Electronic product design cycle includes the following major stages:
1. Product concept
Our technical experts and industry specialists create a detailed specification of the new product and its concept design. The specification includes a full list of all requirements to the product while the concept design contains a full description of its functional features and benefits.
At the same time, business analysts make up a business plan on the basis of the selected business model and expert reviews. This stage can also include a variety of product research done, such as marketing or investment research.
The result of this stage is a complete package of documentation that describes the product concept.
Next thing that we do is we specify the prices with the companies manufacturing the required components. After we select the manufacturers, we sign a nondisclosure agreement (NDA) and receive, as necessary, additional technical data. Then, we choose base components and calculate preliminary self-cost of a product (so-called Bill of Materials or BOM). When making preliminary calculations, we take into account the cost of manufacturing batches of different volume.
The device implementation then has to be verified by our specialists. By the end of this stage of our electronics design services, a device prototype is assembled and tested. To develop and assemble it, we purchase an evaluation kit for the chosen target platform. Our engineers evaluate the selected hardware and software technical solutions. They also assess potential weaknesses in the context of technical feasibility, the platform’s performance and other essential characteristics.
As the result of this stage, we can understand whether we chose the right platform and best engineering solutions. Also, in many cases, we develop a limited functionality, ‘desk-type’ prototype of the device.
3. Electronics Product Development
During this stage, we specify a list of required components and then design a PCB (print circuit board). We also make a Bill of Materials (a list of all components) and acquire accurate prices from the suppliers.
Then, our engineers design HMI (human-machine interface) and determine control and information display units. At the same time, engineers design the interface, create concepts of controls, and build the functions tree.
Simultaneously with the schematic development, a device case design is developed. We create a solid model and mechanical design of the case on the basis of a previously developed sketch and the HMI, and then carry out PCB layout in the required form-factor.
After defining the software architecture at the previous stage, we implement it and then adapt and elaborate the software. Our specialists develop and perform all types of testing needed for verifying the software operation and its correctness. They also develop program tests allowing checking both hardware and software operations.
The result of the electronic product development stage is a full package of the device’s design documentation and final preparation for the manufacturing a pilot batch.
4. Pilot Production
What happens during this stage is that Corechip specialists buy and assemble the components, PCBs are put into production, and ease of assembly is verified. Then, we place orders for the device enclosure (cases) that look alike the final version. After PCBs are assembled, the first launch (so-called ‘bring-up’) is performed. Next, the operating system and the bootloader are ported, high-level software, system, and drivers are elaborated. Finally, Corechip specialists assemble the device components together and perform thorough integration testing.
When testing results are achieved and test operation is performed, we can elaborate the product’s functional requirements and change—if needed—the design documentation package. Any software changes can be dealt with during other stages, because most of them do not require changes at the hardware level.
Some of our clients ask for repeating of one or several iterations of electronic development. Such iterations can result in changes of construction, schematics, PCBs, etc. In cases when stage 1 (‘Product Concept’) or 2 (‘Proof-of-Concept’) were skipped, this scenario is much more likely.
As the result, by the end of this stage a functional pilot batch ready for integration testing is created. When testing is completed, design documentation can be amended when needed.
5. Tests and Certification
By the end of the fifth stage of our electronic product design services, the achieved result is the decision of a corresponding organization whether preliminary certification tests for the device are going to be run, and their results.
6. Preparation for production and launch of pilot batch
Then, Corechip specialists perform the final optimization of the Bill of Materials, prepare the package of final documentation and together with our engineering technologists develop assembly charts for the particular products. At this point, detailed logistics plans are also made, and bottlenecks, risks and possible weaknesses of large-scale production are being examined.
After the test coverage for the JTAG analyzer is developed and verified by our team, this technology is introduced into production. At the same time, tools for the POST testing and post-production tests are developed, if the test coverage needs to be increased.
The result of the sixth stage includes a manufactured pilot batch and developed documentation for the launch of full-scale manufacture of the future device.
7. Full-scale production
During this stage, the mass production can be supported by our engineers in the following ways:
- technological process control
- product quality control
- quick reaction to components replacements (for example if any component is not available, etc.)
- determination of causes for defects that occur during production (violation of technological processes, low quality of initial components)
- increasing the test coverage and improvement of test procedures for detected bottlenecks
- optimizing the production process in order to save money on costs
The result of the experts’ work during this stage is quality assurance of the production process and a batch of the manufactured products delivered to our customer.