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Efficient industrial design for the "Blue Friend”--Firefighting heroes
Time:2022-01-10 18:03:11 Author:mattDESIGN




There is a group of people who always walk against the wind in the midst of danger, fighting fires and rescuing people's lives and property, and who truly guard the safety of the people: our heroic firefighters ("Blue Friends"). Matt has worked with KAI to design a more user-friendly and easy-to-operate pump control box (which also includes the exterior paintwork of the fire engine) for the QiHang fire engine, the golden partner of the windy hero. Let's see what Matt has come up with!


Image source: QAIHANG Automotive WeChat video number


Water pumps play a vital role in the efficiency of fire fighting in fire engines. In order to improve the operability of the pump electronic control box and enhance the safety of fire fighting, matt has made a fine-grained analysis of the fire fighting emergency equipment in operational application scenarios and upgraded the design of the pump electronic control box in three aspects.


 At present, there are three main types of control and mounting options for the pump electronic control box.


Form 1: Purely mechanical watch, mechanical keypad


Form 2: with display, mechanical watch, mechanical keys


Form 3: Digital display operating panel, mechanical keys


In the past, the design of control panels often had the following characteristics.


1, most of the shape of the more simple geometric shell, only just to meet the production and use requirements 


2, less consideration of the integration between man, machine and environment (including the later maintenance and repair, etc.)


3, productization, and even family awareness is not enough


With the progress of science and technology, the interface of the control panel is developing, the degree of modernisation is gradually increasing, and the offset design has become a trend. In response to the pain points of the previous control panel design in actual operation, matt built a restoration of the use scenario, collected operational data, and carried out analysis and design from 3 dimensions.


1. Ergonomically based man-machine analysis


In the human-machine-environment system, human behaviour is influenced by subjective and objective factors, while the influence of objective factors comes from the machine and environmental factors, of which the control panel operated by the human is the main objective factor, so the study of a well-designed control panel in fire fighting operations can effectively increase the ease of operation and improve the efficiency of operation, which is very meaningful for fire fighting operations.


Image credit: Ergonomics / edited by Yulan Ding. -4th ed. -Beijing: Beijing Institute of Technology Press, 2011.4


Combined with the operational requirements of actual firefighting operations, we will sight range fine work, medium coarse work area, taking into account the mobility and range of activities of human joints, we can initially get the required sight range of 40-80cm. in actual operation, we also have to take into account the range of activities of human shoulder joints, combined with the derived optimal field of view operating area, to determine the hand-eye coordination area of the operating panel.


Image credit: Ergonomics / edited by Yulan Ding. -4th ed. -Beijing: Beijing Institute of Technology Press, 2011.4


After determining the hand-eye coordination zone, we then obtain a suitable range of sizes for the functional area of the operating panel based on the optimum radius of the human field of vision.


Image credit: Ergonomics / edited by Yulan Ding. -4th ed. -Beijing: Beijing Institute of Technology Press, 2011.4


Colour, letter and word recognition can be accomplished in a range of 30° to 60°, where the human field of view has the best radius.



Combined with the above analysis, we can come up with a more suitable size of the functional area of the operating panel: man-machine analysis


(1) The sight distance (eye to visual object) of the pump electric control box operator is 40~45cm;


(2) The span of the functional area of the pump electric control box is around 52cm for the optimal solution。


2. User-friendly functional partition analysis for ease of operation


We also collected and analysed data on the layout of the functional areas of the operating panel of the pump control box in relation to the usage scenarios.


We counted the number of buttons on the control panel, the time of operation, the frequency of operation and other variables in order to differentiate the buttons by function, mode of operation and frequency and to select the appropriate arrangement and mode of operation.




Several alternatives have been made for the layout of the functional areas, taking into account the hand-eye coordination area and the need for buttons during operation.





The main solution has a left display and right control design that meets human-machine requirements. At the same time, the main operating buttons are edged for the convenience of firefighters in pinpointing and finding the buttons; the emergency stop button is located close to the edge, effectively reducing the rate of mis-touching during operation and making it easy to find; in the limited area of the operating panel, the overall space layout has a high utilisation rate and is easy to control.


3. Refined styling, both inside and out


In terms of styling, while pursuing aesthetics, matt strives to improve the overall space layout utilisation in the design, enhance ease of control, meet the human-machine requirements during operation, reduce the rate of mis-touch during operation, and position the main buttons precisely for easy finding and operation. The beautiful design of the housing will be gradually applied to subsequent models of the fire truck, and matt will continue to assist in the upgrading of the housing.



With a complete data analysis and scenario building, matt conducted an in-depth study and elaborate design of the pump control box, from the rotation method to the user-friendly layout of the control panel to the visual appearance, and polished several sets of highly feasible pump control box solutions. After consideration of various factors,  QiHANG AUTO chose one of the simple and atmospheric solutions and gradually applied the design to the fire truck. The design of the matt, with its careful research and dedicated design in terms of man-machine analysis, functional partitioning and styling, was recognised and approved by QiHANG AUTO.



Image source: QAIHANG Auto WeChat Video No.



mattDESIGN would like to express our respect to our "blue friends" and hope that the design of the electric control box of the fire engine pump will bring higher, better and stronger safety protection to all "blue friends".