Challenge : There's a Design Brief - and then there's an Impossible Design Brief. Or so it seems. We were asked to take on a highly constrained set of requirements to produce a specific illumination solution. We're not even going to mention the suck-your-breath-in time and budget constraints. The specification demanded a geometry which was already defined, a limited space requiring a design around a cylindrical symmetry of existing arc lamps and extremely specific colour requirements, not to mention the need for stability, no moving parts (other than forced air cooling) and the whole thing to be field-replaceable.
Approach : After using some of the limited time to scratch our heads, we set to work by looking at the various components - mechanical, optical, electrical, thermal, communications, and interfaces. We then began a process of rapid iterative designs, interspersed with a bit more head scratching, which quickly delivered a winning prototype.
The end result : We knew we had to apply a creative approach to product design in this case since the Market Requirement Specification gave parameter magnitudes that were extremely large. We adopted a Risk Management design approach which highlighted key risks and steered our course. We innovated with quick and inexpensive experiments revealing invaluable information and preventing any waste-of-time designs. The final design met the physical mechanical requirements, was compatible, provided the correct optical flux and spectrum with the correct temporal behaviour and was ready for manufacture. A key strength was its relative simplicity, requiring only readily-available off-the-shelf components.