PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT PROCESS
When designing new electronic products, there are seven development stages that we follow.
Some stages can have several iterations, and this is normal in the process of creating technically complex and competitive products with software-hardware platforms.
The product development process entails the following stages:
- Product Concept Creation
- Device development
- Assembly and verification of pilot batch
- Certification tests
- Preparation for production and pilot batch launch
- Full-scale production
Product Concept Creation
This stage of development is where product design and functional features are determined. When appropriate, we sign NDAs with the customer and begin the process of defining the functional-technical product characteristics with the goal of ensuring success of the device. If necessary we can also analyze competitive products to aid in the functional-technical characteristics.
Working with the customer, our engineering staff prepares a detailed requirements specification and a product concept design, with a full description of functional features and benefits for customer approval. Additional marketing and product research can be conducted at this stage as well.
The result of this stage of development is a documentation package that defines the product concept.
At this stage, we write design specifications, and analyze product uses.
We specify necessary components and correspond with appropriate suppliers to obtain necessary product technical information. We then select the base components and make preliminary calculations of cost by taking into account the costs of manufacturing in different batches.
We verify device implementation, and assemble and test a device prototype. We then evaluate the selected hardware and software solutions; examine potentially weak points from the point of view of technical implementation, platform performance and other important characteristics. As a result, we can come to a conclusion about the correctness of the product’s target platform.
The result of this stage is the conclusion about the correctness of the selected platform and justification of technical decisions. A device prototype with limited functionality may also be created during this stage.
The purpose of this stage is to create a design and project documentation package for the created device.
At this stage we create an electrical schematic, design a printed circuit board (PCB) and create a components list (Bill of Materials) to obtain firm pricing from the appropriate suppliers.
We would then define the control and information required for a user interface, design the interface, and build the functions tree and create controls concepts.
In tandem with the user interface development, we create a device enclosure prototype. On the basis of this design and the user interface, we create a solid model and device construction diagrams.
The software architecture, which was defined at the previous stage, is implemented and the software is created and tested to verify correct operation. In parallel we also create program tests that will allow checks of both software and hardware operation.
The result of this stage is a package of design documentation for the device and the completion of final preparations for manufacturing the pilot batch.
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.
Certifications, such as FCC, UL, EU, etc may be required for your product. Our experience shows that if you do not take into consideration the necessity of making preliminary certification tests then you are at a higher risk of experiencing material losses later. At this stage we need to define the class of the device, the necessity of a preliminary certification test, prepare the test schedule, and supervise the certification testing. Based on the results of preliminary testing, we review the results and, if necessary, make changes in design documentation.
The goal of this stage will be to provide the appropriate organization with the testing results for certification of the device.
Preparation for Production and Pilot Batch Launch
The main purpose of the pilot batch launch is to prepare the product for full-scale production and verify efficient manufacturability of the device. At this stage we can detect product design defects, which may not have been detected on the small number of samples, and implement alterations as necessary.
We then perform final optimization of BOM (Bill of Materials), write final documentation and, create final assembly instructions for production.
The result of this stage is a manufactured pilot batch and documentation package for launching the product into full-scale production.
The purpose of this stage is the industrial production of the device, ready to be sold to the end user.
At this stage, we support full-scale production by:
Control materials sourcing and purchasing
- Ensure availability of replacement components due to various reasons (such as components that are not available or out of production)
- Ensure ongoing product quality with regular in-process audits to verify use of approved materials, compliance with assembly instructions, ensure product quality meets customer expectations, and ensure performance testing requirements are met
- Determine reasons and correct the emergence of possible defects experienced during production
- Improve or eliminate production/delivery bottlenecks and continual optimization of the production process in order to further reduce costs.
- Manage the importation process
- Manage domestic product stocking and distribution