The value we added:
We analysed experimental data and highlighted the key challenges in relation to the amplitude and frequency ranges of the perturbations. On this basis we defined the key parameters of the problem and identified the relevant prior art that could offer insights.
We produced a clear representation of the problem, a functional hierarchy in relation to signal generation and assessment, a review of prior art about key functions, and a promising directions that could be transferred from other application areas.
We enabled our clients to navigate through a complex area without getting drowned in an ocean of data.
End result: A solution that reliably does the job at a fraction of the cost of current approaches!
Creating structure before diving into the data
Hydraulic pumps for applications such as earth moving equipment operate under very harsh conditions. Reliability for these pieces of equipment is critical. Reliability is often associated with condition monitoring and predictive maintenance.
A number of signals can be measured and assessed to determine unexpected harmonics that indicate an undesirable condition. Some of the challenges of getting a good signal include for example small perturbations at a high reference base and high frequency. This means that capable sensors can be very expensive for integration onto a pump.
There was a need to gain clarity of prior art relating to condition monitoring and predictive maintenance for similar equipment and identify new promising conceptual directions.
Helping clients differentiate themselves
It is often that a successful product gets imitated, and your core message get imitated. This is one of the problems that a client had for baby products. The message of having a breast-feeding bottle resemble the mum’s breast was being repeated many times in different variants “just like mum”, “closer to nature”. We were asked to help identify opportunities for differentiation.
The value we added:
We needed to understand where baby feeding bottles were heading as a product and as a technology. It is a relatively simple product, but there are thousands on patents about it. To differentiate you need to be a few steps ahead, so you need to know not only what is in the market now but what the future is likely to bring.
Before any searching of prior art, we needed to create a guiding structure. We explored the parameters that determine the experience of the baby and the parameters that define the experience of the mum. They are both key actors. With reference to these parameters, we created a hierarchy of functions for the product and on a function-by-function basis we mapped what the industry has considered so far. The key characteristic of our approach was clarity through simplicity. When you can see with clarity the principles used so far, new opportunities are shouting out.
Following our work, our clients were able to identify several new opportunities which were used to drive their strategic technology and product roadmapping exercises. Several of those opportunities are now successful products in the market.