The goal of this phase is to work towards a clear and feasible definition of the product. Clear means that it needs to be explicit what the requirements for the product are. Feasible means that it needs to be clear how the requirements are going to be solved technically, within the constraints of the business case. If there are technical challenges, these are typically researched in this phase. To this end, we can do technical research and we can proof specific technical solutions by making proof of concepts. Typically, the high-level solution architecture is created by the end of this phase as we will have a clear understanding of the functional requirements and the technical solution directions. The project’s main risks are known and the plan for the next phase can be detailed.
Result: Requirements and Product Definition
During the implementation phase, the design files are used to iterate from a PCB (Printed Circuit Board) without size constraints towards a final prototype in the final housing. We validate our design against an extensive set of general design rules, a predefined test plan and the requirements. Furthermore, EMC pre-compliance testing and climate tests in our own climate chamber take place during this phase. We use our design tools in such a way that we exchange the design files in real time with industrial design partners, which improves the cooperation between disciplines and ultimately leads to a better result faster.
We work with several physical prototype iterations towards the final prototype being delivered in its housing. All iterations are subject to peer reviews, with several design aspects in mind like signal integrity, electromagnetic compatibility, board layout and routing. In every prototype iteration, the prototype is thoroughly tested and validated to ensure an excellent final design.
In the software domain, we develop the software in a scrum team in sprints of 3 weeks. Every product starts with setting up the basic software framework, consisting of e.g., logging, testing, and Continuous Integration (CI). Thanks to our project templates and internal software IP library with off-the-shelf components, we can streamline this initial set up. With the basic software framework in place, we can detect errors soon which speeds up the development process and ensures quality.
The software architecture from the design phase is translated into features, where each feature fulfills a (set of) requirement(s). Each new feature results in a Pull-Request which is peer reviewed before being merged into the mainline. The functionality added through each feature should come with its own set of tests, which are executed on each commit by our CI to validate our entire system and detect possible regression. The implementation of these features is based on priority, where we try to create the most value for our customer and get early feedback.
Result: Functional and Validated Prototype
A design is not a good design if it cannot be manufactured. Choices about manufacturing are an important cost driver for your final product. To make your product as successful as possible, manufacturing requires special focus, which we cover with in the manufacturing process.
This process involves all activities that are needed to transfer a product design to manufacturing. At Zign Innovations we take care of this by:
- early manufacturing involvement throughout the design process (DfM, DfT, DfA)
- in-house development of test equipment like functional testers (FCT)
- arranging the required tooling (i.e. moulds for product enclosures and fixtures used in manufacturing)
- production line setup at one of our proven and trusted manufacturing facilities in Europe or Asia
- production of a pilot run for final verification & validation
- dedicated support by our experts in product compliance testing and certification
Product development and successful transfer to manufacturing is all about collaboration. Throughout the years we have build partnerships with a selective number of suppliers, who are not only capable in their field of expertise, but also have shown the ability to work successfully together on the most challenging projects.
Result: Production start
In our approach, lifecycle management is the continuing process to ensure that your product keeps meeting your market’s requirements. Over the lifetime of a product, there are multiple factors which can influence the product and your ability to bring the product to market. Especially supply related issues can severely impact your business, for example when components are out of stock, or end of life, or when lead times are changing rapidly.
For all designs which we have built in our build environment, we can use our system with automated access to worldwide databases to assess the supply lifetime of the components in your product. We will identify supply related issues pro-actively by checking all components in your product on a monthly basis. Was your design built by someone else? We can set it up in our system and provide you with the same level of security. If we find any supply issues, we will define the best course of action together with you. When we identify potential issues, we will discuss these with you and propose a course of action. The result is a smooth and secure supply continuation of your product, throughout its lifetime.