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Custom Electronics Prototyping

26th August 2013

Custom Electronics Prototyping & DesignCustom electronics prototyping and designs are often needed when a company is making something innovative or that’s never been seen before. Off-the-shelf printed circuit boards, (PCBs) hardware communication controllers and many other electronic components can limit a company’s creativity when designing such a brand-new product from scratch.

While in the beginning prototype phases, heavily customized components can be avoided, but when it comes to manufacturing the complete package that both does the job as intended and looks the intended way, this is where custom electronics start to play their role.

For many years now, LX Group has offered many prototyping, design and other customization services for electrical hardware. Usually, conceptual development is the first phase of an electronics project where a custom element is needed.

Conceptual Development in Custom Electronics Prototyping & Designs

At the very beginning of the design process comes the conceptual development. When creating an electronic device customized to suit specific needs, the process can vary greatly from case to case. Broadly speaking however, the stages go something like the following:

  • Understanding needs, requirements and goals of the problem, client or task
  • Exploring technology options to meet or exceed these parameters
  • Defining the best practical solution

Usually, a Product Spec and an Acceptance Test Plan are produced out of this process and things can move forward.

Making Custom Prototypes of Electronic Devices

The prototyping phase comes next whereby a mockup of the custom device is built. These can either be working or nonworking though usually in electronics design, a proof of concept must be made whereby it’s demonstrated that the technology behind advice will in fact work.

For example, the working mockup may be larger and less ergonomic, consume more electricity and be less aesthetically pleasing than the finished product, but the electrical systems and technology as a whole will be functional and able to do the job.

If a more complete prototype is needed to secure order contracts by impressing a third party, a ‘demonstration prototype’ may be fabricated that more closely resembles the finished article in addition to proving that the technology works in practice.

3D Printing Custom Components

Modern 3D printing hardware can play a key role in prototyping custom designs and hardware. While a 3D printer won’t specifically create the electrical components for customized designs, it often creates casing, mountings and other fittings for the process.

This technology works by a computer aided design (CAD) engineer creating digital version of the piece required for the custom electronic component design prototype using the appropriate software. Once this design is finalized (and just like printing out an image on paper), the data is sent to the 3D printer. It then builds up layers of resin in the required shape.

Manufacturing Custom Electronic Components

Whether the goal is to impress an investor, board of Directors or any other party, once this prototype has satisfied the necessary criteria, the process can move towards production. This is where customized electrical circuit boards and other components will be made.

For example, in a hand held measuring device, a circuit board the correct size and shape to hold the correct number of resistors, integrated circuits, sensors and other components may need to be manufactured from scratch.

Because we live in an age where complete customisability of electrical hardware is available, practically any electronics device conceivable can be manufactured and made into a reality.

Muhammad AwaisCustom Electronics Prototyping

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