RUR undertake several types of studies for clients. Often, these studies form the early part of a development programme where the client is trying to scope out the technical feasibility, risk and development costs. Types of study contract undertaken by RUR include:
Often undertaken for government departments or large corporate R&D departments, the technology review aims to establish the state of art in robotics or advanced automation in a particular application area. RUR, with its strong links to Universities, small high technology companies and the National Advanced Robotics Research Centre, is well placed to undertake such state of art reviews. However, despite the considerable background database, such reviews can involve substantial research in the particular application area together with targeted site visits to leading practitioners. Increasingly the technology review is being undertaken by smaller, technology-based companies to confirm the market trends and leading competitors.
Concept studies are aimed at establishing the type of automated approach or robotic approach that would suit an application. As such this is a very early “look-see” at the viability of an advanced automation approach versus other ways of addressing the problem.
Feasibility studies form an essential element of any significant high technology development. The aim is to assess the feasibility of the proposed automation concept(s), identify the areas of high technical risks and develop associated risk reduction measures, evaluate alternate solutions and determine an effective phased development programme. For RUR an essential element of a feasibility study is to evaluate the proposed schemes against the leading industry standard approach.
For the client, a feasibility study provides an objective assessment of the feasibility, risks, timescale and likely costs of a development as well as providing an incremental programme of assessment and risk reduction. The feasibility study is also presents RUR staff and the client time with the opportunity to develop an integrated and collaborative approach to the development.
Risk Reduction Studies
Although usually an integrated part of the feasibility study, RUR is sometimes asked to perform an independent risk reduction study for an established project. The aim of such studies is to assess the viability and technical risks inherent in each concept being proposed and to determine whether proposed risk reduction measures are sufficient to lead to a successful outcome. The study output will recommend specific risk reduction actions and an optimum design solution.
For complex projects, risk reduction studies may form a follow on stage to an initial feasibility study. Here the aim is to investigate high risk areas in depth and demonstrate that suitable solutions can be developed. This work typically involves the prototyping of critical sub-systems (e.g. user interfaces, control systems, end effectors) together with the 3D graphical simulation of the process and / or proposed robot mechanisms.