The brief


Caterpillar has a system that is widely appreciated in the industry and an award winning lever, why would they need to come to us?

The Caterpillar system, from propellers to the bridge has a potential in many marine applications. When targeting the tugboat market they experienced lack of interest due to the ergonomic comfort needed for the extreme demands and intensive use on the tugboat bridge. Our job was to redesign the control lever interface from scratch to meet the expectations of the market.



Our approach


We tailored a team of multiple competences working closely together in sprints.

Sprint is a format we use to effectively get results that can be tested with users. The process is repeated with a set goal that can easily be evaluated and understood. From understanding the user to making tangible insights, from the broad brush to the smallest detail, from concepts in foam to evaluating and making production-ready components.



Process & result

With the aim to design an ergonomic lever for high-intensive usage, great focus was put on studying the actual usage and requirements in the field.

From the very start prototypes were produced, which allowed us to verify concepts rapidly and enabling a short time to market. Several iterations of prototypes with gradual refinement were produced and evaluated by the users, facilitated by rapid prototyping.


Comfortable & accurate 360 maneuvering

The final result was designed to be comfortable during long shifts by allowing user multiple ways of interacting with the lever. We integrated a range of elements to give the tug master constant visual and haptic feedback on direction and power and enable 100%, uninterrupted, focus on the task - to safely maneuver the ship

Key success factors

  • Extensive field research

  • Iterative sprint process and continuous user validation

  • Close cooperation with client


Caterpillar Propulsion, a global producer of propulsion systems based in Hönö on the west coast of Sweden.

“I was seldom part of such a successful project!"

- Adnan Kadribasic Product manager Control systems, Caterpillar Propulsion Production AB



The team