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Innovation in the market for electric motors

Küffer Elektro-Technik AG (KETAG)

Every product development process is spiced with a portion of uncertainty: Does the app work as we imagined? Will it be received by the customer? Will it be used properly? ... Involving the users early on in the development process minimises the risk for the entire project. KETAG has recognised this and tested the marketability of its new nameplate app thoroughly together with the Ergonomen.

Challenge and goal

Electric motors are omnipresent: cable cars, lifts, tunnel fans, machines in manufacturing and much more are electrically driven. KETAG's core business is the testing, inspection, maintenance and replacement of such electric motors. The order clarification usually takes place directly on site or by telephone. This is time-consuming and resource-intensive. KETAG has therefore developed an app in collaboration with the FHNW to identify the electric motors by means of the type plates. Customers on site scan the nameplates with the app and transmit the specifications to KETAG. If a motor needs to be replaced, the app immediately suggests a suitable replacement. The Ergonomen tested the marketability of the new app and helped KETAG to reduce the market launch risk.

Fig.1: Scanning of nameplates made easy: the new KETAG app.

Procedure and methods

In a first step, the app was assessed by the experts of the Ergonomen with regard to user-friendliness. The concrete suggestions for optimisation were incorporated into the app by developers from the FHNW.

In a second step, we conducted a usability short test with KETAG customers. In addition to the expert perspective, the app could thus be validated by an external user perspective.

Fig.2: Test environment

Fig.3: Test setup


The project clarified which requirements the users have for the nameplate app and showed which hurdles still have to be overcome on the way to marketability. Thanks to the two-stage approach in the early development phase of the app, it was possible to quickly and cost-effectively obtain certainty and uncover potential risks. Once again, it became clear how important it is to test the app with real users. Thanks to the inclusion of the user perspective, some blind spots could be uncovered.

Fig.4: Viusalised optimisation proposal for KETAG's nameplate app.

Customer benefits

The project provided valuable insights into the marketability of the nameplate app and reduced the respective innovation risk. KETAG also benefited from the fact that customer expectations surrounding the introduction of the new digital solution were gathered well before the actual market launch. Involving the user in the innovation process makes it possible to set the course early on so that the product will be successful.

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