SECO USA’s Project Development Process begins with SECO USA’s expert in-house Project Management approach that ensures that all products/projects are completed on-time and on-spec. SECO USA understands that time-to-market and product quality are critical to customers and assigns an expert project manager to every project to guarantee these goals will be achieved, prior to the launch of the development process. Each project’s manager is responsible for the entire project cost, schedule, and communication with the customer and in-house and third-party leaders for packaging, hardware, software, and other design efforts. The project manager allocates resources to relevant tasks, using industry-standard project management software, in conjunction with individual design and production leaders. Weekly meetings are conducted by the project manager with design leaders, to ensure the project is being completed on-time and on-budget, while providing periodic updates to the customer. All internal and external project-related documentation and customer communications are organized and maintained by the project manager, with information being maintained in-house, in SECO USA’s library, as a resource for all members of the project team. Projects requiring customization are managed via a multi-phase design and development process.
SECO USA’s Five-Phased Development Process
Phase 0 begins with a kick-off meeting to complete a requirements analysis: a comprehensive set of question covering all areas of device design. All areas relevant to device design are discussed. SECO USA develops a series of preliminary diagrams that describe the excepted device(s) and (intended) interaction with other devices and systems. (For projects that do not have detailed requirements, SECO USA engages with the customer to translate product vision and concepts into detailed design and engineering requirements.)
Phase I proceeds to the creation of industrial design concepts based on discussion(s) with the customer, technical risk assessments and design trade-offs. Upon concept completion, a preliminary report of results is prepared and a preliminary design and engineering requirements document is created for customer review. (All documents are provided to the customer for final review, modifications are made, and mutual agreement is achieved on the requirements, specifications, project management plan and budget.)
Phase II transitions from Phase I with the completion of the initial design and development of device prototypes. SECO USA conducts critical component selection and analysis, based on system design requirements, e.g., size, cost, battery life. The main design stage involves entering (and verifying) the design into computer-aided design (CAD) packages. The schematic and/or mechanical design is entered and cross-checked and additional simulations may be required. An initial “rough” placement of components on the electronics board and within the device package is created, as is a preliminary bill of materials (BOM). Software design and modeling is also completed, as necessary, and preliminary design reviews (PDR) and comprehensive design reviews (CDR) are completed with the customer during this time to ensure coherency between SECO USA and the customer. The package and/or board are then laid out. After CDR, parts are ordered and initial prototypes (with test fixtures customized as necessary) and preliminary prototype documents are created.
Phase III initiates prototype build when all parts and pieces are available; then the first article board/package is built and initially tested. The bare PCB is completely tested for continuity, and the initial prototype is completely checked for placement, components and polarity before powering the board and testing for basic electrical operation. After electrical and mechanical quality assurance, the initial debug software environment is brought up, including JTAG emulator support, the bootloader and debug stubs. After additional detailed functional testing procedures (managed by the Director of Software Engineering), and upon completion of software environment testing, SECO USA performs a sweeping power management optimization for the device, incorporating SECO USA’s BatterySmart software and customizing it as necessary for the product.
Phase IV moves past prototypes and into updating the design based on DVT and production preparation. The first part of pre-production aims to ensure an error-free pre-production prototype. Changes, such as design or packaging modifications, are incorporated and engineering services for market specific compliance requirements are addressed. Design for manufacture (DFM) is addressed to ensure an appropriate level of production quality for the final product. Any production issues are resolved at this time to guarantee long-term production viability.
Phase V may commence once production quality is made certain; at this time the board/device is ready to be produced in volume. Continuing engineering services and life-cycle support are provided.