Every product, from the chair you might be sitting in right now to the advanced technology found Satellite tracking systems started as an idea, a thought. Someone sketched the idea out, maybe on a napkin or on even a drawing board, and then shared their passion for the idea with others and thus begin the path to creating a prototype.
There are five key steps in taking an idea to production in the electronics industry.
- Concept design – The first step is to bring the idea to life with a 3D CAD computer model that you can view in color on the screen in three dimensions (move, rotate, resize). This design can be created from patent drawings to sketches, depending on how complex and intricate the product might be.
- Engineering Design – This is where things get serious. The Engineering design applies “specs” to every wire, circuit and overall shape. This process is the detailed blue print that will be used to build an actual prototype.
- Prototype – Every product on the market was first a prototype, or a test version of itself before it was submitted for volume manufacturing. The prototype is like a proving ground for the product. You can determine if it’s marketable in the current form, does it truly function as designed under various conditions etc? It’s not uncommon to test a prototype and then circle back to the Engineering Design to make adjustments and then create another prototype. Quite simply, this is the process of perfecting the product.
- Preparing for Manufacturing – Are you ready to go to market? Manufacturing involves several sub processes, including procuring the parts/components, visual testing and packaging. In the electronics industry you have options to produce from 1 or thousands of units or even millions once you are ready for manufacturing.
- Production – There are many options for production from producing a product domestically or overseas. Do you want to produce your product based on sales or do you need inventory to distribute to various POS locations?
Knowing the steps and working closely with a design and manufacturing team is the best way to save time, money and assure your product goes to market in the shortest amount of time.