reference Project

Fully automatic coffee machine «Black&White4 neo»

Thermoplan develops and produces fully automatic coffee machines of the highest Swiss quality for professional use in the catering and commercial sectors. With the development of the «Black&White4 neo», the product portfolio was expanded to include a high-performance machine for the entry-level sector with comparatively low daily demand.

The cooperation between Thermoplan and Helbling in this project began at the very beginning of the product development process with the identification of the market needs of the target markets and user groups. In a structured and systematic manner - along the design thinking process - the requirements for the «Black&White4 neo» were jointly determined and defined. The interdisciplinary development team from Thermoplan and Helbling worked together according to an agile approach with a tight schedule and defined scope of delivery. Helbling's experience and expertise in the development of household and industrial appliances produced in large quantities and in the field of sensor technology led to new approaches to solutions in this product segment.

Thanks to mutual acceptance and commitment, early and close collaboration with the various client-side stakeholders (development, procurement, production, and quality assurance) allowed an efficient and rapid approach by all the units involved and a smooth transfer of the development results from Helbling to Thermoplan in the final phase. Regular and transparent reporting to Thermoplan's top management enabled quick decisions to be made. All in line with our guiding motto «innovation, together we do it».

Key Figures

  • 10 inch touch display
  • ThermoplanConnect- capable
  • Removable brewing unit
  • Milk module with cooled fresh milk
  • Water tank and fixed water connection
  • Energy-efficient instant water heater with control software and calcification detection
  • Hot water, steam lance, and powder discharge
  • Level monitoring for fresh and waste water tank, drip tray and beans
  • 1 or 2 coffee grinders with one large or two smaller bean containers
  • Automatic cup detection
  • Modular design for coffee and other options (tea, milk, steam, powder)
  • Long service intervals
  • Durable, serviceable and repairable

Our Contribution

  • Determination of customer needs according to double diamond methodology
  • Development of the overall system concept
  • Evaluation of components and suppliers
  • Development, procurement, construction and commissioning of endurance test rigs
  • Integration of the industrial design
  • Development of the complete mechanics up to 0-series
  • Development of the tool falling parts incl. DFM loops up to 0-series (FOT)
  • Technical support of the manufacturers and support of the procurement
  • Conception of the electronics and review of the implementation
  • Support of firmware development
  • Procurement and testing of prototypes of the complete system
  • Development and integration of various new sensors for monitoring functions
  • Project management of the system development
  • Created all project documents on the customer's PLM tool


Helbling successfully developed the «Black&White4 neo» together with Thermoplan to the 0 series in a short time despite the Covid pandemic. The coffee machine was successfully launched on the market and taps the segment in the lower performance range for office, hotel and self-service convenience stores.


Christian Lobeto

Hohlstrasse 614
8048 Zürich

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