What are Manufacturing Readiness Levels (MRLs)?

Learning Centre > What are Manufacturing Readiness Levels (MRLs)?

MRLs are quantitative measures used to assess the maturity of a given technology, component or system from a manufacturing perspective.

MRLs are quantitative measures used to assess the maturity of a given technology, component or system from a manufacturing perspective. MRLs are quantitative measures used to assess the maturity of a given technology, component or system from a manufacturing perspective.
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MRLs are quantitative measures used to assess the maturity of a given technology, component or system from a manufacturing perspective. They provide decision-makers at all levels with a common understanding of the relative maturity and attendant risks associated with manufacturing technologies, products, and processes being considered. In order to reduce risk and manage costs, manufacturers must maintain careful attention to manufacturing throughout all phases of development.

What are the Manufacturing Readiness Levels?

There are different levels of Manufacturing Readiness, each with its own specific criteria that need to be met in order for a company to move on to the next level. The higher the Manufacturing Readiness Level, the more confident a company can be in terms of moving to full-scale production. MRLs are important because they help to ensure that a product is ready for mass production before any money is actually invested.

How are Manufacturing Readiness Levels determined?

Manufacturing Readiness Levels are determined by looking at different criteria, such as the technological readiness of a product, the maturity of the supply chain, and the feasibility of mass production. Each level has its own set of specific criteria that must be met in order for a company to move on to the next level.

What are the criteria for each Manufacturing Readiness Level?

The criteria for each Manufacturing Readiness Level vary but typically include factors such as the technological readiness of a product, the maturity of the supply chain, and the feasibility of mass production. Each level has its own specific set of criteria that must be met in order for a company to move on to the next level.

Phase Leading to MRL Definition Description
Material solutions analysis Material development decision review 1 Basic manufacturing implications identified Basic research expands scientific principles that may have manufacturing implications. The focus is on a high-level assessment of manufacturing opportunities. The research is unfettered.
2 Manufacturing concepts identified Invention begins. Manufacturing science and/or concept described in application context. Identification of material and process approaches are limited to paper studies and analysis. Initial manufacturing feasibility and issues are emerging.
3 Manufacturing proof of concept (PoC) developed Conduct analytical or laboratory experiments to validate paper studies. Experimental hardware or processes have been created, but are not yet integrated or representative. Materials and/or processes have been characterised for manufacturability and availability but further evaluation and demonstration is required.
Milestone A decision 4 Capability to produce the technology in a laboratory environment Required investments, such as manufacturing technology development identified. Processes to ensure manufacturability, producibility and quality are in place and are sufficient to produce technology demonstrators. Manufacturing risks identified for prototype build. Manufacturing cost drivers identified. Producibility assessments of design concepts have been completed. Key design performance parameters identified. Special needs identified for tooling, facilities, material handling and skills.
Technology maturation and risk reduction Milestone B decision 5 Capability to produce prototype components in a production-relevant environment Manufacturing strategy refined and integrated with Risk Management Plan. Identification of enabling/critical technologies and components is complete. Prototype materials, tooling and test equipment, as well as personnel skills, have been demonstrated on components in a production relevant environment, but many manufacturing processes and procedures are still in development. Manufacturing technology development efforts initiated or ongoing. Producibility assessments of key technologies and components ongoing. Cost model based upon detailed end-to-end value stream map.
6 Capability to produce a prototype system or subsystem in a production relevant environment Initial manufacturing approach developed. Majority of manufacturing processes have been defined and characterized, but there are still significant engineering/design changes. Preliminary design of critical components completed. Producibility assessments of key technologies complete. Prototype materials, tooling and test equipment, as well as personnel skills have been demonstrated on subsystems/ systems in a production relevant environment. Detailed cost analysis include design trades. Cost targets allocated. Producibility considerations shape system development plans. Long lead and key supply chain elements identified. Industrial Capabilities Assessment for Milestone B completed.
Engineering and manufacturing development Post-CDR (Critical Design Review) Assessment 7 Capability to produce systems, subsystems or components in a production representative environment. Detailed design is underway. Material specifications are approved. Materials available to meet planned pilot line build schedule. Manufacturing processes and procedures demonstrated in a production representative environment. Detailed producibility trade studies and risk assessments underway. Cost models updated with detailed designs, rolled up to system level and tracked against targets. Unit cost reduction efforts underway. Supply chain and supplier Quality Assurance assessed. Long lead procurement plans in place. Production tooling and test equipment design and development initiated.
Milestone C decision 8 Pilot line capability demonstrated. Ready to begin low rate production. Detailed system design essentially complete and sufficiently stable to enter low rate production. All materials are available to meet planned low rate production schedule. Manufacturing and quality processes and procedures proven in a pilot line environment, under control and ready for low rate production. Known producibility risks pose no significant risk for low rate production. Engineering cost model driven by detailed design and validated. Supply chain established and stable. Industrial Capabilities Assessment for Milestone C.
Production and deployment Full rate production decision 9 Low rate production demonstrated. Capability in place to begin Full Rate Production. Major system design features are stable and proven in test and evaluation. Materials are available to meet planned rate production schedules. Manufacturing processes and procedures are established and controlled to three-sigma or some other appropriate quality level to meet design key characteristic tolerances in a low rate production environment. Production risk monitoring ongoing. Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) cost goals met, learning curve validated. Actual cost model developed for Full Rate Production environment, with impact of Continuous improvement.
Operations and support N/A 10 Full rate production demonstrated and lean production practices in place. This is the highest level of production readiness. Engineering/design changes are few and generally limited to quality and cost improvements. System, components or items are in rate production and meet all engineering, performance, quality and reliability requirements. All materials, manufacturing processes and procedures, inspection and test equipment are in production and controlled to six-sigma or some other appropriate quality level. Full rate production unit cost meets goal, and funding is sufficient for production at required rates. Lean practices well-established and continuous process improvements ongoing.
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MRLs are quantitative measures used to assess the maturity of a given technology, component or system from a manufacturing perspective. They provide decision-makers at all levels with a common understanding of the relative maturity and attendant risks associated with manufacturing technologies, products, and processes being considered. In order to reduce risk and manage costs, manufacturers must maintain careful attention to manufacturing throughout all phases of development.

What are the Manufacturing Readiness Levels?

There are different levels of Manufacturing Readiness, each with its own specific criteria that need to be met in order for a company to move on to the next level. The higher the Manufacturing Readiness Level, the more confident a company can be in terms of moving to full-scale production. MRLs are important because they help to ensure that a product is ready for mass production before any money is actually invested.

How are Manufacturing Readiness Levels determined?

Manufacturing Readiness Levels are determined by looking at different criteria, such as the technological readiness of a product, the maturity of the supply chain, and the feasibility of mass production. Each level has its own set of specific criteria that must be met in order for a company to move on to the next level.

What are the criteria for each Manufacturing Readiness Level?

The criteria for each Manufacturing Readiness Level vary but typically include factors such as the technological readiness of a product, the maturity of the supply chain, and the feasibility of mass production. Each level has its own specific set of criteria that must be met in order for a company to move on to the next level.

Phase Leading to MRL Definition Description
Material solutions analysis Material development decision review 1 Basic manufacturing implications identified Basic research expands scientific principles that may have manufacturing implications. The focus is on a high-level assessment of manufacturing opportunities. The research is unfettered.
2 Manufacturing concepts identified Invention begins. Manufacturing science and/or concept described in application context. Identification of material and process approaches are limited to paper studies and analysis. Initial manufacturing feasibility and issues are emerging.
3 Manufacturing proof of concept (PoC) developed Conduct analytical or laboratory experiments to validate paper studies. Experimental hardware or processes have been created, but are not yet integrated or representative. Materials and/or processes have been characterised for manufacturability and availability but further evaluation and demonstration is required.
Milestone A decision 4 Capability to produce the technology in a laboratory environment Required investments, such as manufacturing technology development identified. Processes to ensure manufacturability, producibility and quality are in place and are sufficient to produce technology demonstrators. Manufacturing risks identified for prototype build. Manufacturing cost drivers identified. Producibility assessments of design concepts have been completed. Key design performance parameters identified. Special needs identified for tooling, facilities, material handling and skills.
Technology maturation and risk reduction Milestone B decision 5 Capability to produce prototype components in a production-relevant environment Manufacturing strategy refined and integrated with Risk Management Plan. Identification of enabling/critical technologies and components is complete. Prototype materials, tooling and test equipment, as well as personnel skills, have been demonstrated on components in a production relevant environment, but many manufacturing processes and procedures are still in development. Manufacturing technology development efforts initiated or ongoing. Producibility assessments of key technologies and components ongoing. Cost model based upon detailed end-to-end value stream map.
6 Capability to produce a prototype system or subsystem in a production relevant environment Initial manufacturing approach developed. Majority of manufacturing processes have been defined and characterized, but there are still significant engineering/design changes. Preliminary design of critical components completed. Producibility assessments of key technologies complete. Prototype materials, tooling and test equipment, as well as personnel skills have been demonstrated on subsystems/ systems in a production relevant environment. Detailed cost analysis include design trades. Cost targets allocated. Producibility considerations shape system development plans. Long lead and key supply chain elements identified. Industrial Capabilities Assessment for Milestone B completed.
Engineering and manufacturing development Post-CDR (Critical Design Review) Assessment 7 Capability to produce systems, subsystems or components in a production representative environment. Detailed design is underway. Material specifications are approved. Materials available to meet planned pilot line build schedule. Manufacturing processes and procedures demonstrated in a production representative environment. Detailed producibility trade studies and risk assessments underway. Cost models updated with detailed designs, rolled up to system level and tracked against targets. Unit cost reduction efforts underway. Supply chain and supplier Quality Assurance assessed. Long lead procurement plans in place. Production tooling and test equipment design and development initiated.
Milestone C decision 8 Pilot line capability demonstrated. Ready to begin low rate production. Detailed system design essentially complete and sufficiently stable to enter low rate production. All materials are available to meet planned low rate production schedule. Manufacturing and quality processes and procedures proven in a pilot line environment, under control and ready for low rate production. Known producibility risks pose no significant risk for low rate production. Engineering cost model driven by detailed design and validated. Supply chain established and stable. Industrial Capabilities Assessment for Milestone C.
Production and deployment Full rate production decision 9 Low rate production demonstrated. Capability in place to begin Full Rate Production. Major system design features are stable and proven in test and evaluation. Materials are available to meet planned rate production schedules. Manufacturing processes and procedures are established and controlled to three-sigma or some other appropriate quality level to meet design key characteristic tolerances in a low rate production environment. Production risk monitoring ongoing. Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) cost goals met, learning curve validated. Actual cost model developed for Full Rate Production environment, with impact of Continuous improvement.
Operations and support N/A 10 Full rate production demonstrated and lean production practices in place. This is the highest level of production readiness. Engineering/design changes are few and generally limited to quality and cost improvements. System, components or items are in rate production and meet all engineering, performance, quality and reliability requirements. All materials, manufacturing processes and procedures, inspection and test equipment are in production and controlled to six-sigma or some other appropriate quality level. Full rate production unit cost meets goal, and funding is sufficient for production at required rates. Lean practices well-established and continuous process improvements ongoing.

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