With any new product you would expect to have relatively high initial failure rates but that these would reduce significantly as parts are re-engineered in the light of customer experience. This has been the case with Robop although the initial failure rates were much lower than might have been expected .
The following faults have occurred with customers birds –
(a) In two instances the head /neck assembly has parted company with the body, possibly due to rough handling – as a result of this we made changes to the design in 2004 so that this cannot happen again. It now requires considerable force to remove this assembly.
(b) On two occasions the feet /leg assembly broke where it joined the body, again probably due to rough handling – again this assembly was totally re-designed with the legs now made of aluminium tubing instead of rubber.
(c) The wing to servo linkage rod came apart at the joint at one site in Canada – this part is now assembled differently and has a shrink-wrap rubber tube over the joint so that it cannot work loose.
d) Head punctured after attack by gulls – Yes, Robop is perceived as such a threat to gulls they do swoop down and attack. When Robop doesn’t flinch the gulls soon give up and fly away, never to be seen again. However, on one particular occasion an aggressive gull mounted a vicious attack on Robop smashing its head with its beak. There is little we can do to prevent this as Robop’s head is already very tough. We did get a report last year that a gull pecked right through a workman’s hard hat. So, far better Robop being damaged that someone getting injured.
(e) Paint faded after 12 months on a very exposed roof – since then we have changed the entire paint process and have brought paint production in-house to ensure top quality and durability.
(f) Batteries needed to be charged every day when being used by a large supermarket chain – this turned out to be a problem with a batch of battery chargers that were not delivering the correct charge current. As a result the batteries were never properly charged, became over flattened and ended up having to be charged every day – we have since gone to a different charger manufacturer. We have also increased the battery pack capacity from 9 to 13 Ampere Hours. The packs are state of the art from a top brand manufacturer.
Bird filled with water after head became detached – a case of total neglect by the customer. However, when we emptied out the water, put the head back on and re-charged the battery, bingo, the bird burst into life! (see note above about change in head design)
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