Until now, we co-create lab prototypes with our cutomers. It means that we work with the R&D department to build their next lab equipment or their new production process thanks to tailor-mades parts, sensors or small prototypes.
To our surprise, end of last year, one of our big pharma customers asked help to create their own fabrication laboratory (or Fablab which is a small-scale workshop offering digital fabrication tools - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fab_lab). We gave them advices to find the adapted equipments for their usage and we provided already a 3d printer, a vinyl cutter and an automated machining tools (CNC machine). Soon, they will add a laser cutter and we will propose training for their R&D team. These trainings will help the researchers to better understand how to use the equipment to create their own prototypes.
Our goal, with our customer, is to encourage the researchers to quickly create a first functional prototype and test it in their lab to check if it is worth investigating further the idea. At the end of the day, this approach will help an industry to lower the risk of development with prevalidation at lower cost and to invest in projects with more chances of success.
And you? How far do you dare to develop the "Do it yourself" approach in your R&D team ? What do you think about it ?
We would be happy to debate this topic with you.