Machine Design

Mr. Wow Effect

105360130_Jürgen R. Schmid
Machine tool visionary: industrial designer Jürgen R. Schmid. Source: Design Tech

Jürgen Schmid knows how to make an impression with simple means. The industrial designer and head of Design Tech always wears white, like a doctor, but chooses lightweight linen for a more relaxed look. Thanks to his fashion sense, he usually stands out when he meets with his customers in the machine-building industry – people accustomed to interacting with men in suits and ties.

As an industrial designer, Mr. Schmid has specialized in designing machines. He is considered a luminary in an industry that consists of small and medium-sized companies, Germany’s Mittlestand. “The eye plays an important role in purchase decisions, even in machine construction,” Juliane Hehl, managing partner at Arburg and granddaughter of the company’s founder, told Handelsblatt. Mr. Schmid designed the Allrounder 1120, the largest injection molding machine in its category, for the Black Forest company, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of injection molding machines.

In machine construction, a conservative field where unembellished gray or blue metal covers often conceal sophisticated German technology, Mr. Schmid likes to use the more versatile design possibilities of plastics. The sleek Allrounder 1120, which is more than 10 meters (39 feet) long, looks more like a futuristic subway car than a mundane industrial machine.

Mr. Schmid emphasizes the “wow effect” in his designs. “Design is important factor in conveying the competitiveness of technology,” he said. At Arburg, competitiveness translates into an injection molding machine that applies 650 tons of pressure in the production process. The device operates at high speeds, quietly and with total precision, and it features a user-friendly touchscreen, gesture control and retractable steps. The elegantly shaped front of the device, with its over-sized, tinted windows, looks deceptively simple, given the complexity of the processes it conceals.

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