Product design

Thread Starter

Mariusz777

Joined Apr 2, 2021
9
Hi all,
I have a question how to work with external pcb and schematic supplier. How to approach it? As well as what documents are required except product specification. How would you deal with one?
 

Papabravo

Joined Feb 24, 2006
15,518
Hi all,
I have a question how to work with external pcb and schematic supplier. How to approach it? As well as what documents are required except product specification. How would you deal with one?
They are really two different things. One of them PCB design, fabrication, and assembly is a well established and often outsourced activity of most small businesses. The other schematic capture and design considerably less so. I think the primary reason for this is that if you have the ability to do a design and create a schematic and BOM (Bill of Material) you have the requisite skills to properly manage the outsourcing of PCB design, fabrication and assembly, without incurring the capital cost of assembly equipment.

If you need to hire the design and production of a schematic diagram you might as well hire an engineer full time because he will be more likely to be able to manage the follow on processes better than you can because he has the requisite skills. The risk you run from not doing this is spending a bunch of money for a pile of worthless paper and not realizing it until it is way past too late to fix it.

If I was doing it over again I would hire at least two people. A fresher to do the grunt work and an experienced hand to manage the process and guide the fresher. In the process you need to educate yourself as much as possible on the processes so you can manage the whole shootin' match.

Theat's my $0.02
 

Irving

Joined Jan 30, 2016
1,164
Short answer - it all depends...

Assuming you are asking what info is needed by an external supplier to design a circuit and create the pcb for manufacture I think papabravo hit the nail on the head. Also you need to consider the wider aspects - does the brief stop at PCB? who will integrate that into the final product casing? Do you have an in-house product engineering team? Do they know how to assess the further integration and non-functional aspects such as cooling, power supply, assembly, pre-delivery testing, field repair, etc. etc.- the list goes on... and we haven't even started on software integration.

I've done freelance design & build stuff like this for many projects. The brief can be just a conversation followed by many iterative design meetings to agree a working specification (my preference - especially if there's some R&D on the functionality or working to a BOM cost), or a complete dossier (which often gets completely reworked from the ground up as the design progresses). I can honestly say that no two jobs are the same....
 

Papabravo

Joined Feb 24, 2006
15,518
Short answer - it all depends...

Assuming you are asking what info is needed by an external supplier to design a circuit and create the pcb for manufacture I think papabravo hit the nail on the head. Also you need to consider the wider aspects - does the brief stop at PCB? who will integrate that into the final product casing? Do you have an in-house product engineering team? Do they know how to assess the further integration and non-functional aspects such as cooling, power supply, assembly, pre-delivery testing, field repair, etc. etc.- the list goes on... and we haven't even started on software integration.

I've done freelance design & build stuff like this for many projects. The brief can be just a conversation followed by many iterative design meetings to agree a working specification (my preference - especially if there's some R&D on the functionality or working to a BOM cost), or a complete dossier (which often gets completely reworked from the ground up as the design progresses). I can honestly say that no two jobs are the same....
This is right on the money. People who ask the questions you ask are setting themselves up to get fleeced if they are not extraordinary capable, knowledgeable, and ATTENTIVE. It's nothing personal it is just the nature of the product development game. You can't outsource the whole thing. If you do you are admitting that you bring absolutely nothing to the table except an idea. As my hero Don Lancaster is fond of saying: "Ideas are worth less than a dime a dozen in 10-bale lots".
 

BobaMosfet

Joined Jul 1, 2009
1,516
Hi all,
I have a question how to work with external pcb and schematic supplier. How to approach it? As well as what documents are required except product specification. How would you deal with one?
Do you mean going to someone with a product idea, and they design schematic and pcb, and get the PCBs made?
 

Thread Starter

Mariusz777

Joined Apr 2, 2021
9
They are really two different things. One of them PCB design, fabrication, and assembly is a well established and often outsourced activity of most small businesses. The other schematic capture and design considerably less so. I think the primary reason for this is that if you have the ability to do a design and create a schematic and BOM (Bill of Material) you have the requisite skills to properly manage the outsourcing of PCB design, fabrication and assembly, without incurring the capital cost of assembly equipment.

If you need to hire the design and production of a schematic diagram you might as well hire an engineer full time because he will be more likely to be able to manage the follow on processes better than you can because he has the requisite skills. The risk you run from not doing this is spending a bunch of money for a pile of worthless paper and not realizing it until it is way past too late to fix it.

If I was doing it over again I would hire at least two people. A fresher to do the grunt work and an experienced hand to manage the process and guide the fresher. In the process you need to educate yourself as much as possible on the processes so you can manage the whole shootin' match.

Theat's my $0.02
I'm aware of processes involved in both however
They are really two different things. One of them PCB design, fabrication, and assembly is a well established and often outsourced activity of most small businesses. The other schematic capture and design considerably less so. I think the primary reason for this is that if you have the ability to do a design and create a schematic and BOM (Bill of Material) you have the requisite skills to properly manage the outsourcing of PCB design, fabrication and assembly, without incurring the capital cost of assembly equipment.

If you need to hire the design and production of a schematic diagram you might as well hire an engineer full time because he will be more likely to be able to manage the follow on processes better than you can because he has the requisite skills. The risk you run from not doing this is spending a bunch of money for a pile of worthless paper and not realizing it until it is way past too late to fix it.

If I was doing it over again I would hire at least two people. A fresher to do the grunt work and an experienced hand to manage the process and guide the fresher. In the process you need to educate yourself as much as possible on the processes so you can manage the whole shootin' match.

Theat's my $0.02
My understanding of processes come from manufacturing company and working on mature products. We would make all nessesary changes to schematic upgrade the revision verify hardware with software team. Make changes to the pcb order samples let's say 10 boards. Populate it in house test it write test specification and start production after verification. My question is how to approach anormous amount of information required for getting first batch ready. I'm not that experienced in the field of design just trying to get more involved in it.
 

Papabravo

Joined Feb 24, 2006
15,518
It was not altogether clear from your original post just what the situation was. You don't have to paint a detailed picture to ask a question. The nature of your question made it sound like an idea was all you had. If that was the impression you wanted to make then I would say that you succeeded marvelously.
 

Thread Starter

Mariusz777

Joined Apr 2, 2021
9
It was not altogether clear from your original post just what the situation was. You don't have to paint a detailed picture to ask a question. The nature of your question made it sound like an idea was all you had. If that was the impression you wanted to make then I would say that you succeeded marvelously.
That wasn't intentional - sorry. But yes design would be done externally. I've just changed jobs and working more in design field. Just wanted to know what the differences were of the processes involved. This question pope up at one of the conversations with management recently.
 

Papabravo

Joined Feb 24, 2006
15,518
That wasn't intentional - sorry. But yes design would be done externally. I've just changed jobs and working more in design field. Just wanted to know what the differences were of the processes involved. This question pope up at one of the conversations with management recently.
What I was really trying to convey is that outsourcing design work is fundamentally different from outsourcing PCB layout, fabrication, and assembly. You can do it, but you better have technically competent people managing the process. Having an MBA from Wharton manage it won't end well.
 
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