Electronic Hardware Design Process
Newbury Innovation has very extensive experience in developing bespoke electronic products for applications such as automotive, aerospace, FMCG , energy, scientific, medical and wearable. Our expertise covers high-speed, mixed signal, power control and low-power designs. We have a well-established development approach which enables us to deliver reliable and cost-effective electronic product designs expediently.
The first key stage of every hardware design is to capture all technical requirements of the product. This procedure involves the evaluation of all aspects of the hardware design including (not limited to) circuit analysis, system design/integration considerations, test and acceptance criteria, as well as recognising any applicable electrical/mechanical constraints. As a result of this exercise, we produce a fully detailed project specification document which is agreed on and signed off by all parties. This document provides the foundation for subsequent development stages.
The next stage is the initial set up of the project in our CAD environment. We run hardware development in two weekly sprints and we operate a fully agile development model. All our designs are created using the latest version of Altium Designer. Component selection is undertaken making sure that performance, mechanical, design-for-manufacture and compliance requirements are met (e.g. RoHS, AECQ, EMC/EMI). Additionally, other key factors such as component availability, cost and longevity are considered. Component symbols and footprints are created and managed in our library using Altium Concord Pro which offers real-time sourcing information and component obsolescence management. We pride ourselves in our processes supporting design for manufacture and design for profitability.
The schematics are captured in the next phase. For complex applications we use hierarchical schematic design to avoid duplication of effort. We follow constraint driven principles to maximise the level of detail captured during circuit design, for example defining controlled impedance and length matching rules. Schematics are drawn to IPC-2611 guidelines, version controlled in Altium Concord Pro and all designs are peer reviewed internally before release. Optionally the client has an opportunity to review them before proceeding with component placement and routing.
Schematic capture is followed by component placement to verify mechanical constraints are met and to enable a preliminary 3D PCB assembly model to be generated for approval. Once reviewed, the layout is routed following IPC-2221B guidance and verified against design rules configured within Altium. Manufacturing data is then generated including Gerber/ODB++ files, bill of materials and fabrication/assembly drawings.
Throughout the mechanical electronic design, we work closely with our own mechanical / industrial enclosure design resource or collaborate with your identified resource to ensure the keep clear is observed and to clarify size, shape, mountings and the potential thermal performance of your design in its intended mechanical integration or enclosure. This ensures everything comes together in the first article build. We use Solidworks as the interface with Altium is particularly well evolved but can also collaborate with numerous other packages using .STP solid models and well defined keep clears to verify the mechanical implementation before any electronic or enclosure hardware is produced.
To facilitate testing and to provide a platform for final firmware development/verification, two or more prototypes of the design will then be manufactured. A formal test phase is then completed and depending on the project will go to different levels of verification and validation against the specification. After meeting the test and acceptance criteria, defined in the project specification, a project completion document is generated and signed off by the client.
We can then act as the material expert on your behalf to undertake UKSA, CE, FCC, RED etc lab testing, preparing equipment and attending the lab on your behalf to ensure the new product meets the constraints of any identified standard, certification or notified body requirement. These standards are identified in the specification stage and the product is designed to meet them from first principles.
Before committing to full scale production, we always recommend manufacturing a representative pre-production batch of prototypes to identify and eradicate any assembly/repeatability issues.
If required, we are able to compile and accommodate end-of-line testing procedures (e.g. flying probe, bed of nails, in-circuit programming) to ensure all hardware produced is robust and ready for deployment. We consider the requirements of the volume manufacture of the product from the very start of the design process.