How can I avoid wasting time and money fixing my products after they’ve been designed?


Testing - Credit: Archant

Gloucester-based Rockatek suggest ‘investing a little more time, money and effort up front at the initial design stage to reduce the likelihood of failure once in operation and in turn saving money and increasing your bottom line’


Design - Credit: Archant

How often do companies invest significant time, money and resources fixing problems with its products once they are released to the market. In many ways it is the “normal thing to do” in the sense that people assume there will always be problems, there will always be opportunities to improve. That is correct, but why not invest a little more time, money and effort up front at the initial design stage to reduce the likelihood of failure once in operation and in turn saving money and increasing your bottom line. Companies often unintentionally decide to reduce time and budget spent on up front design and testing to reduce costs and to reach the market quicker, however, unanticipated failures of in service products will have far greater cost and time implications.

With our ‘Integrated Engineering Approach’ of design – analysis – testing, we ensure products are designed correctly from the ground up. By the time a product is ready to hit the market place we are near to 100% confident that it will operate and function as it is required to do so. Unexpected failures are not an option. To do this, fundamental engineering principles, robust design and engineering practices and detailed analysis are required. Once designs are complete, prototype testing is a key component of ensuring the product will function correctly. If you can subject the product to the environmental conditions in which it is intended to operate in a laboratory environment with real time data acquisition and monitoring systems, you can verify functionality and capability. Failures in this environment are acceptable and allow you to refine the design. Testing also allows you to revisit your analysis to refine the models such that your computer simulations become more and more accurate and even more closely aligned to the physical test results. In doing so, confidence in computer simulations increases and the complexity of testing required reduces. The design – analysis – testing model works for our clients and delivers optimised products to hit the market at full speed.


Analysis - Credit: Archant

There will still be issues and improvements to make with in service components. That often comes down to the specification envelope being changed by the client “Well actually, now we want this product to work at 175OC, not the original 150OC or we need the part to run for 1000 hours, not the original 500”. In this scenario we apply the same ‘Integrated Engineering Approach’ of design – analysis – testing to develop improvements and solutions to problems within set of existing constraints. Design optimisation of existing products is widely recognised and accepted as being for more difficult than developing completely new products because they cannot be completely redesigned as they are confined by their existing space envelope. However, with the same fundamental approach of applying engineering principles in design, analysis and testing we are able to design improvements, and crucially, verify those improvements with analysis and testing of prototypes before full implementation to the in-service products.

We operate industry leading 3D CAD design software and full Finite Element Multiphysics analysis software to compliment are traditional design engineers and our first principles engineering approach. Whether you do not have the skills in house or you have no extra capacity to meet your project deadlines, we can manage these projects to deliver complete product development and optimisation projects for our clients.

Rockatek Ltd engineers have over 40 years’ experience in complex mechanical engineering design and product development. Rockatek have only been in business 12 months and in that short time they have generated an impressive client list of major Engineering and Technology companies in the UK, US, Canada and Middle East in the defence, oil and gas, renewable energy, motorsport and industrial sectors. They have grown in 18 months to a company that is turning over close to £0.5 million with only the 3 original directors involved and executing all aspects of the business themselves. Here, Director James Crowley tells us how Rockatek approach product development and optimisation for its clients.

“We offer consultancy services in engineering design, analysis and testing and we develop our own innovative products. We are working with major global companies who require stringent monitoring of our performance. In our first full year of trading (2018), having started in 2017 with no pre-determined contracts or agreed work, we expect to turnover close to half a million pounds. We pride ourselves on Engineering Value for our clients and giving them that increased level of confidence that their products will be successful and give them competitive edge over their competitors.”

Visit the Rockatek website here.

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