The control cabin of the Knape Group

A comfortable workplace


Analysis: Human centered
Industrial design (ID)
Usability testing
User experience design (UX)


Knape Gruppe

The task

Track tamping machines are used to maintain the track bed of railway tracks by compacting the ballast by mechanical means. For the individual in the cabin, this means eight hours of fully concentrating on highly complex tasks while operating the tamping machine. And all of this takes place in an area of 9 m² – day and night, in hot and cold weather. As the Unimat 4S machine was due for modernisation, working conditions in the control cabin were to be improved by making the workplace more ergonomic and more modern, alongside new control elements such as a joystick and touchscreen.

The solution

We launched the project by conducting in-depth user interviews. To identify the actual needs of users, we looked very closely and we listened carefully. Based on this, we developed a complete user story, transferring our findings swiftly into a simplified 1:1 mock-up. Together with the users, we iterated on the mock-up and tested our model’s usability until drafting the final concept.

At the centre of the redesigned cabin was the new seat, which is characterised by optimised ergonomics and high comfort. The seat is embedded in a spacious work cabin with a modern design suitable for small series production. All of the operating elements are easily accessible, and all output devices are readily visible without glare – which also goes for the machine itself due to its large window areas. The storage space with its clear-cut structure and the integrated lighting concept create a modern, neat workplace and a comfortable working environment around the clock.

With its mock-up, zweigrad enabled us to easily and quickly make choices that were vital in ensuring a user-friendly, high-end operator’s cabin.

Jens Kleeberg, Product Manager, Knape Group