Re: Call for book chapter proposal in a forthcoming book about robot
- I work for a "Big Yellow" equipment company. I've been a designer, a researcher, and an Application and Installation Engineer. I also have a Ph.D. Individual products I worked on sell 500-5000 units a year and cost between $75K & $2M. We do simulate, but we also do a lot of testing. The simulation does save a lot of time, but it is no where sufficient enough to reflect the conditions we actually hit in the real world.
About eight years ago we had a big push to Improve our simulations and create virtual proving grounds. One division head, pushed for time, ignorant of reality, and deaf to the experts who worked for him, eliminated the prove design prototypes from the design schedule. The results were horrible and an ungodly expensive field repair program had to be done.
Simulation is important. The more complex the system, the more important it is. You don't want to spend six months ripping apart a $500K prototype because the hydraulic system had a hammer problem and there was not way to fit an accumulator in without moving 90% of the components and modifying the frame.
However, we do not have a virtual proving ground that will replace the real ones any time soon. 3D design, simulation, FMEA, prototype, modify, retest, field follow, production. Leave any one of them out and you have crap. When your product costs tens of thousands of dollars, your competition in the real world is too good for you to get away with selling crap for long.