Nobody is excited to be blocked by a barrier on the way to the restroom. Even less, when a simple tin object demands an entrance fee. At a growing number of facilities operated by the Tank & Rast brand Sanifair, people are now greeted by a new unit. A new system for access and person guidance, developed and built by Deutsche Mechatronics (DTMT) and WILDDESIGN, now welcomes visitors with a completely different attitude: openly tilted towards them with a large continuous glass surface, it offers all common payment methods including QR code readers. It is perfectly hygienic due to contactless payment options – even though it was developed before the COVID-19 pandemic. A large screen quickly informs the visitor about essentials and can be configured with current marketing content.
The Sanifair voucher is ejected at the device's front – it should no longer be forgotten in the machine. Additionally, light signals around all the user interfaces ensure a user-friendly system.
The new restroom gateway is not only a leading-edge development, but it also conveys a clear message to its hundreds of thousands of daily users: "It communicates the performance of a Sanifair facility: "A modern, hygienic access system that clearly offers an additional value for users and our customers," says Bernd Bender, project manager at Deutsche Mechatronics. "The new access system enhances every facility and turns Sanifair into a brand that can be experienced. The combination of function and design succeeds in creating emotion." That is why Tank & Rast achieves its exact goals with the award-winning system.
Alice Bauer: " Primarily, we aimed to offer customers an appealing system, that they can quickly grasp. That way, they reach their destination quickly and feel good. We are very pleased the investment in product design has paid off and has been rewarded with the IF Design Award."
Deutsche Mechatronics involved its partner WILDDESIGN early on in the planning process and therefore already presented an initial design draft to the potential customer during the bidding phase. As a result, Tank & Rast was convinced to commission the contract manufacturer from Mechernich with the new development and construction of the new access systems. In this strategic partnership, WILDDESIGN's task was to create an appealing, user-centered design for the systems' comprehensive functional performance package and to develop three design concepts. High-quality, futuristic and at the same time welcoming – this is how Sanifair aimed to greet its customers at freeways, train stations and shopping centers in the future.
Alice Bauer from Technology and Innovation Management at Tank & Rast says: "We now have an access system that offers customers a wide range of payment options and is clearly arranged. With the help of pictograms on the machine, animations on the display, and various LED frames, the customer's eyes are guided so that he immediately sees: This is my coupon, this is my change, I can also pay with a banknote."
You want to learn more about this intelligent design solution? Are you looking for new ways to enhance your product with an effective design as well? Then please directly contact the project manager.
Tim Meier, Projektleiter
There were several challenges during the redevelopment. One was the limited space available in the existing Sanifair locations, and the other was a limited budget for the new systems. Engineers from DTMT and designers from WILDDESIGN developed solutions to these problems "in a very cooperative, professional and competent collaboration," according to Bernd Bender. Terminals are now slim and tall, with solid-colored synthetic material replacing the once-common metal in multiple spots. Plastic allows for smooth surfaces and curves; there are fewer transitions and gaps, which benefits hygiene. The new systems also feature many identical components, which has a positive impact on the price-performance ratio. The continuous glass pane at the front, the completely keyboard-free operation and, last but not least, small refinements such as a beveled upper surface, which can thus not be used as a storage surface (safety, hygiene) complete the design concept. Although there are different terminal versions (left, right, turnstile, swing door), many parts are interchangeable – another plus on the financial side. Accordingly, DTMT project manager Bernd Bender is very happy with the partner product for Tank & Rast: "Together, we have created something unique that now gives the customer an island position on the market."
Since the first systems were installed in 2018, more and more Sanifair sites are being equipped with the new units. Meanwhile, new functions continue to be added to the system. Because the system is designed to be "open and expandable," Deutsche Mechatronics is currently "constantly developing new functions" for the expansion of existing and for future applications. Bernd Bender: "The guidance system for people access is designed to be future-oriented in all directions, so that additional value for the customer can derive from new technologies over the course of the system's useful life. And because the collaboration with WILDDESIGN on this project was such a success, Deutsche Mechatronics intends to use the shared experience for other projects as well.
The new Sanifair access system won the IF Design Award in the "product" category in 2020. The jury particularly acknowledged the intuitive user navigation, the many payment methods, the system's integration in the cloud, and the processing of all data in real time.