The hard and soft goods industries have seen exponential changes in the last few years. There is now a wealth of services and tools that make it much easier for someone with a product concept to begin prototyping it quickly and cheaply. However, the majority of these startups have stifled their progress when it came time to actually manufacture their goods. Most don’t know where to start to produce their products at scale
Before scaling your manufacturing production, it's imperative to understand if your assembly processes are "In Control". Using histograms and specification limits, one can easily generate visual graphs to quickly identify potential issues with manufacturing processes. Learn the basics on where to begin.
A hardware product has discrete stages in its lifecycle from concept to completion, or more colloquially: from Cradle to Grave. Each of these stages has a purpose with its own set of goals and exit criteria. If not administered properly you greatly increase the risk of a less than successful product launch plagued with delays and budget overruns. In the worst case, you completely miss the market window and your chances of any success.
Saying you’re working on an MVP is all hip and cool these days, and part of the now prevalent Agile methodology. But, I posit: Do you really know what your MVP is? How do you know when you’ve reached it? This article helps you better understand when an MVP is complete and what the next step is after a successful MVP.
I noticed the term “Startup” gets thrown around too loosely these days. It’s hip to be working for a startup company, especially in tech. Consequently, this use of the word has been overloaded to encapsulate as many companies as possible so they all can feel included in this “cool kids club". But what is a startup really? What defines it? And when is it time to move from being a startup to the adult table?
As discussed in Part 1 of this series, there are many steps required to get a product ready for volume manufacturing. Just because you may have a functionally working prototype, it doesn’t mean your implementation can be manufactured effectively, or even at all. This article outlines valuable DFX principles that will help you reduce that time to get a product ready for production.
Mature engineers and product developers recognize that it takes a village to make a product. There are multiple stages to manufacturing and no one person can do them all, nor become experts in each stage. There are a lot of steps required to get a product ready for production after a prototype has been developed – and it’s crucial that adequate DFX guidelines are implemented to help guarantee a successful product launch.
Agile is essentially a tight feedback loop, and it loses its power and efficiency when any of the steps are not optimized. In hardware development, testing tools for hardware lagged behind - specifically automated testing tools. In this post, I describe how I and my team developed an automated test framework for our embedded products, stealing best practices and tools from the software development world.
Having traditionally worked for startups, time and money have always been a scarce commodity, so it’s been imperative to use CNC Machines as effectively as possible. Leveraging CNC machining services can significantly mitigate the risk for mistakes and delays in a product launch due to their high quality and inexpensive prototyping capabilities.
Hardware product development has two unique types of testing – each with their own distinct purpose. Much like software development, hardware requires tests to validate features work as specified, during the development phases. But only hardware products require testing of each individual manufactured unit during the production phases.
It's important to find a Chinese Manufacturer that is the right match for your product market and forecasted volume. Just about any CM can do PCB Assembly, Box build, and testing, but you need to find a manufacturer that has worked with products similar to yours. This will go a long way in terms of efficiency and costs when bringing up the new product line and for on going support.
The DuroBlog is a resource highlighting various topics across the disciplines of engineering development, product manufacturing, and engineering management. Blog posts will include anything from helpful anecdotes from my own experiences, to collections of best practices, to tutorials on topics I believe are important to be successful in this industry.