In today’s highly industrialised and automated world, with increased focus on equipment security and operator safety , the user experience in terms of a human’s interaction with a product or appliance has gained tremendous importance.
When Memmert, a leading manufacturer of industrial and laboratory thermal ovens, was searching for a reliable as well as ergonomically-friendly latching solution for their next generation appliance, the company worked with Southco, a global manufacturer of latches, hinges and fasteners, to develop a locking mechanism that has improved the ovens’ quality as well as efficiency.
Memmert’s primary focus for their new product was to enhance the end user experience within a laboratory environment. The latching and handle mechanism on the oven door had been identified as improvement areas.
The previous generation of oven appliances incorporated multipoint latching into the outer main door, sealing the door panel against leakage and contamination and helping to maintain constant temperatures. For the new product the need arose to maintain the necessary level of compression whilst enhancing the aesthetic design and user experience.
“We were looking to improve the functionality and design of our handle and locking mechanism,” said Christoph Oster, Project Management R&D, Memmert. “We needed an innovative and easy to use system and a lock with consistent, reliable performance. The door needed a smooth push lock system to minimise vibration that could potentially effect the running process and goods housed inside.”
Memmert sought a latching solution that allowed the user to access the oven’s interior without having to use their hands to open the door. The latching mechanism was still required to prevent the door from opening accidentally.
“The usability of the handling was a vital element; we needed to create a system that was easy to open and close by hand or knee and also gave flexibility in user height,” said Oster.
The new oven latch is based on Southco’s R5 Draw Latch – a heavy duty mechanism chosen for its high tensile load, concealed installation and proven functionality in industrial applications. The latch incorporates over centre locking functionality, ensuring vibration resistance and an integrated secondary latching feature, creating constant compression of the door seal. The latching system helps to improve and simplify the ergonomics of use by making it easier for the operator to open/close. The locking and unlocking of the door works smoothly and reliably over the product lifespan. The handle mechanism offers an ergonomic and safe handling for the user.
End users value Memmert’s new generation of appliances, with the door handle playing an important role in their perception. In sensitive medical laboratory applications, the handle provides safety for tests and allows for smooth operation. For industrial use, it is sturdy enough to ensure longevity for years of multiple repetitive stress tests.
“The new handle and locking has been a fantastic addition. The enhanced functionality and improved design has added value to our range of products by improving the quality and efficiency of the locking mechanism and handle,” said Oster.