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Offline Chaoswolf

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about industrials...
« on: April 29, 2008, 07:21:33 AM »
INDUSTRIALMECHS: TARGET OF OPPORTUNITY?

BRANCHING INTO THE INDUSTRIALMECH MARKET

Mr. Gilmour, esteemed members of the board,
As you all know, the prospects for Gilmour Miltech look
promising, continuing the established trend over the past four
financial cycles. Analysts have determined possible growth of
up to fifteen percent in the upcoming three years, given the
Sphere-wide decline in major manufacturing due to the current
wartime crisis. However, it doesn’t take a crystal ball to know
that these projections are fragile at best. Our company rests on
a single main source of revenue: the maintenance and rebuilding
of military assets. While this is a wide and profitable market
in a wartime situation like we have today, it is also highly
unstable and heavily contested—as the unexpected loss of our
Talitha Militia contract due to an unforeseen invasion has clearly
demonstrated.
In light of these events, this group has attempted during
the past two months to develop several alternative business
models, the fi rst of which we present in this document.
For ease of reading, you will fi nd a management summary
of each technological topic with its respective chapter.
Detailed fi gures, projection charts and investment calculations
are grouped in Annexes I through IV.

INTRODUCTION
With the advent of new weapons systems and technologies
in the past twenty years, the refi t market for BattleMechs has
been profoundly altered. Blooming in the early fi fties by upgrading
old machines to state-of-the-art models, this well of
orders naturally begins to run dry. Customers run out of machines
to upgrade, or decide to buy new, modern merchandise
in the first place. While Gilmour Miltech has also taken
steps in this direction, the mass market is clearly dominated
by larger corporations. Meanwhile, the mercenary niche market—
to which we sell our current Cronus series—has grown
increasingly threatened over the past few years, and sales
there have noticeably declined.
A similar picture shows up in the maintenance branch. Big suppliers
tend more and more to sell their increasingly sophisticated
products with service contracts included, leaving maintenance
providers out of the loop. In addition, the fl are-up of warfare with
abundant use of new, more destructive weapons has further diminished
the stock of military equipment left to maintain.
None of this, however, can be said of the IndustrialMech
market.
At the same rate the military markets have flourished, civilian
customers have been neglected. Most of this industry has
remained in an early thirty-first century state and shows great
potential in sales and maintenance markets. With the resources,
facilities and know-how of Gilmour Miltech at hand, it would be
relatively easy to quickly establish a stable foothold in this sector.
Based on a two-year focus program, concentrated mainly on
refitting and reorienting our assets, calculations project that the
local Talitha market alone could already account for close to sixty
percent of our current export income. Bundled service contracts
and maintenance support are not yet taken into consideration.
Thus, our company’s survival could be assured even with a hampered
interstellar distribution network—a distinctly probable
scenario, considering the current state of aff airs.
Preliminary surveys among potential customers from
governmental and industrial sectors also indicate a general
tendency toward automation, despite the ongoing fighting
across the Inner Sphere. Whether this is a momentary fad—
image-guided attempts to keep up in an increasingly technologized
environment—or a real necessity due to reduced
workforce capacity remains to be seen.
On the topic of war: As military hardware is almost unattainable
for private parties by now, alternatives in the security
market are highly sought after. Offering products in this
branch would be a viable and profitable intermediate step
while we retool our BattleMech-oriented factory lanes to
manufacture IndustrialMech components.

STRUCTURAL CORE

Form follows function: IndustrialMechs have to perform a
specific task and are built accordingly. This is not only reflected
in their outward appearance, but also drastically changes
how their mainframe must be designed. It is highly unlikely
our development staff can be brought up to this challenge
without external know-how. A cursory job-analysis on this
topic was not very promising, revealing specialists in that
field to be rare on the open market. Consequently, if we are
willing to go this route, we must first take appropriate measures,
or else accept a minimum three-year developmental
period before a first prototype.

Blueprints
Acquiring blueprints or prototypes could prove diffi cult
as well. Current large manufacturers are understandably reluctant
to part with information about their core businesses.
Some see a quasi-monopoly endangered, others belong
to interstellar corporations with no interest in selling, or
only maintain old, automated factories with a rudimentary
knowledge of how they work.
Smaller companies represent a possibility to exploit. Often
specializing in one kind of IndustrialMech, they hold an incredible
amount of experience and innate knowledge about the
workings of such machines. Freelancers and self-proclaimed
inventors present a third option, offering their plans and ideas
freely, often for reasonable sums. Dealing with most of these
calls for utmost caution, but then again, more than one great
achievement has stemmed from risk and dubious sources.
We also cannot discount various unforeseen means of
obtaining technical data through the ongoing chaos of the
current wartime state, Sphere-wide, especially with regard
to multi-state corporations and major factories threatened
by hostile action or occupation. This raises the possibility
of engineers who not only boast the necessary experience
and knowledge, but who may already have completed the
design task on someone else’s dime, forced to relocate to a
more…stable setting, which we may be able to provide.
ITS 'Mech not Mech... you see that damned thing in front?! USE IT.... 'Mech is shortened from BATTLEMECH.... i hate u all... HA!

Offline Chaoswolf

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Re: about industrials...
« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2008, 07:23:52 AM »
Internal Structure

The necessary materials and resources—as well as the
knowledge and hardware to process them—are readily available
to our company. Built of basic alloys, the structural core
of IndustrialMechs follows similar construction procedures to
those we already use, and our own metal plants are perfectly
capable of delivering the amounts and qualities needed.
Moreover, we can very well do without the import of endosteel.
Rare and extremely expensive in wartime anyway, it is
an unnecessary component in IndustrialMechs. Working machines
are not placed under anywhere near the same stresses
as BattleMechs and they do not have to carry as much weight in
the form of weaponry and armor. The advantage of endo-steel’s
lighter weight also does not carry over, being quickly negated
by the additional bulk, which blocks space needed for sleek,
nimble design or tools in general.

Armor

Armor is something of a misnomer here as the term for
what goes on IndustrialMechs. Instead, IndustrialMech “armor”
substitutes battlefield integrity for physical protection
against the environment. Most IndustrialMechs are thus armored
for daily wear and tear, some more than others, depending
on their purpose.
LoaderMechs, for instance, are plated against damage from falling
cargo, while MiningMechs have to keep their pilots alive and
three-dimensional in the event of cave-ins. A mechanical picker
will rarely be armored, contrary to its CattleMaster counterpart
herding Filtvelt thunderbeasts. This lack of armor requirements
allows for cost-cutting options that can enhance our bottom line,
though obviously some models—particularly those in the security
sector—may sport protection practically indistinguishable
from BattleMech hides.
For ease of reference, this document refers to three diff erent
classes of armor protection.
Foremost is heavy industrial armor, identical in every way to
standard military-grade armor produced in our own plants. Class
two, designated industrial armor, is far less robust, but still efficient
 in its cost/protection ratio. It has been designed for use
under rugged civilian conditions. Compared to standard armor,
industrial-grade armor production is relatively easy. We therefore
can accomplish this with ease.
On the lower end of the scale is commercial armor, a de facto
standard among IndustrialMechs. Providing only the most basic
protection against elements and the occasional collision, commercial-
grade armor is hardly worthy of the title, but suffices
for everyday tasks. It is also cheap, widely available—even onplanet—
and hardly worth the ef ort to produce in-house when
purchasing it from outside contractors will suffice.
ITS 'Mech not Mech... you see that damned thing in front?! USE IT.... 'Mech is shortened from BATTLEMECH.... i hate u all... HA!

Offline Chaoswolf

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Re: about industrials...
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2008, 07:27:36 AM »
ENGINES AND PROPULSION

Another prominent difference between a BattleMech and
IndustrialMechs of any kind are their drive systems. Their engines
in general and the configuration of propulsion technologies—in
a direct relation to task and structural core—vary greatly.

Propulsion

IndustrialMechs are produced today mainly in the proven twoor
four-legged walking designs we all know and love. Standard
human-emulators, like Security-, Firefighter- or ForestryMechs
still follow the same basic principles as a BattleMech. Other bipeds,
however, like Loader- and ConstructionMechs, need even
more stable footing and leg structure to deal with their alternating
weight loads, and thus require a more shifted point of balance,
even including adapted sole design or gripping mechanisms to
help anchor them, as well as larger footprints.
HarvesterMechs, on the other hand, need the smallest area of
support possible, minimizing the damage done to crops and soil.
Meanwhile, Scavenger- and CargoMechs are spidery constructions
that must be able to cross over any terrain thinkable to execute
their missions. Even more radical and uncommon motive
modifications exist out there, such as the foot-mounted tracks
that allow some Mining- or TunnelMechs to work and move
more easily in cramped emplacements. These modifications are
maintenance-intensive, however, and therefore represent a potentially
rewarding endeavor for our company.
The listing of examples can be extended almost indefinitely,
for every existing application of IndustrialMechs. As with the
structural core, Gilmour Miltech has limited knowledge in these
non-trivial matters.

Engines

Whereas BattleMechs rely entirely on fusion energy to fuel
their systems, an IndustrialMech can be outfitted with nearly any
power source desired, based on its profile or the needs (and budget)
of the customer.
Internal combustion engines (ICE) depend on various natural
resources like petrochemicals, methane or hydrogen in refined
form, and require oxygen to work. Relatively inexpensive and uncomplicated
to manufacture and maintain, they are widely available
and in common use. In fact, several planetary corporations
could provide us with such engines in different power classes,
tailored to our specifications, leaving our resources free for other
endeavors. This is an important point to keep in mind, as the cost
to import fusion engines is horrendous. Buying ICEs from local
suppliers would also free up valuable shipping resources, which
we could then rerout into our distribution efforts.
Still, alternative power sources are necessary for special environments.
It will probably take several projects to determine
when and how to install fuel cells, fission or fusion reactors. All of
these require no oxygen, but differ in cost, size and weight as well
as durability. In the case of fission piles, radiation becomes a signifi
cant issue, but because such engines are employed in niche
markets only—such as mining or automated construction in
space—we see no incentive to take any steps in that direction.
Fuel cells also should be taken into consideration. They have
proven to be a viable alternative to fusion engines in civilian applications.
Today’s technology offers several solutions for how to
combine two suitable reactants. With the added benefit of virtually
no heat generation, this technology has no apparent drawbacks—
at least not if regular refueling can be assured and the
unit is not intended for battlefield usage.

Addendum

On the matter of jump jets: It goes without saying that
IndustrialMechs powered by non-fusion or non-fission engines
may not install these technologies. They also require intensive
training of operators, and some worlds even demand that pilots
be properly licensed for jump jet use in addition to any regular
IndustrialMech-licenses they might already have. Jump jets’ applicability
to the IndustrialMech market is questionable, and so
these remain an uncommon sight on such machines, but we
should remain aware of them nonetheless.

ACTUATORS, MYOMERS AND MAIN SYSTEMS

In its inner workings, a ’Mech remains a ’Mech, whether built for
warfare or civilian purposes. The actuators, myomers and joints
in IndustrialMechs hardly differ from those used in equal-sized
BattleMechs. Though they are perhaps less resistant to damage
because of the materials chosen, they are only more prone to failure
when misused or abused through constant, daily operations
and neglected maintenance.
Differences exist, of course, in how those parts are placed
and where they perform their work. As mentioned above,
IndustrialMechs often difer from war machines in their basic
configurations. This naturally leads to sometimes-creative alternative
arrangements of actuators and similar elements. It also
again underscores the imperative to employ specialists in this
technical field, if we ever want to leave the niche of standard
configuration BattleMechs.
ITS 'Mech not Mech... you see that damned thing in front?! USE IT.... 'Mech is shortened from BATTLEMECH.... i hate u all... HA!

Offline Chaoswolf

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Re: about industrials...
« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2008, 07:29:11 AM »
Myomers

A word must be said about myomer muscles in particular.
Even if we can use standard categories from our portfolio in the
preliminary phases, we will still need to explore further development.
When shifting the main focus beyond reliability,
stronger and respectively faster-reacting myomers available
to IndustrialMech use may come to mind.
Currently, the only such advancement available on the
open market is so-called Industrial TSM, a FedSuns product
derived from military triple-strength myomer. Unlike its predecessor,
Industrial TSM operates at normal temperatures,
but still doubles the sheer physical strength of an equipped
‘Mech, multiplying its performance.
Cockpit and Sensor Systems
The often-heard statement that, “Core electronics installed
in IndustrialMechs are much less sophisticated than in their
BattleMech counterparts” is only partly correct, and understates
the circumstances of specialization.
Obviously, a machine for civilian use mounts systems that
are far less protected than those in BattleMechs. They lack
the redundancy, shielding installations and other safety
mechanisms expected on similar systems meant for combat.
Automated fire suppressors, ejection seats—these simply
have a different place in IndustrialMech design when one
does the necessary investment/yield calculations.
Specifi c sensors on an IndustrialMech design, however,
often surpass the capabilities and complexity of any bluntinstrument,
military-grade equipment. Perfect examples are
the Magnetic Anomaly Detector (MAD) equivalents used on
some MiningMechs, which not only detect lumps of metal
and veins, but also deliver specific analyses of composition,
density and other relevant factors for successful mining
operations.

Gyroscopes

Apart from lesser redundancy tie-ins to cut costs,
IndustrialMech gyroscopes do not differ from the standard
models produced by our contractors. Somewhat of an oddity,
however, is the fact that a lot of IndustrialMechs—unlike
BattleMechs—make little to no significant use of neurohelmet-
assisted balance support. The driver of a IndustrialMech
relies entirely on manual control instead—a byproduct of the
technology loss seen during the Succession Wars.
Addendum
Please note that this document concerns standard models.
It is, of course, possible to design IndustrialMechs with
advanced fi re control systems, environmental sealing and
other technical upgrades. Such variants can be ready-made
for whatever market demands them.
ITS 'Mech not Mech... you see that damned thing in front?! USE IT.... 'Mech is shortened from BATTLEMECH.... i hate u all... HA!

Offline Chaoswolf

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Re: about industrials...
« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2008, 07:31:02 AM »
TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT
Finally, to the most telling aspect in IndustrialMech engineering:
the tools of their trades, the defining equipment of
these machines.
Just as IndustrialMech applications are nearly limitless, so
is the range of equipment available to them. Basically, everything
that can be mounted on a vehicle of any kind can
be welded onto an IndustrialMech—only larger, and with
greater flexibility in application and performance. This, added
to the ability to cross nearly any terrain imaginable at reasonable
speed, makes such a machine a valuable asset.
With most equipment arm-mountable, an IndustrialMech
can play to advantages over similarly equipped conventional
vehicles, such as higher dexterity, greater reach and even the
ability to wield two tools simultaneously without interference.
An experienced pilot can use both arms at the same time,
doubling productivity when operating an IndustrialMech so
equipped, though it would be more common and economical
to employ different devices in each arm to eliminate any
need for machine swaps.

Weaponry

It is also possible to install standard heavy weapons on
IndustrialMech chassis, provided the power source delivers
the output needed. Of course, energy weapons such as lasers
and PPCs would require power amplifi ers when powered by
ICE- or fuel cell-based engines.
Unsurprisingly, such armaments are legally restricted on
most worlds. Therefore it is of utmost importance to coordinate
the necessary permits with our customers and their
homeworld governments before delivering an armed unit to
them. Our company could not weather the legal fallout and
loss of reputation if, for example, a SecurityMech we manufacture
ends up being used outside its specified tasks.
Let us be realistic: Not all IndustrialMechs serve peaceful
purposes. Several past and current reports indicate the use
of such machines in combat on rare occasions. Though this
seems to occur out of sheer desperation in most cases, we
confirmed rumors of small factions and insurgent groups
fielding upgraded civilian ’Mechs on purpose. Also, several
reports covered sightings of “upgraded” hardware: Machines
with belted-on military grade weaponry or bolted-on additional
armor, for example—used as cheap and readily available
tools of warfare. Far from able to stop a BattleMech, but
good enough to wage a guerrilla campaign, such monstrosities
can hold their own against a more conventional army at
practically no cost.
This recent development provides a host of new opportunities
that are beyond the scope of this briefing, but further
emphasize the importance of this potential new market for a
dedicated and creative company like Gilmour Miltech.

CONCLUSION

From technical and organizational standpoints, Gilmour
Miltech can branch into the IndustrialMech market within the
demanded time frame. Building up of competitive know-how
may, however, require at least another three years, if no outside
help is obtained before that time.
Once we have laid this groundwork, a whole universe of
opportunities should open in a promising market, assuring
our company’s future. A definitive recommendation will be
given after the presentation of other options investigated by
this team.

Laszlo Hornstein
Head of Project
Task Force Dagobert
March 31st, 3070

alright.. i know its not as much info as the "About 'Mechs..." section, but its gona hafta do.. :)
ITS 'Mech not Mech... you see that damned thing in front?! USE IT.... 'Mech is shortened from BATTLEMECH.... i hate u all... HA!

Offline death_grin

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Re: about industrials...
« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2008, 02:06:11 PM »
haha that would be awesome to have some neutural industrial or aggro mechs scattered around the battlefield.  Thats veery very low on the list of low things though.

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Offline Seraph

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Re: about industrials...
« Reply #6 on: April 29, 2008, 02:10:26 PM »
maybe you could even add them to some mission goals? Like "run the indy mech into that building" or stuff like that :D Or let infantry be able to actually use them? Would be a nice feature!
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Offline death_grin

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Re: about industrials...
« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2008, 02:12:44 PM »
my thought was to allow infantry to use them.

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Offline Seraph

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Re: about industrials...
« Reply #8 on: April 29, 2008, 02:19:51 PM »
Great! Can't wait to see that too :D
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Offline TimoBlastem

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Re: about industrials...
« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2008, 07:07:52 PM »
If infantry can use them, then perhaps they should be able to capture checkpoints as well.  It would be some incentive to use them.

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Offline IgnisTemper

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Re: about industrials...
« Reply #10 on: April 30, 2008, 09:44:18 PM »
They'd probably get used anyway as they'd be free mechs.  I would assume that they wouldn't respawn until after a map reset if they were put in right?

Offline Seraph

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Re: about industrials...
« Reply #11 on: May 01, 2008, 01:37:47 PM »
Well - mechs without armor or weapons. But nevertheless we might be able to use them for melee combat! woot :D
Seraph - "The Can Man"
In the heat of battle, legends are born ...



Offline TimoBlastem

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Re: about industrials...
« Reply #12 on: May 01, 2008, 06:25:25 PM »
It would be hilarious to buy them with a modest weapon load out.  Like "Tommy's First Mech!" because it could be accessible to any rant, capture checkpoints, and cheap.  But then again, we have elementals for that.   :P

Maybe they'll just be used for high speed transports in a CTF game.   :D


Offline MechPredator

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Re: about industrials...
« Reply #13 on: November 30, 2008, 06:26:18 PM »
I think the only one that could work is a  salvage-mech


(just one of the many)

When you scavenge a mech, the original owner will get some credits back, the scavenger him(her)self gets a bigger part. Besides, when you scavenge the mech of an enemy, the scavenger gets a bonus.
The salvage mech is very cheap (maybe prespawned), for they cannot protect themselves.

 
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Offline (TLL)FredrickTech

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Re: about industrials...
« Reply #14 on: December 25, 2008, 01:25:14 AM »
There was a ForestryMech I saw in a (shudder) Dark Age novel which had a low-power laser, but even low-power lasers are enough to boil someone's guts into a vapor.

I love your write-ups, though, Chaoswolf, and I really would buy a book styled to look like a magazine filled with articles by you on all sorts of stuff.  Loving it.

Yeah, SalvageMechs would work, but I think that'd have to be something added in way far from now, possibly as a third-party addition(It'd be nice to have some ability for people to add in more 'Mechs etc after the devs eventually finish--probably a pipe dream though  :-\ ) It'd be a cool thing, too--someone salvages a downed Uller or something off of the clan team, and the next round there's one Uller available to buy in the 'Mech bay, with priority going to the guy that salvaged it, or he could sell it and let anyone on the IS team buy it.
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