Thu. Jan 27th, 2022

The company as a team focused on solving the most challenging problems in the initial design phase with Sprint and then moved to smaller teams for detailed design efforts. They used quick response loops in simulations and experiments to improve the design before going into production.

This focus on rapid development and production has helped Zipline move its unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) from design to commercialization and scale operation across Ghana and Rwanda in less than 18 months, a timeline that includes six months of hardcore development, another six months of prototyping. Was. , And a final six months in design validation and engineering verification.

“In general, the idea of ​​focusing resources on a specific issue at Sprint is something we’re moving back from the software world to the hardware world,” said Devin Williams, chief mechanical engineer at Zipline’s UAV manufacturing platform. “One of the things we do really well is find the least effective product and then prove it on the field.”

Using a fast process allows Zipline to focus on publishing product changes to quickly address customer needs while maintaining high reliability. The San Francisco Bay Area Company now has distribution centers in North Carolina and Arkansas, another in Salt Lake City, and will soon launch new markets across Japan as well as Africa.

Zipline is not alone. With decades of history from startups to manufacturers, companies are leaning towards agile design, development and production to create innovative products at low cost. Aircraft manufacturer Aerospace has reduced the cost of developing an electric aircraft by more than half and increased the speed of its prototypes. And Boeing has teamed up with the U.S. Air Force to use the TX twin-pilot instructor jet project to win the agile process.

Overall, implementing agile methods should be a priority for every manufacturer. For aerospace and defense agencies, whose complex projects typically follow the long horizon of waterfall development, the industry needs agile design and development to move into the era of urban wind mobility and the future of space exploration.

Evolution of traditional product design

Although Toyota developed automation in the late 1940s, the programmer modified the modern agile framework for development in the late 1990s to find better ways to create software. Instead of building a “waterfall” development pipeline that involved specific phases, such as design and testing, Quick Development focuses on creating a functional product, the least effective product, repeating the technology at the beginning of the process as soon as possible and then. In 2000, a team of 17 developers Quickly drafted the manifesto, Focuses on work software, person and interaction, and customer collaboration.

Over the past decade, agile software development has focused on DevOps – “Development and Activity” – which builds interdisciplinary teams and cultures for application development. Similarly, design companies and product manufacturers have taken quick lessons and reintegrated their products into the life cycle. As a result, manufacturing now consists of small teams that replicate products, return real-world lessons to the supply chain, and use software tools to speed up collaboration.

In the aerospace and defense industries, well-known for the complexity of its products and systems, it is providing agile benefits. In working on development TX two-seater jet trainer, Boeing is committed to speedy design and development of production processes, which has halved program costs for the US Air Force, a 75% increase in initial prototype quality, a half-time software development, and an 80% reduction in assembly time.

“We’ve got a quick mindset and a blockchain approach to hardware and software integration,” said Paul Newwald, Boeing’s TX program manager. “It releases software to us every eight weeks and tests it at the system level to verify our requirements. By doing this, in an orderly way – in frequency – it allows us to reduce our software efforts by 50%. ”

In the end, the TX went from design to “production-representative jet” in three years. This is a major departure from the initial development of traditional aircraft programs, which use waterfall development at the initial design and development stage and may require a decade of development.

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This content was produced by Insights, a custom content arm of MIT Technology Review. It was not written by the editorial staff of MIT Technology Review.

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