Behind the scenes of Ink self-service manufacturing

Inside Ink: The story behind our self-service solutions, as told by our Head of Hardware Systems, Yurik Schwab

Behind the scenes of Ink self-service manufacturing
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Sleek v2.0 public release is here

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What has changed in our latest release?

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All new features available for all public channel users

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Coding collaboration with over 200 users at once

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Ink Innovation’s journey in developing hardware systems began in 2011 with its first deployment in Aalborg Airport, Denmark. From the beginning, we recognised the importance of a strategy of migrating from counter-based passenger processing on self-service devices and mobile. Since 2018, we installed more than 170 units that serve Jet2 passengers throughout the UK and Europe.

This case fuelled a strategic decision in 2021 to bring Ink's hardware manufacturing in-house. After the pandemic, we introduced a family of self-service devices, advancing our vision of a complete ecosystem for connected passenger journeys.

To uncover the story behind Ink's hardware manufacturing, we asked Yurik Schwab, Head of Hardware Systems, to share insights into the processes that bring Ink devices to modern airports.

Why did we bring self-service development in-house?

There wasn't just one reason Ink decided to manufacture self-service devices in-house. By switching to in-house manufacturing, we took full control of quality, design and customisation.

Quality is non-negotiable at Ink. Once the design is finalised, our products undergo rigorous quality checks. Every aspect, from material integrity to functionality and user experience, is meticulously examined through a multi-layered testing process. This commitment to quality ensures that each Ink hardware device reaches you, is built to last, and is ready to go.

By producing most components in-house, we maintain high standards of quality and security. In-house manufacturing allows tighter control over sensitive information and hardware components. Ink has the ability to customise aspects of the devices to meet specific deployment needs and execute projects of any size.

From idea to user-centric design

Our design process is dynamic and collaborative. We have a dedicated hardware design team, but ideas can come from anywhere within the company – engineers, product managers, and customer support can spark the initial inspiration.

The best ideas come from diverse perspectives and cross-functional brainstorming. The team then employs our internal design tools to rapidly prototype and test the concept.

We've invested heavily in creating a self-service design environment, which means our team has access to modern 3D printing technologies, laser cutters, and even CNC machines. This allows for rapid prototyping, where we can build rough models and get them into users' hands for feedback early on.

We take user opinion seriously and use it to iterate quickly. This fosters a culture of innovation and ownership within the team, where everyone feels empowered to contribute and see their ideas come to life. It ensures that our hardware is genuinely user-centric. 

The user's focus and obsession with details are fundamental principles of Ink's design philosophy, and they are shown in the final product.

Ink’s 3S principles: Smaller, Smarter, Simpler

At Ink, we're constantly looking for ways to reduce manufacturing complexity. Elegant devices are the perfect platform for delivering an intuitive user experience.

Self-service is evolving with units that are simpler to deploy and retrofit, easy to use, and smaller, so they take up less space in the terminal. We already leverage mobile phones to simplify the interaction with our devices. Our deep understanding of workflows that minimise interactions with the devices makes Ink the ideal partner for reducing the net cost of handling each passenger.

It aligns with Ink's core principles for product development: making our products smaller, smarter, and simpler to use

Ready to see the future of self-service?

About the Author

Elena is the Chief Marketing Officer of Ink Innovation. She is responsible for overseeing the planning, development and execution of marketing initiatives as well as leading media relations and corporate communications.

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