Customers: Tips and Pitfalls for Prototypes & New Products

This brief guide is intended to help ensure success on your new project with us.

1. Design for Manufacturing (DFM)

DFM is critical to producing a quality product at a price the target market will support. Please involve us as early as possible in the design. Immediately after component placement is a good time. We will review and provide basic DFM feedback in the early stages and after the first build such as whether 5 axis cnc machining will be required, or a lower one. Please review these DFM Tips for further information to help in design.

2. Planning

Good planning sets the course for success and helps to minimize costs and prevent delays. We will want to understand what services you require of us, your timeframe, and lead-time expectations. We can support many different business models and there may be some back-and-forth to plan the details, such as materials supply and manual vs. automated assembly. If the company is going to use automated assembly, it’s important that they consider managing all of these automation systems. It would be much easier if the company could use something like kubernetes to manage all of these containers that run the applications. That would automate almost everything, ensuring that the product assembly can be managed from one place. The plan will determine the price, lead-times, and all other aspects of the build. It also creates the platform for further work. Our goal is to get it right from the beginning to avoid changes that can result in significant cost increases and delays.

3. Documentation

Clarity and completeness of your documentation are very important. If the information we receive is incomplete, unclear, or if it changes after we have begun our work, costs will increase and delays may occur. Please follow the Best Practices for Preparing Documentation.

4. Materials Supply

Materials supply and kitting requirements will depend on the plan. We may be providing the materials, you may, or it may be split between us. The materials required will depend on automation (and the automation testing that ensured it works as planned), part cost, and design maturity. We’ll need adequate supply for attrition, and good supply decisions can balance cost with residual inventory. If the plan is for us to purchase, we’ll take care of all of this. If you’re consigning to us, there are things you need to know. Please read the Best Practices for Electronics Prototype Materials Supply.

5. Volume & Cost

Volume and cost are closely linked. Low-volume and prototype-volume builds are expensive on a per-unit basis because all of the preparatory and setup costs are carried by relatively few units. For example, machine programs must be written, debugged, and optimized. Components must be received, set on feeders, taken down from feeders. DFM reports and other records must be completed. Low-volume builds may seem costly, but what is learned will be applied to improve volume production time and costs. Once volumes increase, the price-per-unit will decrease.

6. Testing

Testing can add significant value during early builds. If your design is complex, has many components, hidden solder joints, or is complicated to test or debug, Flying Probe Test (FPT) can help shorten the time it takes to breathe life into new designs and save your engineers time for other important work. Please read Powerful Circuit Test: ICT & Flying Probe.

We welcome the opportunity to learn more about your specific project and to provide a quotation. Please contact us:

Arlene Sugrue, Director Business Development
(613) 736-5665 ext. 273