Reverse Engineered and Redesigned Commercial Car Wash User Interface
Epec Engineered Technologies was asked to redesign and update the aesthetics of a commercial car wash user interface panel. Because the original engineering and data files were not available, the task also required Epec to reverse engineer all of the circuitry in the panel in addition to revamping the overall look. The end product would need to operate in an abusive industrial environment and with a system warranty of 20 years, so durability and reliability were of paramount concern.
Because the user interface panel would be constantly exposed to water and cleaning agents, Epec selected a hardcoated polyester for the graphic overlay material. With excellent resistance to chemicals, solvents and abrasion, the polyester coating would stand up well to the difficult environment. A matte texture finish was applied to the top surface (except the clear display window) to reduce the sun glare and increase the durability of the polyester coating.
The original control panel used soft mechanical switches and very slight embossing. Epec improved the user friendliness of the panel by designing the membrane switch with highly reliable steel metal domes and pillow embossed keys. The metal domes would let the users feel when a key was fully pressed even when wearing gloves in the winter. The embossed keys (raised area over each key) would allow the user to easily locate the keys while maintaining a visual on the car wash stages.
The redesigned human-machine interface also replaced circuit board through hole LEDs with embedded surface mount LEDs and used a mylar tail instead of a ribbon cable. An aluminum backing was added for more durability.
Original Design of User Interface
Reverse Engineered and Redesigned User Interface
Most noticeably to users, the user interface's graphics were updated, giving it a more modern appearance and brighter look. The key colors were changed to increase contrast and all lettering was increased in size, making the keys more easily read during operation.
The customer now has a new car wash user interface panel with an updated look that is user friendly. Epec's efforts to increase the panel's durability will ensure that it will be able to last even in its harsh outdoor industrial environment. The control panel is now used across the nation at many major car wash and car service centers.