The Best Advice You Could Ever Get for Developing a New Electronic Hardware Product in 2023
If you’re a hardware startup or an aspiring entrepreneur venturing into the world of electronics, you’re likely familiar with the intricate process of electronic hardware development.
Creating hardware products demands meticulous planning, exceeding the complexity of software development due to long lead times and potentially high costs if mistakes occur.
In this article, we’ll guide you through the stages of hardware product development in 2023, offering insights and strategies to help you navigate this challenging terrain successfully.
Concept or Idea exploration
The concept development phase serves as the cornerstone of any electronic product design journey. It ensures your product aligns with user needs, stands out in the market, and remains technically feasible. Without a clear product concept, your development process could wander aimlessly, resulting in a product that falls short of expectations.
Conduct market research to gauge user demands, establish a reasonable budget, define business goals, and assess technical feasibility. Use focus groups, consumer interviews, online surveys, and brainstorming sessions to gather essential insights.
By understanding your market and identifying unmet needs, you can fill gaps with features that address specific demands, enhancing your product’s appeal and market relevance.
Moving forward, select materials, technologies, and manufacturing processes that align with your product’s vision and requirements. This step defines the foundation for turning your product idea into a practical solution.
Define the System Architecture and Specification
The product specification, often referred to as the engineering requirements, stands as a pivotal document in hardware product creation. A well-structured specification sets measurable values and criteria for your engineering team.
Based on your project’s scope, the system architect shapes the system architecture, detailing its components, relationships, behaviors, and properties. It addresses both functional and non-functional requirements, covering aspects like usability, reliability, scalability, security, and maintainability.
The architectural choices made during this phase, including patterns, principles, and standards, guide the subsequent design and implementation processes.
Create Hardware Design and Documentation
Hardware product development typically involves iterative processes, with prototypes using various components to find the most efficient solution. Testing the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) with users generates invaluable feedback for project improvement.
Design Schematic Circuit Diagram
Schematic diagrams are the logical and visual representation of electrical circuits.
Today, Designers employ electronic design automation (EDA) tools like Altium, adhering to standardized design rules to ensure machine-readability.
While system block diagrams focus on higher-level functionality, schematic diagrams delve into intricate details, showing how every component connects. They also serve as invaluable troubleshooting tools during circuit board repair.
Design Printed Circuit Board (PCB)
Once the schematic is complete, you’ll proceed to design the Printed Circuit Board (PCB), the physical board housing, and connecting electronic components. PCB design transitions from conceptualization to the real world, ensuring that components fit precisely.
PCB design software verifies compliance with design rules, ensuring the layout aligns with the chosen PCB process. For complex products with power-intensive, high-speed, or wireless components, the PCB layout becomes more intricate.
Generate Final Bill of Materials (BOM)
A Bill of Materials (BOM) is a comprehensive list of parts, assemblies, documents, drawings, and materials required for product creation. It’s your recipe for manufacturing, presented hierarchically. Depending on the product, it may include mechanical (hardware), electrical (e.g., ICs, PCBAs), software, and related documents and drawings.
BOMs are typically generated by schematic design software and play a pivotal role in the development process. Consider how you’ll manage parts and documentation, as it impacts commercialization success.
Documentation and Certification
Finally, the electrical engineering team will create detailed documentation that outlines the product’s design, functionality, and manufacturing processes. The production team will use this documentation to manufacture the product at scale. Several forms of certification are required for all marketed electrical devices. Different certifications are necessary depending on which country the product will be marketed in. Certifications are a complex topic, some many tricks and tips can drastically reduce your certification costs if they are implemented from the start.
Take advantage of our certification service.
The validation phase is the most commonly standardized phase of product development. Validation is a progressively rigorous process to join the design and engineering development and ensure the product can be consistently manufactured at scale. As the validation phase moves from the engineering prototype through design and production validation, each phase focuses on optimizing for mass production.
The design validation test (or DVT) is the final test of core product engineering.
The question is,
- “Does the product meet all possible requirements including cosmetic and environmental?”
- “Does my product cover the functional requirements of my specification?”
Creating electronic hardware is a difficult and often exhausting taskjob. Most hardware startups fail due to unanticipated obstacles and product complexity. According to Forbes, as many as 97% of seed crowdfunded hardware startups fail.
Product development can be as crazy as riding a roller coaster.
Implement our revamped hardware development process to streamline your workflow and navigate the unpredictable world of hardware development. By embracing newer technologies, design systems, and processes, you can mitigate the risks of failure and create successful products.
Feel free to contact us for expert guidance and support.