Designing From a Blank Sheet of Paper
test rigs

Over the years, Georg UK have received requests to design Rigs to test all sorts of products from the very small (eg human tissue to be bombarded with radiation) to the very large (eg full scale four carriage high speed Train). These sorts of projects spark the interest and intellect of our in-house engineers as we relish a challenge.

The process of designing a test rig

Martin Summers, Test Rigs Manager at Georg UK, explains the process of designing a Test Rig when you don’t have a detailed specification.

Normally design requests come with an outline specification – a basis from which to work with. But what if there isn’t a specification, just an idea? What if the idea needs turning into reality and into a business proposition?

This is where science meets reality and business. Where, for example, a University professor meets the practical world of engineering. But who takes on the commercial burden of the process though?

Three main elements have to work together as algorithms to each other and without that successful formula, three potential large grey areas become apparent:

  1. is the specification (or wish list) achievable or unachievable?
  2. do the expected costs align with the specification?
  3. does the project plan align with expected time scales?

Creating a technical engineering specification

At Georg UK, our engineers delve into the minute detail of the requirements and work with the customer’s team to create a technical engineering specification. We offer blue sky thinking – a term often misused, but for us means generating creative ideas and designing from a blank sheet of paper, regardless of the practical constraints. This has its own challenges in all aspects of the project; engineering, academia and commerce.

In this modern world of 3D design tools and analysis, we can quite quickly generate an impressive model for all to see; but once that process commences, it’s like a can being kicked down the road in that the tweaking of that model can take on many iterations before a final solution is arrived at.

Again we go back to the question – what was in the original specification and how would that change through the process based on performance, reliability and life expectancy of product which have major influences on design. What’s more, in conjunction with the project engineers and buyers, we need to establish vital and realistic product, lead times and costs.

Analysis of design has taken on a new dimension in recent years. Depending on specifics of design, we can now zoom in to the smallest of components to understand its load and life capacity. A design is only as good as its weakest link; it’s a mathematical analysis, but with understanding these design elements we can work out life expectancy based on load duties and then introduce systems to monitor those key components for potential wear well before a potential failure could occur.

And once this milestone is arrived at, we then have the commercial hurdle to overcome. This involves extensive time periods and upfront costs to establish the viability of the project. As there are potential heavy penalties for failure to deliver, high scrutiny of all terms and conditions is undertaken before agreements can be concluded.

It can be a long process, but with the ultimate outcome of:

  1. A clear specification, with an agreed matrix
  2. A workable design
  3. Accurate costs
  4. A realistic project time line
  5. A best in class engineered product supplied within costs
  6. A satisfied customer

At Georg UK we are proud to have achieved a number of world class Test Rigs for aerospace, rail and defence clients such as Moog Aerospace who we have worked with for over 20 years and continue to use us a preferred supplier. Together with recent and ongoing highly sophisticated projects from Universities such as Huddersfield, Leeds and Warwick, Georg UK is positioned as one of the leading designers and builders of Test Rigs in the UK. Even when starting with a blank sheet of paper!

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