Getting Design Right the First Time
Getting your electronics manufacturing design right is critical to cost-effective product development. Unfortunately, too few product development teams understand the complexity of electronics manufacturing design. Failure to adhere to a proven design process can result in inflated costs and inhibit iteration.
Following are the critical stages that all successful product development projects include:
Product application involves carefully considering the idea’s source, the product’s purpose, and the eventual environment in which the end product will be used. A clear understanding of the product application will help in the selection of ideal components, thereby maximizing durability without overengineering and excess costs.
With a clear understanding of the product application, experienced designers will work closely with sourcing agents to identify cost-effective options, price points, and the potential impact of logistics. One of the most costly mistakes made with material selection is selecting a material that is scarce, nearing end-of-life, or located in a particularly remote or challenging location. The prototype stage should only begin once all aspects of material selection have been analyzed, their costs assessed, and their supply chain secured mid-to-long-term.
Next, the dimensions and production processes must be defined. Decisions will need to be made about the scale of the product, the specifications to which it will be produced, the order of manufacturing operations, which production aspects will be manual and which can be automated, and how quality will be measured throughout the process.
Before full-scale production can begin, most engineers will create a working prototype. This makes it possible to prove concepts more cost-effectively, iterating the end product while streamlining the manufacturing process. A key part of this stage will be comprehensive testing of the prototype according to the original application, determining if the individual components and final form perform efficiently and reliably and if any improvements can be made.
The electronics manufacturing design process need not be a complicated process. Still, it must adhere to a methodical approach that accounts for the greatest number of details and variables to be successful. Considering the ultra-competitive marketplace and the increasing costs of labor, technology, and raw materials, getting the design right the first time can be the difference between failure and profitability,