To speak with an engineer: 877-776-2849
The Design Process
Investigation and Assessment
We know from our experience that the time invested at the beginning of product development is time well spent. We take that time. Our consultative approach engages our clients before the outset of product development to ensure a thorough understanding of the product requirements and use factors.
- Functional Description — what the product will do, how it will be used, who will use it.
- Product Requirements — a variety of external influences that will affect the product design
approach are considered including:
- Cost requirements.
- Physical attributes including size, weight, accessibility, packaging, security.
- Environmental considerations including temperature, shock, vibration, water
and chemical resistance.
- Product volumes.
- Certifications and compliance.
As the result of the above investigation phase, a detailed design description of the product will be created. This is reviewed by all parties and agreed upon as the governing requirements document for the product. All distinct performance specifications will be listed.
Technology Assessment and Selection
Technology approaches and platforms will be assessed to best meet and balance the cost, performance, and quality objectives of the product. Included in this phase are:
- Component engineering
- Design for manufacturability (DFM)
- Design for testability (DFT)
Product development follows traditional concurrent engineering principals with overlapping functional interactions between the various engineering disciplines. Agreement as to the ultimate approach is planned and documented before development begins. The typical product development cycle includes the following steps:
- Circuit design — documents the interconnections between all devices in the design.
- Printed Circuit Board design/layout — size, cost, DFM, DFT, compliance, and reliability are all
incorporated into the PCB design.
- Firmware development, programmable device programming — this is the code that runs
internally to the microprocessor and other programmable devices that determine the specific
functionality of the product.
- ”Bread-board“ — the use of development kits and bread-boarding is done to prove design
concepts and pre-test the design and firmware.
- Software development — typically done in parallel with hardware design to minimize
- Mechanical design — industrial and mechanical engineers develop CAD and 3-D images of the
mechanical components of the product.
Prototype Build and Test
A few prototypes are built to prove all aspects of product design and the manufacturability of the product. Much of this work is done by hand. Lessons learned from the prototype build are rolled into the designs for pre-production build. The prototype build typically results in working product that can be shown and demonstrated for pre-sales or funding efforts.
The purpose of this build is two-fold: final verification of product design, and the set-up and optimization of the manufacturing process. This build is done through normal manufacturing processes including:
- Automated assembly
- Automated inspection
- In-circuit test
- Functional test
- Firmware loading
- Finalization of Bill of Materials
- Form, fit, and function of all mechanical parts
- Design verification testing
- Reliability testing (ESS, shock, vibration)
- Compliance and Certification testing
- System integration and test
- Margin testing