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Industrial Design for R&D Facilities

One of the mandates of effective industrial design is improving outcomes for clients. For industrial clients seeking to design and build research and development (R&D) facilities, this obligation is even more pressing.

In the R&D environment, productivity is the outcome on which clients place the greatest emphasis. New research demonstrates that facility design can greatly improve productivity as well as other key metrics.

Cleanroom Design R&D

The Importance of the R&D Process

Successful industrial organizations invest significantly in research and development efforts. In fact, most companies allocate 15 to 20 percent of their annual revenue for R&D. Without constant innovation, organizations cannot sustain growth or improve market share.

Because research is expensive and time-consuming, positive study outcomes are crucial. Reorganization and improvement of research and development efforts has become imperative in many industries, including pharmaceuticals, manufacturing, communications and nanotechnology.

Industrial design principles, when developed and applied to the client’s specific facility needs, offer a powerful opportunity for improving research outcomes.

Addressing the Uncertainty of Research with Industrial Design

In the manufacturing process, the steps to achieve the desired outcomes are clearly known. Designing an effective facility for manufacturing requires that the engineering and architecture facilitate the steps of the process.

In R&D, however, the processes required are largely unknown at the time the facility is designed. In pharmaceutical development, for example, the client can communicate the basic needs of chemical research. What they cannot anticipate is which compounds may be developed in the future, or how the mechanics of testing may impact the facility and its processes.

Consequently, the industrial design process must consider a set of unknown factors. To illustrate this paradox more simply, imagine asking a tailor to design and sew a new suit without having the measurements of the wearer.

Industrial Design Can Increase R&D Productivity

The research and development process is a form of knowledge work, wherein new knowledge is created and applied for the organization’s benefit. The creation of organizational knowledge relies on personnel, albeit with the assistance of various technological tools.

Today, R&D facility design and engineering must focus first on human interaction. This represents a departure from past approaches, which explored processes with a primary focus on technology and equipment.

An experienced engineering and design team can focus on knowledge transfer and the critical human relationships in the research and development environment. Using this as a basis for other design considerations ensures that critical social interactions are not only facilitated, but maximized.

DesignTek Consulting Group LLC provides engineering, design and construction services for cleanrooms and other industrial applications. Our understanding of contemporary challenges in research and development ensure the effective application of industrial design principles to maximize your organization’s successful outcomes.

Contact us today to learn more or to schedule a consultation.


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