Creating a new electronic hardware product is a difficult process that involves a range of steps. This article will help you to understand this process and can serve as a guide for your product development. So, here are the main steps of a new electronic hardware product development:
Although entrepreneurs that are willing to develop their electronic hardware product tend to ignore this stage, it is in fact critical. Firstly, before starting work on any product, you have to do market research. Thus, you will make sure that your product is marketable and there is demand for it. Naturally, there may be some competition on the market but you should consider it as evidence of your product’s marketability. Secondly, you should validate your product’s marketability. To do so, you can collect feedback on your product in various ways starting from online pre-sales and ending with crowdfunding. These easy processes will demonstrate whether your product is really necessary for consumers. Once you make sure that there is a demand for your product, you can apply for a patent.
At this pre-development stage, experienced developers recommend simplifying your product as much as it is possible. Often new entrepreneurs want to include numerous functions and features for their product but it is a failing strategy. Instead of creating a complex product and spending lots of time and money on it, be realistic and create a simple product in a timely fashion and without going bankrupt.
Further, you should create a Proof-of-Concept (POC) prototype in order to determine whether your product actually works and solves the problem. At this early prototyping stage, you should not use a fully electronic design. Instead, you need to create an inexpensive model of your future product.
After you tested your product’s marketability, patented and simplified it, you can proceed to the actual product development stage. There are a number of options at this stage. First, you can develop your product by yourself, however, this option needs relevant skills. For example, even if you are an electronic engineer, you probably are not an expert in other fields necessary for electronic hardware product development. The second option is to hire freelance engineers. Although it seems to be an efficient way to fill in any gaps in your team’s technical ability, there are certain drawbacks to choosing this option. Hiring freelance engineers, you should also consider project management, make sure that these engineers are experienced, etc.
The most popular option, however, is hiring an electronic hardware design firm. This option provides you with a team of professionals that will realize your idea into the product. There is a wide variety of companies that provide electronic hardware design starting from top expensive firms and ending with newly established small companies. Choose a company in accordance with your budget but keep in mind two things: (1) expensive reputable companies can deliver your product faster and (2) small experienced teams that offer services for reasonable prices suggest high quality, but this option may be more time-consuming. If you are looking for an electronic design company, consider Axonim that offers an experienced team and cost- and time-efficient services.
The process of electronic development can be broken down into the following steps: estimation, preparation, prototyping and PCB creation, hardware platform design, electronic components installation, embedded software development, electronics rapid prototyping, testing and preparation for manufacturing. In other words, firstly, you have to estimate your product and define its technical requirements. Secondly, necessary components must be ordered. Thirdly, there follows prototyping of the product. Fourthly, the hardware platform is to be prepared as well as a necessary software package. Next, electronic components should be installed at the PCB. Sixthly, software package development is conducted. Next, engineers test an electronic prototype. Finally, after a range of tests, the product is prepared for mass manufacturing. This whole process is complex and time-consuming, however, if done by professionals, you will not worry about the quality of your product.
After the ‘engine’ of the product is created, you’ll need to develop an enclosure for it. Usually, it involves custom plastic pieces created either by a 3D modeling expert, or an industrial designer. Naturally, a more elaborate enclosure requires more costs and time. In contrast, if the appearance of your product is not critical for its functioning, its enclosure can be 3D printed, thus saving your costs. Indeed, nowadays, the process of enclosure development is much easier due to 3D printing.
Enclosure development also involves the development of prototypes that are created using 3D printing. At this stage, companies sometimes face a problem of a design that can be prototyped but not manufactured in volume. Keep in mind that prototyping differs from production based on injection molding. In order to avoid the risks, you should hire a professional that understands how the production on the basis of injection molding is conducted. Professionals also recommend buying 3D printers that are currently affordable for everyone and, thus, simplify the process of prototype creation. Moreover, using a 3D printer you will be able to create as many prototype versions as necessary.
After the enclosure prototypes evaluation, you proceed to mass production of the approved enclosure. This manufacturing is cost-consuming due to the aforementioned injection molding technique.
The final stage of a new electronic hardware product development is certification. This process varies depending on what country the product will be sold in. The certification issue is complex, so it is recommended to consult with an expert in certification before finishing a product. At the same time, you should not certify your product too early because early certification will limit any potential changes to your product.
So, here is a brief overview of the five stages of a new electronic hardware product creation. Naturally, the process is far more complex than it is described. Therefore, if you are willing to create your electronic hardware product, you should definitely hire professionals that will deliver time-efficient and high-quality services.