RJG provides comprehensive tools and training that allow molders to implement Scientific/Systematic Molding Techniques thus improving molding quality, productivity and profitability. Sensors are key components in the molding process. Located in the mold, sensors detect changes in pressure and temperature, which affect the quality of each plastic part produced. Faulty sensors make for faulty parts. The RJG Sensor eValuator lets technicians quickly test each sensor in a mold before the mold hit the production line. This eliminates the needs to create test parts, saving time and increasing efficiency and productivity.
Traditionally, once a mold is fitted with sensors, it is used on the production line prior to testing the sensors. This means that the sensors are tested by actually injecting plastic into the mold and testing the part produced. Realizing that this was inefficient and costly, RJG decided to develop a hardware device that would allow the testing of the sensor before it hits the production line.
The device would need a connection application in order for the technician to monitor the testing device and execute the test. RJG came to us with an alpha version of the hardware and a vision for the client application. Our job was to:
- Take the application vision and produce detailed, high-quality wireframes to solve workflow issues.
- Create a consistent visual language and surface opportunity for optimization in the task execution.
- Develop the Android application and connect it to the Sensor eValuator.
Identifying Areas for Improvement
Our first task was to review the current vision of the application. RJG had a series of wireframes, and our team quickly identified multiple issues and opportunities for improvements. We started by analyzing and documenting the intended workflow. Using this knowledge, we dissected the current wireframes to surface multiple potential pain points and how they negatively impact the acceptance of the application. After identifying these pain points, we explored changes that could be made to ease the user experience without the need to overhaul the entire system.
Solving Pain Points
Through our analysis, we discovered several pain points to solve and elements to improve upon: displaying status, testing multiple sensors, receiving feedback from the application, and overall user interface.
Because technicians need to check the statuses of many sensors, we made it easier for them by reflecting the status in the color of each card or related element. For those who may have difficulty with colors, we also included large status icons.
All in One Tap
An injection mold can be larger than a person and have hundreds of sensors. It wouldn’t be practical to switch between the app and the mold to test each sensor, so we created a simple flow that would allow technicians to tap one button in the app and then test the sensors all at once, without having to switch back and forth.
It’s in Progress
Some processes would take a several minutes to load, such as connecting each sensor via WiFi to the eValuator device. Frustrated technicians would mistakenly think that the app wasn’t working, so we added progress bars and loading messages to reassure them that the app was processing information.
With a wide range of tech-savviness among technicians and the context usage (a shop floor), we kept to a no-frills, simple UI that would be easy to recognize and intuitive to all. At the bottom of the screen, we included call-to-actions to direct the user to the next step to take, ensuring guidance at all steps of the process.
Development to Reality
Once the application design was finalized and signed off, our developers coded the app. We used an agile development methodology, allowing us to surface new features as they are developed. This was essential because the hardware was evolving at the same time as the mobile client.
When facing a situation where the firmware changes might impact your client code, communication is key. We had an open and collaborative approach that kept the development time low and cost within budget. The result is a fully functioning app that is easy to use and which saves technicians from frustration and increases production efficiency.