Acuity Ultra R2

Fujifilm

Designing An Industrial Digital Printer

Fujifilm | Designing an Industrial Wide Format Digital Printer | Industrial Design | User-Centred Design, Testing, Design For Manufacture

How does the world’s leader in print technology start designing their own award-winning industrial digital printers?

Multi Award Winning

Improved
Usability &
Versatility

Trusted by Industry Experts

Designed For Longevity & Repairability

The Journey

Recognising Fujifilm’s core expertise lies in technology; they set about finding the right creative partner to bring fresh perspective and expertise in design thinking.

This three-year project involved observational research, brand stragegy, GUI design, and intensely detailed design development to solve over 30 separate technical and usability challenges.

The Result? A printer that met manufacturing requirements and exceeded Fujifilm’s expectations. The new Acuity Ultra has had a tremendous reception from the sales teams, distributors and now customers around the world.

Don't just take our word for it...

David Burton | Fujifilm | Business Director

“This was the first time we worked with Realise and we’re delighted we selected them as our design partner. The depth of what they brought, particularly in ensuring it was manufactured as we needed, far outstripped our expectations of what ‘the designers do’. The end to end process they took us through has become known as ‘the Realise Factor’ round here!”

 

Shaun Horan | SRT Marine | Head of Development

Realise Design are an outstanding design agency. We have worked with them for many years on a variety of marine projects. They are highly competent, have a friendly approachable team, and work in a flexible and organised manner. I would 100% recommend Realise.

 

Alex Smith | Airhead | Co-Founder

We worked with Realise Design to create the Red Dot Award winning Airhead pollution mask. The Realise team were outstanding from start to finish, providing excellent ideas, guidance and expertise, right through to the manufacture of the product. Not only are they a highly skilled group but also a great bunch of people to work with.

 

Dr. Nick Gompertz | Earswitch | Founder

"Having a trusted partner as a Start-up makes a massive difference; and Realise provided exactly that. They have been nothing but exemplary in their approach, dedicated, responsive and providing amazing design work, where even the first concept design exceeded our expectations. EarSwitch has certainly gained from Realise’s involvement, who have really felt like part of our team"

 

James Wedlock | JM Plumbing & Heating | Co-Founder

We have worked with Realise over the past three years on two great projects. Coming from a construction background we were unfamiliar with product design, yet Realise have guided us through the entire process. They are a fantastic team of talented individuals and provide a well organised service that has been a pleasure to be a part of.

 

Kevin Jenner | Fujifilm | Marketing Manager

In my capacity as marketing manager at Fujifilm Graphics I have worked with the team at Realise over several years on a number of projects. The Realise team have been instrumental in a total redesign of our industrial printer portfolio. From zero industry knowledge they immersed themselves in the world of print studying every aspect of printer application and usage. Their insight has resulted in a ground-breaking series of printers with ergonomic design at its core. I very much look forward to continuing our relationship into the future. And finally, on personal level, they're a really decent bunch of people to work with!

 

Matthew Gladstone | Cammotion | Managing Director

Andrew and his team were incredibly supportive and helpful in getting the ROC2X developed and made. They immediately understood my brief and worked closely with us through all the detailed iterations to fit so much into such a compact space, getting all the additional functionality working. And the portable control desk is still one of the most lovely things to handle that we’ve ever worked with! People love it when they pick it up!

 

Thomas Bell | Close Air Solutions | Technical Director

Working with Realise was a pleasure. They made an effort to ensure that they understood our requirements properly. The review processes were very useful in assuring us that our requirements would be met. Where there were options to choose from, the Realise team explained very well the advantages and disadvantages of each option. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them to anyone for a bespoke design.

 

Mike Debens | Droneliner | Design Director

We're designing next-generation air freighters called Droneliners. Realise fleshed-out our engineering skeletons, turning line drawings into something investors were able to see in the flesh. Realise literally gave the product a face - and they did the job beautifully.

 

Warren Lester | SRT Marine | Senior Project Manager

Some of the best industrial designers I've worked with. Never satisfied with just doing what is asked of them but proactively going the extra mile to deliver winning products.

 

Radius Windshields

Realise Design have been a fantastic team to work with over the last year. A brilliant group of industrial designers who helped us achieve a very successful launch of our brand and product (RAD Shock-mount). We couldn't be more proud of our product and grateful to the whole team!

 

Harry Young | Airhead | Co-Founder

Excellent team to work with - they make the whole process smooth and straightforward. Clear communication, outstanding design expertise, great people. We won a Red Dot award for the Airhead pollution mask developed with Realise, so the results speak for themselves. Recommended!

 

About Fujifilm Print

Fujifilm’s Inkjet Systems Global Development HQ in Broadstairs, UK is responsible for the design and development of their wide format printers, the massive industrial equivalent of a home inkjet. These machines offer print factories phenomenal print quality, speed and return on investment; with the flexibility to programme a complex mix of jobs into their high-volume workflows; jobs which typically range from thousands of stickers of varying designs, to signs, billboards or even building wraps.

We’d like to tell you the design story behind their all-new mighty machine…

So How Did This Come About?

Fujifilm have historically led this market based, not on gimmicky features or marketing budget, but their deep comitment to developing the very best print head and ink technology.

They clearly did a great job, building one of the most loyal fanbases amongst print shop owners and managers, with many of these machines unique in still operating profitably two decades later.

Three years ago however, even their most loyal customers were starting to be swayed by the major competitors’ heavy investment in design and marketing. Fujifilm realised they needed to think bigger and made the bold decision to redesign their entire range from the ground up, to ensure that the best, cleanest print technology could again be an easy choice.

Recognizing their core expertise lay in the technology, they set about finding the right creative partner to bring fresh perspective and expertise in design thinking.

“We were very inspired by Fujifilm’s ‘honourable technology’ approach, the loyalty of their following, and the Tokyo Design Centre’s great work in so many other areas.

The place to start was with the people who would actually use it – to understand what they valued about the brand, their goals and what their day-to-day difficulties were. The insights generated proved a crucial foundation of what followed…”

Andrew Redman
Managing Director

Investigated

the situation…

Aside from learning the machines and technology, we interviewed and observed a cross-section of real people from the service engineers to print house owners to gain a huge range of insights, developed into a set of personas that informed decision making throughout our design.

Defined

the brand strategy…

Great products are based on strong brand strategy. In this case we developed the brand strategy, including the key customer benefits, the brand essence and core values. We turn these into the visual brand language that enable us to drive real meaning into the product aesthetics.

Designed

the product…

Aiming to creatively push thinking, we explored the machine architecture and brainstormed around key requirements to create hundreds of ideas, which we extensively sketched and crafted into multiple printer concepts.

After assessing concepts against the brief, we compiled the best ideas into a few rationalised combinations. These were further refined and visualised in CAD to communicate with the wider Fujifilm team and users, gaining valuable feedback, to help select the best route forwards.

Exciting new concepts aren’t of any value if they don’t work in reality. Taking great ideas, making them work and ensuring they are delivered by the manufacturers is what we do best.

In this case, it took three years of continuous detailed design – problem solving, prototyping and testing for every piece of structural framework, mechanical action and functional component, both testing ideas in the UK and working closely on-ste for long periods with the Manufacturers in the Far East.

The result was The BETA Prototype, that answered all the requirements in the brief, was the right solution for customers and ready for production”.

On-Site Development

Ink System.

A good example of caring about the detail – we’d noticed that ink spills and mess were the norm in the old ink bays. Further questioning revealed one of the causes was putting a 5L refill in a 5L tanks resulted in lots of messy half empty bottles. So we redesigned new 6L, easier fill, no spill bottles, which had enough space to take a whole 5L refill.

Service Bay.

Testing Makes Perfect.

CAD and simulation are great, but we know that physical real-world testing is essential to find problems, facilitate new ideas and validate designs, which you can’t achieve working on a screen.

Finalise and Make.

Acuity Ultra Designed & Delivered…

Every identified problem

Solved.

Here’s a few of the main ones…

01 | Door

A huge door needed to access the print bay all day long, this was engineered to open & close smoothly with minimal effort, taking up none of the print shop’s precious space.

02 | Service Bay

We completely redesigned a rationalised print head garage and service bay with easy access for all maintenance tasks.

03 | Workstation

“The flight deck” got extra attention to create a much more efficient and comfortable base for operators to drive the printer from.

04 | Ink Bay

All the ink based tasks were gathered into one area, clearly laid out and easy to access.

We also designed nicer ink tanks, 6 litres in volume, to fit the full standard 5 litre refill without spillage or annoying left overs.

“This was the first time we worked with Realise and we’re delighted we selected them as our design partner. The depth of what they brought, particularly in ensuring it was manufactured as we needed, far outstripped our expectations of what ‘the designers do’. The end to end process they took us through has become known as ‘the Realise Factor’ round here!”

David Burton
Marketing Director

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