WAY OF WORKING
Way of working MTA with our own V²-model.
Seeing the first prototype system working is the coolest feeling there is! It’s something you’ve worked on with so many different people and to see it really come to life is insane.
Lead Mechatronic Technician
Rik van de Wiel
By combining both in the final phase of our V2 model, we can keep the impact and lead-time to series production small.
Tom is involved in the verification and validation of the system architecture from the start of a product development to series production. In the development phase, he defines the most effective unit and final test strategy.
As lead mechatronics technician, Rik is able to assemble and test mechatronic machines and (prototype) systems. Among other things, he provides feedback and advice to the development teams on functional and qualitative improvements in the design.
“Seeing the first prototype system working is the coolest feeling there is! It’s something you’ve worked on with so many different people and to see it really come to life is insane.
Minor design details of the product might be improved in the final phase based on test results and evolving insights. Production is finalizing the plans for series production based on the lessons learned from the prototypes. By combining both in the final phase of our V2 model, we can minimize the impact on the lead-time to series production.”
Tom Bakker, system integrator and Rik van de Wiel, lead mechatronics technician, will tell us more about how this process works. It is important to know that the entire product is made up of different units and modules. These units and modules can function stand-alone and have already been tested before being combined into the final product.
- Verification based on testing; ‘does it meet it’s specifications?’
- Delivery of the product to the customer
- Field test with real products
Tom says, “In phase 4 the product is fully tested in two ways; the first time is after all units and modules have been joined together in the factory. After that, the product is tested again in a realistic environment, where the product will soon have to function full-time.
Depending on the type of product, this can be tricky at times. An industrial space is comparable to our factory, but at MTA, we do not have asparagus beds or a greenhouse horticulture, for example. For such applications, close cooperation with the customer is, therefore, essential for product verification.”
Physical and virtual world
A product always consists out of hardware and electronic components which is being controlled through software. The entire product is completely designed at the end of phase 2 in a virtual world. This includes a part of the needed software to control the system. Having this allows us to virtually test and simulate certain (motion)systems even before the entire product is assembled physically.
Tom continues, “The entire product is checked and adjusted at the factory to ensure that it meets all specifications. This includes tests that can measure and verify the load, speeds, stress, accuracy and precision. These kinds of tests cannot be completed before, as multiple units and modules have to work together. Once everything has been properly tested and calibrated, the product can be sent to the test environment with the actual end-user situation.”
Rik states, “During the production of the prototype there is close cooperation between the development engineers and assembly technicians. Many details in terms of software, calibration and tuning have been developed by the engineers behind their desks. In this phase assembly and engineering cooperate closely on assessing the scalability of the production process on the shopfloor. To achieve this, we monitor every step of the way; we also test it ourselves and where necessary, there is room to give advice and make adjustments.
In phase 4, the biggest challenge for production lies in evaluating phase 3 and fine-tuning the process with a view to follow-up series. Think of issues such as, was the planning realistic, was the workflow optimal, can certain logistics flows be optimized or were there quality problems with a specific part or unit?
With all the knowledge and experience, a production monitor is designed with specific key performance indicators (KPI). This monitor is used subsequently to monitor KPI’s in series production. In addition to optimizing the processes, we also evaluate the test tooling that was applied in the development phase. A larger series may require additional or different ways of testing.”
“Finding potential problems in the prototype series is extremely important because these can currently be solved even more cheaply than if they only appear in series production. In the final test phase, it becomes clear whether the product works fully as expected. It is, therefore, very important that we test very carefully and that our customer does this too.
At the end of this phase, we look at the lessons learned together with the customer and evaluate the test data. Based on this, we can work together on the ramp up to a larger series. Because we are well prepared, we can face the market more quickly,” Tom adds.
V² as a
This was the last article in describing the four phases of our V2 model. We think and work integrally and that requires a lot of cooperation, coordination and learning ability. In short: a complete “way of working” that we embed in our culture. That is the core of our V² approach. Would you like to talk with one of our experts? Don’t hesitate to contact us!