Although often a discrete element of electronic systems, electronic components are frequently both complex in design and critical to their application.
With this in mind, OEMs are under constant pressure to create high-quality components that will be practical and durable when in use, as well as tightly matched to the requirements of the final product.
If you’re designing a concept for a new electronic component, there are some key elements you should consider. Not only will these help to ensure that the final product will be a success, but they’ll help to take care of your vital operational and financial considerations, too.
Let’s take a look at our top five.
When developing electronic components, one of the most important considerations will always be how the design impacts use by the end customer.
These aren’t just ergonomic factors, but environmental ones, too. For example, an electronic device might need to be extra-durable to cope with high temperatures, or cut down on excess weight so it’s as light as possible. Although components may be small in size, even slight alterations can help to influence the overall performance of the final product and contribute to its performance.
Product lifespan is also something you should think carefully about.
Will the product be produced in high volumes for a short period – for example, just a few months? Or do you intend to manufacture the product for years and years? The answer could determine how much design effort you decide to invest in your electronic components, as well as the materials and methods required to manufacture them.
Do you need durable, highest-quality components that will underpin the reputation of the product for the foreseeable future? Or is the product likely to have such a short run that its only requirement is to be immediately functional?
2. Sale Price
Return on investment and profitability metrics will always be a huge influence on how electronic components are designed. Size, material and complexity can all impact the target sell price of the product and, ultimately, set limits on the development and manufacturing budgets that you can afford.
By establishing the reasonable costs that you can associate with your electronic component, you can begin to truly scope out a design approach, production method and specification that suits its full commercial requirements.
3. Design For Manufacture
Once you have a full concept for your component, it’s vital to ascertain that its design parameters will suit your manufacturing process of choice.
If you’re outsourcing the manufacture of your part to a specialist company, they should work with you to ensure your design is not only practical, but will maximise value and reduce costs. By working with these specialists from the earliest possible stage, the feasibility and performance of your part post-manufacture will be strengthened, with opportunities to increase efficiencies throughout the process.
Die casting is a common method to produce electronic components but it’s worth exploring all the options available to you – including metal stamping. By using less energy and requiring less supplementary work (such as surface finishing), many OEMs discover that metal stamping produces a far more favourable cost-per-part, while maintaining exceptional quality – even in batches of millions.
So, don’t sleepwalk into a traditional manufacturing process. By presenting your design to more than one potential partner (and asking them to sign an NDA if needed), you can get a fresh take on your concept and ensure that the output is as effective as possible. The potential savings might surprise you.
By building planned iterations into your design time and budget, you’ll be free to perfect your concept and resolve any issues before the production line starts rolling. By factoring this in from the start, you can ringfence the required timescales for testing and ensure that it won’t impact the wider scope of your project.
Once a design is finalised, a fully detailed drawing can be produced to allow a prototype to be manufactured.
This doesn’t need to be an arduous process, so long as it is well-planned. Experienced electronic component manufacturers like Clamason work with a number of trusted local and international manufacturers to produce prototype components, within a relatively short lead time, so they can be tested thoroughly before any series production is scheduled.
Furthermore, if you experience any challenges with your prototype, they’ll have the knowledge to help you find a reliable solution – quickly and efficiently.
5. Choosing a Supplier
A supplier who can work as an extended part of your team – right from the design phase – will empower you to succeed. They’ll help you to spot any potential pitfalls before they happen, as well as helping you to uncover crucial efficiencies along the way.
Clamason have more than seven decades of experience in stamping metal pressings for electrical components.
Having made numerous parts that underpin household name electronics, our engineers collaborate with clients from the outset of a project, using advanced stamping simulation technology to inform the design phase. We also guarantee precision tooling in a quick and efficient manner, with next-to-no waste.
Once stamped, components can be cleaned and packed in safe environments, completing a full-service solution with exceptional value for money.
If you need stamped metal electrical components, we can add value to your next project. Just contact our experts today to see how we can help.