In a recent interview, Elon Musk gave us a look inside his new Tesla Assembly Factory in Freemont, California. He made some very good points on the high level of automation, which seems to explain mos…
Prototyping for custom electronic devices
During the product development stage we produce several prototypes, starting with simple block models to evaluate ergonomics and size to complete looks-like-works-like working prototypes. For reasons of speed and IP protection we do most of our prototyping in-house, the housings 3D printed and the circuits often hand soldered. Once assembled and tested by our engineers they are sent to our clients for field-testing to identify potential bugs and improvements. After the CNC’ed prototypes have undergone sufficient testing and validation, pre-productions prototypes are made using injection molded parts and PCB assemblies produced by an automated SMT line. Using the actual injection molded parts allows us drop- and ingression tests on the housings.
Proof of concept from a technical standpoint
A rudimentary prototypes may be made during the early stages of development in the form of a Proof of Concept to prove the idea works from a technical standpoint, or as a Mock Up to simply convey shape and size but not the function, material, or production methods of a final mass produced product.
The importance of a prototype
A prototype is the product of the electronic development process and is an essential part in the design, development, as well as certification procedure. In prototyping, we take a concept that exists only on paper and substantiate it into physical form that functions as the envisioned product should. How an electronic product will respond to user input is difficult to evaluate without experiencing them first hand. As a tool in the development process used to validate electronic design, a prototype is crucial for understanding the complex interaction between user and device.
What it takes to create a perfect golden sample
During the development stage, several working prototypes may be produced, usually by hand, and are tested by our engineers. The prototypes are then sent to our client for further testing in the field to gather feedback and to identify bugs that will later be corrected.
Once a prototype has undergone sufficient testing and validation, a pre-production prototype is then regarded as the “golden sample,” which is used as the benchmark or standard on which mass produced units will be based. This golden sample is also used for certification purposes and sent to a third-party testing facility for CE, UL, FCC, or ROHS markings.
Titoma creates prototypes as a part of our development process and does not engage in projects requiring only prototypes as an independent service; as the time and capital investment necessary for developing a product is too significant if the goal is only to produce prototypes and not manufacturing.