A new and improved ION is coming

Over the past few months, we have been architecting and creating the building blocks of a completely new ION, which is coming this year.

After 3 years of developing ION into a leading Factory OS for modern manufacturing, we’ve found that the number of features we have added to the user-facing application is ripe for an overhaul. We came to this understanding after visiting our customers regularly and seeing that, when you’re building quickly, features can get stacked up – sometimes unintentionally.

At the start of 2023, we set out to scope this effort and begin preliminary designs. We prioritized these 3 pillars for ION users:

  1. Performance
  2. Workflows
  3. Aesthetic


Our strategy at First Resonance has always been to drive value fast. Other manufacturing platforms index on showing fancy features in pilot for months on end without deploying value out to the manufacturing floor. At First Resonance, it is important to get the end users using ION now. Our users have things to build!

We now have thousands of ION users using ION every single week to move material, execute runs, track quality issues, and manage manufacturing in a flexible and data-driven way fit for 2023. As the number of companies using ION has increased, so too has the volume of the data in their systems. This has led to the natural series of events where data volume weighs down the application.

Traditional manufacturing systems stay performant by compressing or removing the data in the system. In the era of Big Data, we are taking a different approach with ION. We want to ensure that you always have the data you need and can track your manufacturing processes throughout history. This can present a tradeoff in performance, however we're employing new modern web technologies that allow us to significantly improve how the system loads data AND also optimize productivity for the end-user. This approach is going to bring a much faster and lightweight feel to the new ION.

By modularizing page loads and deeply analyzing the user case for each workflow, the new ION is bringing 10x the application performance, and in some workflows, even more.

By focusing on how users use the application and employing data to understanding how workflows are loaded today, we feel confident that we are building a foundation that will significantly accelerate future workflows while prioritizing the productivity of the end users using ION.


Over the course of the last 2 years, we have added a large number of features to ION, including check ins from the factory floor, more powerful version control with mBOMs, more functionality to our issue tracking, and custom attributes throughout the application, including in large models like Inventory. These features help unify the process and material tracking that is necessary for fast-paced and scaling manufacturing businesses.

As people who are obsessed with UX, it became increasingly clear that we have a big opportunity to step back and rethink the overall UX of the workflows that manufacturers depend on everyday. So, that's what we did.

We believe that the technicians and operators on the factory floor are key contributors in the multiplayer sport that is manufacturing. Making these individuals faster and giving them more clarity in their jobs is a win for everyone. So, with the new ION, we are rearranging workflows with the end user in mind. The first workflow we are overhauling is the one with the most use - the Runs workflow.

The entire UX is being rearranged to be more goal-oriented and optimized to maximize productivity in critical workflows. We are tucking away certain secondary actions to make sure the primary work is the focus, and we’re doing this without compromising accessibility to critical functions. Furthermore, we are taking away certain redundant workflows that can be snapped into one workflow that more people in the manufacturing operation can rally around. Sometimes, less is more, and in some of these cases, we believe there is a big win by getting more people in the manufacturing process on the same plane of execution.

These transformed workflows focus on moving toward the most important goals – understanding how to build, collecting the data necessary to move fast and maintain traceability, and ship great hardware products.

The style guide we used in designing the new ION was based on input we received directly from customers. Varying font sizes and a color signaling system will improve visibility and accessibility for users.


It’s 2023. Your expectations for the digital systems in your lives are high, as are ours. We have transformed the aesthetic of ION to acknowledge that this is where you work. If you are going to spend multiple hours a day working with a critical system, it should be light, snappy, and productive. These are the principles we’ve brought into the aesthetic overhaul of ION.

A preview of the cleaner, more straightforward UI interface
in the new ION, being released later this year

The new aesthetic is clean, concise, and light. We’ve intentionally simplified the layout to keep users focused on the essential workflows for a pleasant and helpful experience so you can get on your way to building.

In certain workflows, like in the Run execution workflow, we optimized screens to be easier to touch on a tablet. In other workflows, such as inventory, we are maximizing for density of information useful for desktop workloads and moving a lot of information in bulk. These aesthetic upgrades are built with intention and to really bring ease and delight into the daily workflows of the people using ION to power their day-to-day.

A better ION is coming – fast

We have learned a lot over the years at First Resonance, and we feel very grateful that the scale of daily usage of ION has gotten to the point where we can take a step back and redesign it with all of those leanings. We are incredibly proud of our team and thankful to our customers for guiding the development of this architecture overhaul.

We believe that the values and focus that we’ve brought into this redesign will be the foundation of not just a better ION, but the most advanced and usable manufacturing interface ever built.

Manufacturing workflows are not easy. Handling the large amount of data coming out of manufacturing systems is not easy. Meeting the needs of engineering workflows. quality workflows, material workflows, and factory operations is not easy. By working closely with you to identify where the most critical parts of your operation are and applying thoughtful detail, we are confident that the new ION will be the foundation of a better era for manufacturing. We can’t wait to have you try it!

The new ION is scheduled to launch this year. You can join the beta by emailing hello@firstresonance.io.