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#IDMTESTTALKS - Pablo Cuenca | Design Engineer

01 february 2023

#IDMTESTTALKS - Pablo Cuenca | Design Engineer

1- As a design engineer, what is your role within the IDM Test technical team?

I have 3 main functions:
A- Definition of a new aesthetic line for IDM equipment.
B- Mechanical redesign of equipment already in our catalogue, with the aim of improving reliability, implementing new functions, reducing costs or reducing assembly times.
C- Design of new equipment from scratch, to expand our catalogue.

2- Do you consider that the aesthetics of the equipment in our sector is a differential aspect capable of adding value to the product itself?

No doubt about it. But I qualify: The number one goal is to produce equipment that works as the customer expects it to. Accurate, reliable and easy to use. At IDM test we already meet all these requirements, thanks to equipment that has a highly optimised mechanical and electronic design, our own software and technology at the forefront of our sector. But when it comes to reaching the market, it is necessary that those who are going to buy our machines, when they see them, perceive all of the above.
The way to achieve this is an exterior at the same level as the interior. I believe that with the aesthetic redesign we are carrying out, we are making our equipment reflect the quality and reliability it has.

3- To what extent is the study of the standard testing the equipment key to the design of the equipment?
The truth is that it is the base. The customer buys our equipment to certify products according to certain standards. So the design of our equipment has to be geared towards making that certification as easy as possible to obtain.
During the development process, many other factors come into play, but the standard is the backbone that guides us.

4- In the conceptualisation of equipment design, in addition to the standard itself, you have to take into account multiple factors such as: cost, tolerances, resistance, environmental conditions, etc. Where do you start?
The stages we follow are broadly the same as those shown in the following diagram. In each one of them we have to take into account a lot of variables (in the diagram I show some of them), which also affect each other. It's like a construction game like the ones we used to play when we were kids, but in a big way. But we also have to look for results that are economically viable and allow us to be competitive in the market, so not just any solution will do. It's a lot of fun.

5- Usability, accessibility, user-friendly ... We all hear these adjectives a lot. How do you work on the usability of equipment to make its use less and less complex?

In this case, in my opinion, the aim is to look for an interface as similar as possible to the one we are all used to using, that of mobile phones. In this aspect, I consider that it is important not to try to invent the wheel and I seek to create a navigation system as similar as possible to that of today's apps. A navigation logic of this type makes it familiar to any user and makes them feel comfortable and at ease when using our devices. At the design level, it is necessary to know some theory, to prioritise the content of the interfaces, to use colours that contrast correctly to facilitate reading at first sight and to respect the minimum font size and clickable elements.

6- Apart from the design, working on each piece of equipment from the inside is key to better performance. Is the component selection part the most complicated part of the process? 

I couldn't tell you which is the most difficult, really. But of course choosing the right components is vital. A bad selection would be the equivalent of going out to play a basketball game with 3 players. We may play fabulously, but we will rarely win.
In this aspect (as in almost all) Juanjo is the reference, in the vast ocean of engineering components that exist, he is the one who has the knowledge to manage and find the most suitable ones. He has a library in the back of his head and when he looks at the ceiling it's as if he's passing bookshelves.

7- Finally, what do you like most about your work at IDM Test and which project are you most proud of?
What I am most proud of is the new aesthetic line of our equipment, for which I am responsible. The project I have enjoyed the most is the development of the COF 10 friction tester, which is a piece of equipment that I designed from scratch. The first conceptual design that has to be done on a job of this type, it is a very creative process and I enjoy it very much.


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