-- where the rubber first meets the road.
a time in the life of every design when we have to turn it on and
put it through its' paces. This is the first opportunity to see
if things really work they way they were intended.
a prototype is the first stage of the testing process. Fabrication
of the first physical sample of the design used to be very easy
(those were the days of point to point wiring and more recently
through hole printed circuit boards THD). Things have gotten more
interesting with the widespread use of surface mount technology
SMT. With SMT pushing to ever-decreasing geometries "hand-builts"
are becoming more difficult every day. Some SMT devices that have
integrated heat sinks are nearly impossible to assemble by hand
if their full performance capabilities are required. I will gladly
work with you in any capacity you chose.
If you are
currently working with SMT products you have probably already addressed
this issue and have a process in place. If you are having your manufacturing
done by an outside vendor you are already well aware of the costs
involved in multiple design starts and I assure you that I am aware
of this issue as well. Most SMT designs can be hand assembled if
extreme attention to detail is employed and everyone realizes that
the assembly is not an exact representation of a factory produced
assembly. Hand-builts are generally good enough for functional testing,
but true compliance or qualification testing should be conducted
with factory built assemblies.