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Design at item

More than 4500 components for mechanical and factory equipment engineering – and we’re not done yet. The item Industrietechnik portfolio has been growing continuously since 1976. What’s more, all products are compatible with one another and permanently available.

This makes perfect sense, since everything needs to fit together – both technically and aesthetically – irrespective of when each component was launched onto the market. To make sure this is the case, item employs a three-person design team.

Involved from the outset

The design team and staff from the product development department work closely together, right from the concept phase. After all, the ultimate aim is for all item products to boast outstanding functionality and excellent design in equal measure.

During the design and development process, it is not only the individual elements that are considered, but also the way they interact with existing components.

The work of the design team therefore includes not only product advance development, but also design assessment of all products that are developed at item. The team’s remit also includes interior design and trade fair stands.

Design team video

In design, our aim is to strip things down to the essentials, while also focusing on longevity, aesthetics and quality.

Product designer Carsten Schulz on the subject of his work, the item design philosophy and winning the German Design Award Gold 2022 for the reinterpretation of the item Joining Plates.

An ambition that pays off

Over the years, efforts to achieve that perfect combination of functionality and timeless design have been rewarded with many design awards.

Below, we would like to present three award-winning product highlights.

Joining Plates

True classics of mechanical engineering, Joining Plates are used to reinforce constructions and are attached to them by means of screws. They usually take the form of simple sheets of steel with holes drilled in them.

In 2021, item reinterpreted the Joining Plate, creating a product that offers the same rigidity, but contains 40% less material. Thanks to the clever reshaping, the Joining Plates stand out in terms of their design, but that’s not all – they also boast the rigidity of a much thicker steel plate.

This achievement has won two prestigious awards – the iF Design Award 2021 and the German Design Award Gold 2022.

Operating elements Pi

When users start working with a new system, grips and operating screws are among the first components that they experience through touch. The aim of the operating elements Pi is to make this first impression as positive as possible.

What’s more, item has certainly succeeded in this aim, as confirmed by the German Design Award judges. They were impressed, for example, by the “aesthetic quality that is exceptionally high by industrial standards” and presented item with the German Design Award Gold 2018.


Do you want to position accessories and working materials separately at the ideal height and in the perfect arrangement, quickly and easily? Thanks to the item toolpanel® System – an efficient solution for organising work benches – you can do exactly that.

With a total of 19 system grooves on the front and rear, the aluminium Groove Plate Profile offers plenty of space for holders and accessories, whether these take the form of spanners, screwdrivers or tool bits.

The perfect pairing of ease of use and the consistent design language of the toolpanel® System impressed the judges of the Red Dot Award 2018.

Design that impresses customers, too

We aim for aesthetic quality in all our products – something our customers both notice and appreciate. After all, they are also using our products to present themselves to their own customers.

We would like to showcase a few impressive customer projects here.

Vensys, an Italian company specialising in customised automation and robotics solutions, puts its trust in our Line XMS – the winner of multiple design awards – for building its machine cabins.

When Vensys was choosing the base construction, design was one of its main criteria. Besides the light weight and excellent stability of the item products, their aesthetic qualities were therefore also a key factor in the decision.

In a separate multimedia story about the Vensys solutions, we showcase a customised robotic soldering station and a machine for assembling and testing flasher units.

The “Robot Workstation 1600x800” is a mobile work bench for cobot applications that we created in collaboration with technology company ABB. Many different devices can be attached to the integrated Groove Plate, so a wide range of processes are possible.

Inside, there is plenty of storage space for the robot controller and other accessories. Operating elements (such as an emergency stop button) can also be integrated into the corners, and brackets for a security scanner can be attached there, too.

Thanks to their integrated cable conduits, the Profiles XMS that are used provide an elegant cable management solution. You can order the construction directly from item (project number EX-01581, excluding the robot) or via the ABB webshop.

A hat trick for Line XMS! American technology company PerkinElmer also puts its trust in the profiles with closed outer surfaces, using them in their explorer™ workstations.

These explorer™ workstations are used for the automated analysis of PCR tests for COVID-19 and can process up to 10,000 samples in 24 hours. Have we piqued your interest? Then read our item blog to find out more!

item has a very classy look that suits our quality and design requirements and is fitting for a premium automation solution.

Anne Millahn, Product Manager at PerkinElmer

Away from industry, the “Wild Abode” installation, which was launched at The Expo for Design, Innovation & Technology, is based on aluminium profiles from item.

Just under four metres high and measuring 58 square metres, the abstracted home being overgrown by pine trees made a huge impression when it was showcased in 2017. The following year, it even made the final round of the SBID International Design Excellence Awards.

You can find out more about the installation and its creators – Great Gulf, STACKLAB and Community Agency – on our item blog.

item on Netflix

Thanks to their characteristic combination of stability, modularity and an aesthetically appealing design, item profiles have even been making an appearance on Netflix since April 2021 – alongside stars such as Anna Kendrick (“Pitch Perfect”) and Toni Collette (“The Sixth Sense”).

When it came to the science-fiction thriller “Stowaway“, the film production team was looking for a modular system that it could use to construct a spaceship and space station. More than 800 kg of item products were used. They’re easy to spot, too, such as in the form of a giant solar panel rig.

You can find out all about the part item played and the collaboration with the film crew on our item blog.

The products behind the design

Like what you see? Then find out more now!

Flexible, robust and high quality – the item MB Building Kit System has been the perfect solution for mechanical engineering for more than 40 years. With over 4500 compatible components, you are sure to find the solution you are looking for, whatever the task at hand.