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The research and development sector requires the most advanced machinery out of any industry, these need to be precise and showcase the latest technology for experimentation. The sector is responsible for a lot of advancements and provides companies with a return on their investment.
R&D machines stands for Research and Development machines, these are often very precise machines that accurately measure several parameters to check different metrics. Researchers, in particular, need to ensure that the parameters of their experiments are measurable and predictable so that their results don’t depend on them.
For that reason, it can be quite complicated to achieve a certain balance between those parameters. Technology comes into play to help build these machines.
The field is incredibly important to businesses that want to get an edge. Indeed the discovery of new technology can be incredibly beneficial to businesses as customers might consider buying this newer more capable device instead of an older one.
R&D stands as a unique industry as the results are never guaranteed because it's a creative process, researchers could spend months not accomplishing what they intended to.
Now that we understand what R&D machines are, let’s move on to the reasons why the industry implements technology.
As most of these machines are made in small batches if not custom-made, they are often extremely expensive. Technology brings an essential element to the table. As researchers want to make the best investment possible, they desire a machine that fits not just one of their needs, but a variety of them.
With the help of technology, a particular machine can be modified for a similar experience, this saves the company a lot of money and makes the machine that much more interesting as an investment.
Another aspect that technology brings is the remote capabilities of certain machines. Thanks to the internet, some machines can work autonomously and the experiment can be launched at a distance, on the internet.
This added benefit makes the entire machine even more desirable as it can be shared across multiple locations, this applies to the computer science field where most things are numerical, but applications exist in other fields of research.
As experiments rely heavily on a variety of parameters, R&D machines need to be reliable, this means they should achieve their intended purposes whatever the initial parameters and the setting. This means such machines should work regardless of the temperature, pressure, noise environment, etc.
Technology helps achieve such a goal by, first measuring the state of the machine, therefore evaluating the parameters of the experimentation and making sure the machine will give an accurate result in that environment.
And secondly, by bringing precision to the table. The trend in machinery and particularly R&D machinery is to implement electronics into mechanical components to make them more precise, lighter, adaptable, and cheaper.
Last but surely not least, technology helps make machines cheaper. Circuit boards, sensors, and various electronics have gotten to the point where they are cheaper than some raw materials. Replacing some aluminum or steel parts of a machine with an electronic system can bring accuracy and cost reduction.
This also means that these machines are less sturdy and may withstand less severe conditions. Nonetheless, in certain settings, this improvement is what researchers and developers are looking for as the benefits outweigh the consequences.
Now that we understand what researchers are looking for in technology, let’s take a closer look at the actual technology that is put in place to achieve flexible, reliable, and cost-effective machines.
In any machine, setting the right parameters is the hard part. As most of these R&D machines are set up to work in a variety of settings so as to maximize flexibility, the parameters are often very vast and complex.
These machines embark on a variety of sensors that measure pretty much every aspect of the machine to ensure it is working properly.
As the R&D machine industry relies largely on these sensors, a large sector of the industry is the development of new sensors, that, through physical properties, achieve more accurate results. The same sector of the industry also tries to make sensors that are more versatile, meaning they work properly in a variety of conditions, regardless of the temperature or pressure.
The goal is also to make these sensors as small, lightweight, and as cheap as possible. The industry develops these sensors for R&D purposes but their applications far outreach the industry and find themselves in a variety of other machines and places.
As most of these R&D machines are extremely expensive and created in very small batches, it is important to conduct as few iterations as possible to minimize spending. The field, therefore, requires a lot of development software and simulation software to ensure their solutions do exactly what they wanted.
Most of these simulations are quite resource-intensive, 3D simulations often require a GPU (Graphical Processing Unit), an expensive specialized computing unit that helps quicken certain calculations. Having one can be expensive. As most people carry laptops nowadays, such equipment is bulky and heavy.
Software as a service offers a solution, by running this software on the cloud, in a specialized server, designers can subscribe to a monthly service and have remote access to very capable computation tools.
This means that designers can work remotely, almost anywhere as long as they have an internet connection without having to carry a chunky pc.
All in all, R&D machines represent complex equipment that benefits from technology in several ways. It helps make these machines more reliable, cheaper, and more flexible. The industry benefits most from technology through the sensors it uses and from cloud services.