Electronics Design Process: A Step by Step Guide
Designing a new electronic software or firmware product can be a daunting process. You have a great idea, but how do you get it out into the market and commercialise it?
By: Kelly Blyth
Electronics Design House LX Innovations specialises in electronic product development. We design new electronic products from concept through to commercial production, and have helped enthusiastic people, just like you, take their incredible electronics concepts and turn them into a viable, market-ready product.
So where do you start? This article will give you a solid background understanding about the electronic design process: Concept Development, PRD & APT, Prototypes, Testing & Verification and Production and Ongoing Support. Then when you are ready to move on, call LX Innovations to book an obligation-free consultation to further explore your options.
Conceptual development is the first phase in the design process. It is a crucial, and often overlooked, stage of the design process. It incorporates activities such as developing the business case, conducting a needs analysis, undertaking key technology research and intellectual property landscaping. Thorough evaluation and assessment in the conceptual development phase can significantly lower the occurrence of costly changes later in the process.
Simon Blyth, director and founder of award-winning LX Innovations believes that the first step is to really understand the problem that’s being solved. “The more we understand the problem and the market, the better the solution” Blyth said. “We partner with our clients to really understand the heart of the problem.”
Product Requirements Document (PRD) & Acceptance Test Plan (ATP)
Following the investigatory phase, a Product Requirements Document (PRD) and Acceptance Test Plan (ATP) are developed. The PRD details the product that is to be designed and includes specific requirements that the engineers must incorporate when designing the product. The ATP provides an objective measure at the completion of the development to ensure that the design meets each item in the PRD.
Design & Prototypes
The design phase follows, based on the PRD and ATP. This includes the hardware, firmware (embedded software) and the software components, and is the phase that takes the greatest engineering effort. The design is manufactured, and an alpha prototype is born. The alpha prototype is the first revision of the hardware. Several iterations of the prototype may be required to ensure it meets all aspects of the PRD and ATP – this is a normal part of the design process.
Testing & Verification
Once the ATP has been verified, the product undergoes extensive testing. This can include EMC compliance testing, stress testing, user testing, life cycle testing, etc. “This is another part of the design process that just can’t be shortcut” Blyth said.
After the design and testing phases are complete, the attention turns to production. Test jigs can be developed, and the factory is setup ready for production. A pre-production run confirms that everything is in place, including processes, suppliers, in-line system testing, programming, etc. This avoids any manufacturing issues. At this stage Blyth says: “You now know that your product is just a phone call away...It’s the best feeling”.
Ongoing support, of both the product and client, is essential during and after product development. LX Innovations support structure is personal, easy to access and includes ongoing support to end-users, product life cycle management, as well as generic technical support.
“While the thought of developing a new product may seem like a daunting task, LX can help break it down into bite-size pieces and can guide you through the process,” Blyth said. “We genuinely want to help people’s dreams and innovations come to life – that’s what makes my job, and my team’s job, exciting.”
For further information about LX Innovations or product development, visit www.lx-
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LX Innovations is an electronics design house, specialising in the wireless and low power electronics designs. LX offers clients a range of professional solutions designed to take a new product idea from concept through to production.