Design engineering is used by innovative companies globally to develop products and systems that benefit from fusing design concepts and multi-disciplines engineering knowledge. A design engineering team will research and design new products and analyse existing products to identify opportunities for improvement. They will ensure designs are functional, safe and compliant with best practises by finding and eliminating design flaws.
The design engineering process is iterative or cyclical, meaning an idea will go through the steps many times to distil the product down to its most elegant and practical form. Before commencing the design engineering process, it’s important to ensure the team is set up for success by selecting the right EMS partner. An effective EMS partner will work with your design team to bring your product to life in a sustainable way. They will provide helpful feedback and ensure your product adheres to industry standards.
When initiating the design process, a team will focus on designing for manufacturability. It involves working with key stakeholders during the prototype phase to ensure the resulting product can hold up to the manufacturing process. Alongside manufacturability, the team will consider electronic hardware design which determines functionality and aesthetics. In addition, the design team determines Hardware architecture options based on available technologies, and through a cyclical process of problem-solving, brainstorming, and testing, develops a simple and effective product.
Why is design engineering an important part of the process?
Design engineering applies extensive DFX methodologies to create a functional and manufacturable product. In addition, the approach is cost-effective as it anticipates expensive problems that may arise in the manufacturing process and ameliorate them in the development's prototype phases. Problems are identified and improved early in the design process, which saves the time and resources required to address issues retroactively that emerge downstream.
What are the steps involved?
When initiating the design process, a team will focus on designing for manufacturability. This involves working with key stakeholders during the prototype phase to ensure the resulting product can hold up to the manufacturing process. Alongside manufacturability, the team will consider electronic hardware design components which determine functionality and aesthetics. Hardware architecture options are limited by the type of technology used, which the design team also needs to determine.
Through a cyclical process of problem solving, brainstorming and testing, a design team will develop a product that is simple and effective.
Outlining the design approach
When it comes to the design process, it can go two different ways. The first would be to use a design brought by the customer themselves, and the second would be to adopt a collaborative approach with the EMS partner.
You can choose the right EMS partner by looking into their track record with design services. Pick those with prior experience and readily available design platforms for a smoother process. When you pick the right partner, you’re effectively reducing errors and delays in your manufacturing timelines as well as costs incurred. Setting the right design process from the get-go is key to having a seamless manufacturing journey later on.
Assembling product design
A prototype will be proposed once a solution is selected from the brainstorming process. This prototype will match the client requirements and be examined by manufacturers, partners and other stakeholders. The design team will select optimal materials for manufacturability.
By designing for manufacturability and assembly (DFMA), the team will employ the same approach used by top electronics engineers and designers. Keeping DFMA guidelines in mind throughout the design process will ensure the end product is efficient, uses economical strategies and is optimised for production and performance. The benefits of DFMA are clear; businesses experience accelerated time-to-market, lower production costs, decreased cost of product ownership, shortened development process, preemptive troubleshooting and increased product quality and reliability.
If the DFMA is used throughout the research and development process, then a design team can confidently present a potential prototype to stakeholders knowing that the design is sustainable and high-quality.
Testing & Manufacturing process
Once the prototype is approved and constructed, it must go through an intense testing process. Operational testing will ensure that the product is functional and ascertain potential challenges to useage. It will also ensure that a product adheres to relevant industry regulations concerning usability and manufacturing.
PCI’s design centres offer prototype testing as part of their design engineering services. PCI can help your organisation design and test electronics, firmware development (namely HMI innovations), mechanical engineering projects, IoT and embedded systems.
Alongside a DFMA approach to design, PCI also uses Design for Procurement, Design for Cost, Design for Testability and Design for Mechanical Assembly. No matter your organisation’s requirements, PCI can help design and test a product that is elegant and effective.
All PCI design-engineered products are tested using margin testing and product regulatory certifications. Our extensive testing procedures allow us to efficiently prepare your product for manufacturing. Get in touch with PCI today to discuss how our design engineering and testing procedures can benefit your organisation.