motion control is essential to UX in many settings. From the hotel room to the manufacturing floor, motion control systems have fundamental impacts on how customers perceive a purchase or experience.
If your business is in any industry where customers regularly interact with moving parts, here are three near-universal tips for good mechanical motion control design.
Designing for UX With Mechanical Motion Control
When it comes to designing for user experience, ensuring your product is accessible and usable by everyone is a great foundation. Motion control systems allow for safety and flexibility
These characteristics not only improve the durability and longevity of your product but also allow for the following benefits:
1. Accessibility for Everyone
Everyone should be able to easily operate whatever the moving component is. Whether this is a Murphy bed in that hotel room or an oven door in the hotel’s kitchen (or industrial kitchen), both able-bodied and frail people should be able to open, close, and otherwise operate moving parts.
While cabinet doors are typically easy to operate, accessibility becomes more of a factor with heavier objects like the oven door or manufacturing equipment. With heavier parts, spring-assisted hinges and counterbalance hinges are essential to making operating parts easy.
Spring-assisted hinges are useful in settings where weight mitigation could make a lid or cover easier to lift safely. These hinges come in many different forms, allowing them to be installed in everything from commercial oven doors to industrial manufacturing equipment. With properly designed hinges, such components are easily operated by average folk, people with disabilities, and children -- with just a few fingers.
Counterbalance hinges make operating products easier by using a countering torque to manage the heaviness of a part. This type of hinge also comes in many forms and potential applications. It’s most often used when a part must stay in a specific position, such as with
2. Flexible Designs
Depending on your application, different levels of hinges can address varying motion control needs and price points. For an inexpensive weight-mitigating hinge, gas spring assisted hinges can be used, However, gas spring assisted hinges are prone to failure in high heat or stress applications.
For a “better” experience mechanical spring-assisted hinges can be incorporated to allow for a higher degree of weight mitigation regardless of the environment. The “best” level of hinges are counterbalance hinges.
Counterbalance hinges not only provide weight mitigation to your product design, but also allow the user to leave a heavy lid, countertop, or door in the exact position it was left in.
The different levels of hinges provide different benefits, features, and flexibility in design. If low-cost is important, gas spring-assisted hinges may be best suited for your design. If you’re working with a heavy lid, or in extreme environments, spring-assisted hinges provide secure weight mitigation with no risk of explosion or failure due to high/low temperature or pressure.
When you’re designing an application with safety in mind, counterbalance hinges, (the “best” level of hinges) offer weight mitigation with the added security of leaving the lid in the exact place where you left it.
3. Safety in All Situations
Of course, safety is one of the most important aspects of any user experience. When designing a product with a weight-bearing application, different types of motion control hinges have different safety features.
For an added level of safety, integrating counterbalance hinges incorporates weight mitigation and motion control into your design. Weight mitigation features allow workers of any size to safely operate equipment with heavy lids or doors by decreasing the amount of force needed to lift or open.
Motion control features reduce the risk of smashed fingers or damaged equipment by allowing the worker to leave a lid in a specified position without it slamming down on their fingers, or swinging up towards their torso or face.
Making mechanical motion control as effortless as possible won’t just reduce the risk of pinched fingers and other instant injuries. It’ll also reduce the risk of repetitive-motion injuries, which are a common concern for hospitality, health care, and factory workers, among others.
Reducing repetitive-motion injuries has the benefit of not only improving UX but also of minimizing worker’s compensation claims due to long-term use.
Use High-Quality Hinges in Motion Control System Designs
Many high-end products use state-of-the-art hinges to improve their mechanical motion control system design for optimal UX. These hinge solutions are durable, long-lasting, and application-specific.
To learn more about the different types of hinges available in motion control design, check out our free e-book below: