The Drone Technology
Benefits of Using Drones
The drone technology market is rapidly growing and that is because of its benefits. Here are the main reasons that companies and individuals use drones:
- Drones can be used for inspecting large networks of pipelines. The coverage of vast distances using human workers is almost impossible and the use of planes and helicopters is extremely expensive and even slightest errors can turn into a catastrophe.
- Drones can be used for emergency situations. Using GPS technology, a drone can easily reach the location of the accident.
- Drones can also be used for security purposes. Some facilities use drones to inspect the surrounding buildings.
- Drones are commonly used for film making and the recording of movies in extreme angles.
Drawbacks of Using Drones
Drones may be highly praised for being beneficial in many applications; however, even the most advanced technologies have some drawbacks such as:
- Drones cannot be used in extreme weather conditions such as heavy rain or storms.
- Regardless of how sophisticated and advanced a drone is, drones’ batteries are always an issue and this poses a limit on the destination that a drone can travel, as well as the maximum height it can reach.
- Rules and regulations could limit the usage of drones, especially when there is a military operation, some countries may even ban the flying of drones completely.
It is true that the usage of drones can bring significant drawbacks and cons to the user; however, it is safe to say that the advantages and pros far exceed the disadvantages.
How to properly design and prototype a drone
The right steps for designing a drone
In order to properly design a drone, there are important steps that must be respected and taken in order to achieve the desired result:
- The very first step is to organize the proper team to do a proper job. Without having determined the right team, you cannot succeed in getting the proper result. The team should be composed of skilled engineers and experienced designers. While it is not mandatory that they be experts on the subject, it is necessary that they should have worked on previous projects. On top of that, the designers must all have previously worked on the same CAD Software. Keep in mind that the design process will take some time and many changes and updates will be made, Therefore, the design team members should use the same software in order to be able to implement necessary changes. To conclude, the first step is to gather the right members for the right job.
- The second step is to choose the decide on the main functionality of the drone. What would the drone be used for? How large and big the drone should be? Roughly speaking, who are the target clients? And how much is the budget for the designing and prototyping of the product?
- The third step is to create a proper workflow which the team members should follow in order to have an organized process and method. The workflow must follow quality norms in order to have the desired end result.
- The fourth step is to start the designing process, using a 3D Modeling software and CAD software such as PTC Creo, NX Siemens or Solidworks. Also, each process should be documented and given to the manager and the engineering team so that everyone is kept updated.
- The fifth step is to perform simulations on the CAD File in order to check if the drone has the proper performance. If the simulation report shows that there are some design flaws, then the necessary modifications should be done. This step will be repeated several times until the desired result is achieved. This process may take some time but it will save valuable time in the future.
The right way to prototype a drone
Once the 3D Model is ready and valid, it is the time to create a physical prototype of the actual drone in order to further test it and introduce it to the clients for marketing purposes or for validation reasons. There are several ways to produce a prototype. Here is the best method to achieve this task without wasting valuable money, time and effort:
- The first step in creating a physical prototype is to choose what method would be used for this task. There are many ways to prototype something such as molding, CNC machining, casting…; however, the best way to produce the prototype of a drone is using Additive manufacturing or in other words 3D Printing.
- The second step is to prepare the 3D model so that is would be printable either by an external software or by the 3D Printer itself.
- The third step is to 3D print the prototype. A drone is a complicated system. It is composed of various components such as motors, batteries, and other components that are printable such as the propellers, the camera mount, antenna holder and other protective equipment.
- The fourth step is to test the prototype and make necessary changes. If not, then the prototype is ready to be introduced to the world.
The drone market is getting bigger and bigger every day. In fact, according to the Goldman Sachs prediction and studies, it is estimated that the drone technologies will reach a total market size of $100 billion between the year 2016 and 2020, thus making the manufacturing and selling of drones more profitable than ever but also very challenging due to the growing and raising of competition. In order to produce the best model, the design process must be absolutely flawless and the prototype must be close to the final product but cheaper.