From Prototype to Production: What You Need to Know, Part 1
PART 1: DON’T MAKE THIS FATAL MISTAKE
Low-cost electronics modules and “how-to” design guides for hobbyists have made it easy to pop together working prototypes. That’s fine for hobbyists, but if you are planning on selling your creation to the masses, you need to be sure you understanding the following:
There is a HUGE difference between
a prototype and a production-ready design
If your prototype design was generated by experienced senior engineers, then they are likely to be aware of the many additional challenges that must be overcome in moving that design into production.
However, if your prototype design was based on cut/paste “reference designs,” pre-packaged modules, or hobbyist schematics, then you may not even be aware that there is a difficult path forward. In fact, you may make this fatal assumption: The prototype works, therefore let’s build a million of them and get rich!
Unfortunately, that fatal assumption will probably not lead you to wealth, but instead will create excruciating anxiety as you watch your new product crash when it exhibits one or more of the following problems:
- intermittent performance
- inexplicable shutdowns
- excessive power drain (e.g. frequent battery replacement or recharging)
- errors or even total failure due to normal variations in power source or environmental factors such as temperature and humidity
- failure to properly operate over the device’s warranty period
- breakage when being normally shipped and handled
- customer frustration due to a poor user interface
- errors when operating near other electronic devices
- other electronic devices malfunctioning when near your device
- failure due to common levels of electrostatic discharge
and this biggie:
- customer injury or death
In future newsletters we’ll provide some tips on how to minimize the risks listed above. In the meantime, if you think that you need some guidance in moving from prototype to production, please contact me. We enjoy helping startup firms achieve their dreams.