Good Electronic Design – Beyond Nuts and Bolts

April 29 2021

Good Electronic Design – Beyond Nuts and Bolts

Good electronic design requires partnering with a strong engineering design group, not just an ECM well versed in assembly alone. The value of design capabilities is often overlooked but can be a crucial asset throughout the project. Goals need to be communicated clearly, drawings need to be detailed, and materials and specifications need to be accurate for a successful outcome. When the design phase doesn’t make it beyond the basic nuts and bolts, the product will often not meet the perceived expectations. Outsourcing to a strong ECM will take your electronic design from the basics to something great.

Why Outsource to an Engineering Design Group?Legacy Electronic Products

Many companies who choose to outsource to an engineering design group are on the cutting edge of technology and understand what they want, but are also wise enough to know that they do not have the capabilities and equipment to take the project from concept to completion. They know that the ideas and designs they envision require a strong engineering design group and an ECM with the right experts and equipment to take their project through the entire process from concept to completion. 

An engineering partnership is a mutually beneficial relationship. It allows the technology company to rely on the experts in both engineering and manufacturing to work with the components and processes necessary. The technology customer will benefit from on-site engineers, decreased production costs, and speed of completion. Outsourcing to a full-service partnership means that the company looking for an ECM understands that it takes many experts to bring a project to life. Outsourcing should always be looked at as a partnership of experts.

A Partnership with an Engineering Design Group Adds to Your Business

Technology is becoming more and more complex. Having the engineering expertise in-house to take your design from concept to completion is crucial.  

  •   PCB Assembly

Printed circuit boards will not only be assembled, but tested to ensure functionality.

  •   Cable and Wire Harness Assembly

This can include harnesses, control panels, boxes, subassemblies, and panel wiring.

  •   Box Builds

Also referred to as electromechanical assembly. A dedicated team is necessary for this assembly service.

  •   Contract Design

Experts in electronic engineering and manufacturing will understand the specific needs of each project.

  •   Testing

Failing to test can be expensive through fixing mistakes, increased delivery times, and your reputation. An ECM partner ensures that every design will be thoroughly tested.

  •   Prototyping

Visual models, proof of concept, working prototypes, and functional prototypes are all necessary for a successful outcome. It allows the engineering design group to confirm all specifications and functionality before production.

All of these elements are crucial to good electronic design and require an expert who understands how to move the project from design to product. When even one of the steps is missed, the project can become a costly mistake.

The Importance of the Engineering Design Group

Some ECMs may focus only on the manufacturing and leave the electronic design to the engineers. But there is a strong benefit to looking for an ECM that goes beyond the manufacturing piece of the process. This partner will not only take the manufacturing work off your hands but can help make your design even better. In-house engineers mean that you have an engineering design group at the ready, making your project a priority. They can:

  •   Assist in redesigning for parts obsolescence, even for components that may become obsolete during the process.
  •   Troubleshoot continuously to uncover any potential issues and promptly address them.
  •   Streamline design for excellent functionality.
  •   Reverse engineer to extract design information.
  •   Provide experienced design support.

An expert engineering design group will be as invested in your project as you are and will provide fundamental support, state-of-the-art manufacturing technology, and quality assurance. A full-service ECM partner goes beyond the nuts and bolts of simply manufacturing a quality project, with attention to detail at every stage from design to delivery.

Levison Enterprises offers more than electronic assembly. We also offer electronic design, custom prototype, PCBA manufacture and PCB assembly

What Does an Electronic Design Project Need to be Successful?

To be successful, an electronic design program needs to meet or exceed the customer’s expectations, be reliable and robust, meet the specifications, and be manufacturable. If one of these characteristics isn’t met, the project will not be up to the goals and standards expected by both the customer and the ECM partner. While the ECM piece is important to the success of the project, this is simply the nuts and bolts piece of the puzzle. The engineering design group component of the project is what can elevate a project through to success.

Meet and Exceed Customer Expectations

To have a quality product, you need to begin by identifying and quantifying the end goal. What will the product need to accomplish? What are the conditions? Without a clear and quantifiable end goal, an electronic design may falter from the beginning, since it will become difficult to determine if the goal has been met. Simply having a functioning project isn’t always the right end goal, and most engineers recognize this. An engineering design group can sit with the customer and determine what, exactly, the expectations are, and work backward to determine what design and manufacturing will need to happen to achieve that ultimate end model. 

In addition to producing the final product desired, all specifications and timeframes will need to be met as well. The customer needs to look at the final product and be happy with seeing their concept come to life in the time frame imagined. If the customer doesn’t feel that the product matches their vision, the partnership cannot be considered successful. A quality engineering design group will monitor the expectations throughout the process to ensure that the customer is satisfied with the progression.

Reliable and Robust

Reliability is important for any product creator or manufacturer. If you have designed an electronic product to meet a need, you would likely prefer that product is able to operate and meet the intended need for a reasonable length of time without failure. Simply put, your product should work, and work more than once, no matter how simple or complex the components of your product are. Good electronic design focuses on creating products that will not only work but will last. Products with good electronic design will be able to withstand repeated use, environmental factors, and will work to their full capability. A robust product is one that customers can rely on.

Good Electronic Design 

This is where the true partnership is demonstrated in electronic design, and where the ECM, the engineering design group, and the product creator meet. There are many ways a product can be designed from the initial sketch, and many ways the project can be completed. While there will inevitably be changes from the birth of the idea to the delivery, the specifications need to be aligned with the customer. A quality partnership means that the engineering design group may suggest improvements, change components to prevent obsolescence, or determine ways to make the product more reliable or efficient.

Adjustments based on prototyping and testing leads to success. Collaborating over these projected adjustments ensures the specifications are still in line with the customer’s desires for the product. Making changes to the original specifications without involving the customer will often result in a customer feeling unsatisfied with the final product, even if the substitutions were made for good reason. Don’t settle for less.

Good Electronic Design is Manufacturable 

The goal of an electronic design project is to take an idea and create a product that can be manufactured and used. Ideas and concepts are good in theory, but until they are able to be manufactured, they will stay in the theoretical stage. Occasionally, the concept is lost during the manufacturing process because the design did not start with the end goal in mind, and the product is not as useful as it was intended to be at the start. 

A good design engineering group can bridge the gap between the idea and the plan for assembly. This group can take a sketch and create a process that is simple, clear, and uncomplicated, focusing on the end goal of what the product needs to accomplish and how manufacturing will make that happen. 

When a design engineering group begins to partner with a customer on a product, this is where the focus is kept. The design is one that the engineers know the ECM will be able to manufacture, which means the customer will come out with a functional product in the end. An engineering design team keeps their eye on the big picture, without getting bogged down in the theoretical ideas that can’t make it off paper.

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Design and Redesign: Finding the Right ECM Partner

The right partner is one that will see customer satisfaction as being equivalent with a quality product. The right partner knows what good design characteristics are because they will strive for those characteristics in every aspect of their own work and constantly raise their own expectations.

The right partner will take your idea and design plan and work with you to take your plan further and ensure the success of the final product. With the right partnership, your idea, which may start as a simple sketch, can move through the process and end with a reliable, quality, and functional final product. The connection of good design with expert manufacturing focuses on the two elements working well together to produce the quality that you are looking for in technical solutions.

When the partnership is right, the process is so much more than the nuts and bolts of manufacturing. The engineering design group raises the quality of the entire process, from drawings to materials to manufacturing to testing, and ultimately to completion. The right partnership works with your ideas and specifications to focus on the end goal of a product that meets a real need and gives you exactly what you envisioned when the concept was born.

Finding the right partner can be a challenge. Some partners expect that you have taken care of all the design components and will only produce exactly what you hand them, even if it isn’t the best way to go. You may get what you ask for – the basic nuts and bolts. But the right partnership with a quality design engineering group and ECM, you will get what you ask for and more. Contact Levison Enterprises to learn more about how we can help you with your next electronic design. 

*This post has been updated for 2021

Tags: Electronic Contract Manufacturing, Electronic Design

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