Turning Ideas Into Reality
The Design Process
Every product you have ever held started out as an idea in someone’s mind. The idea is then broken down to its parts, and each part is determined; then assembled into the final product.
A schematic is an electrical road map. It is created by an engineer who knows what parts are available and how to make them work together to achieve the goal. It shows the electrical interconnections of the parts used, but does not show physical representation. The purpose for a schematic is to describe how the product functions in electrical format; what parts are used; and how they interconnect. A schematic is also used to create the pc board layout, and the bill of materials.
Bill of Materials
The bill of materials is a list, often in spreadsheet format. The list will usually have the following items:
- The quantity needed.
- Your companies internal part number.
- The manufacturer of the part.
- The manufacturers part number.
- The reference designation, a symbol such as R1, which shows where it goes on the printed circuit board.
- he cost of the part.
- The sequence assembly, for example, surface mount parts may be put on the board first, and through hole parts at a later step, the final assembly a third step.
PC Board layout
Once the schematic and bill of materials are finished, the next step is the layout of the printed circuit board. Using special drafting programs, each part is put on a drawing, and interconnections are made. Once completed, the pc board program produces files called Gerber Files. The Gerber files are sent to a pc board manufacturing house, who uses those files to create the blank printed circuit board. We have partnered with PC Board production houses to get your boards built with the highest quality in a short period of time.
The parts on the bill of materials, and the blank circuit board are brought together and assembled. Often, the first few are built by hand. In production when the boards are mass produced, machines such as pick and place machines and wave solder machines are used to speed assembly and increase quality.
If the design uses a microprocessor, the microprocessor must be programmed to perform the required functions. This can be done in assembly language (the language spoken by the chip itself) or a higher level language such as C. The final result of the programming is a executable file that the microprocessor uses to accomplish the desired goals.
Once the first printed circuit board prototypes are assembled and programmed, they must be tested to confirm they meet specifications. Design errors are then removed, and the board is tested again. This process repeats until the design passes all tests.
PC Board Production and testing
Once a design is completed, it is sent to production. Parts are ordered, kitted together, and finally soldered on to boards. Boards are then tested, and sent to final assembly. We have partnered with PC Board assembly houses, to get you the quantity of product you need in your time frame.
Final Assembly and testing
Printed circuit boards are brought together along with all cables, cases, brackets, screws, labels, and all other parts necessary to construct the final product. The product is assembled, and final testing is performed. Once complete, the product is boxed up ready to sell.