The purpose of this stage is to manufacture a pilot batch for verifying the device operability and eliminating any possible errors made in the design stage. The pilot batch samples can then be used to market the product to potential customers and investors or prepared for device certification tests.
At this stage we purchase components, assemble the PCB, check the device enclosure for ease of assembly, and produce first article devices which are close to the final design. After assembling the PCBs, we perform a first launch/start test. Then we port the operating system and boot loader, drivers, and high-level system software. All device components are assembled together and thorough integration testing is performed.
With the results of operational testing, functional requirements for the product and design documentation can be changed as needed. The majority of functionalities implemented on the program level do not require any hardware changes – that is why they can be handled during other product development stages. At this point clients may decide to change or add functionality and repeat one or more development iterations, which can result in modifications to schematics, construction, PCBs, etc. The risks of such a scenario are much higher if you skip Stage 1 or 2 of the development process: ‘Product Concept Creation’ and ‘Proof-of-Concept’.
The result of this stage is the creation of a functional pilot batch for integration testing. After the results of the testing, changes in the design documentation can be made as necessary.