Friday, January 4, 2019

Technology Readiness Scale - TRL Scale

Two years later, in 1991, NASA used the TRL scale in its Integrated Technology Plan for
Civil Space Program (OAST, 1991).

Two new levels, 8 and 9 were added in the late 1980s by John C. Mankins, who later wrote a white paper (Mankins, 1995) that also slightly rephrased the description of the lower levels. Mankins provided a “discussion” for each level that included multiple examples of technologies at certain TR levels as illustrations. He also defined the typical cost to achieve for each level. The nine levels were as follows:

Level 1 - Basic principles observed and reported
Level 2 - Technology concept and/or application formulated
Level 3 - Analytical and experimental critical function and/or characteristic proof-of concept
Level 4 - Component and/or breadboard validation in laboratory environment
Level 5 - Component and/or breadboard validation in relevant environment
Level 6 - System/subsystem model or prototype demonstration in a relevant environment
(ground or space)
Level 7 - System prototype demonstration in a space environment
Level 8 - Actual system completed and “flight qualified” through test and demonstration
(ground or space)
Level 9 - Actual system “flight proven” through successful mission operations

Levels 1 and 2 – the theoretical part of development – are labelled with “low ‘unique’
cost” because they are the results of scientific research programs.

NASA does not start these programs.  The costs of these programs are borne by institutionalized
science,  universities, and research laboratories in the US and elsewhere; therefore, the additional amount that NASA spends specifically on them is minimal.

Level 3 has a small unique cost, TRL 4 is several factors higher than Level 3, and TRL
5 is again several factors higher than TRL 4. The costs grow exponentially and then peak at TRL
8, which is the most costly to achieve. Mankins emphasizes that the actual numbers are very
technology dependent.

In 2008, a chief scientist at Boeing looking back at the track record of TRL usage (Whelan, 2008) in Boeing’s R&D concluded that most projects reach TRL 6 before even 10% of the total funds are committed. NASA TRL scheme predicts that costs will multiply at nearly every step between TRL 3-8.

Source:  From NASA to EU: the evolution of the
TRL scale in Public Sector Innovation
Mihály Héder
The Innovation Journal: The Public Sector Innovation Journal, Volume 22(2), 2017, article 3

NASA TRL definitions

Technology at level 4 in October 2018

Wear Resistant Plantinum Gold Alloy
News on the item was published in ISE Magazine, October 2018
Super-hard metal alloy could save $100 million
Anonymous. ISE ; Industrial and Systems Engineering at Work; Norcross Vol. 50, Iss. 10,  (Oct 2018): 15

No comments:

Post a Comment