Engineering Services Overview
- Design for Manufacturability
- Design for Cost
- Engineering Change Management
- Design for Compliance Adherence
The mission of Columbia Tech Product Development and Prototyping is to enable our customers to accelerate new products from a lab-scale Proof of Concept (POC) design through a systematic phased development process of alpha and beta prototypes and pilot production, and transition seamlessly into volume production. Consistent with the mission, Columbaia Tech Product Development and Prototyping’s services are positioned downstream from front-end discovery phase and upstream from contract manufacturing. Columbia Tech executes this mission with “Advanced Product Introduction” (API) which is the combination of a finely tuned product development process, Design for Manufacturing (DFM) practices, building and testing prototypes combined with proper documentation needed to transition the product into volume production. Columbia Tech’s mechanical, electrical and software engineers, combined with project engineers, program and client managers, provide the following value-added services to clients:
Design for Manufacturability (DFM):
Starting with the POC drawings and schematics, Columbia Tech engineers develop alternative concepts for the mechanical and electrical sub-systems and their integration. Columbia Tech and the client jointly select the optimum concept based on trade-off analysis between performance metrics, cost, risk and manufacturability. In most cases, the analysis is based on solid models while in some instances it is based on feasibility testing to reduce risk. During the design phase, careful attention is paid to manufacturing methods, ease of assembly, modular designs, standardized interfaces, tolerance stack-ups, materials of construction, tooling, and test methodology. The use of best DFM practices reduces manufacturing risk and enables the client to meet their new product plans within cost and time to market considerations.
Design for Cost:
A substantial portion of a product’s cost is determined by design decisions. Right from the Concept Phase, Columbia Tech evaluates commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) versus custom fabricated components and sub-systems and creates a costed Bill of Materials (BOM). The BOM is refined throughout the design phase with evaluation and joint decisions on lower cost design alternatives. Columbia Tech maintains a best-in-class, tiered network of suppliers of commercial and custom parts to get the best balance of price, delivery and quality from the start.
Columbia Tech maintains the facility infrastructure and skilled engineering technicians to assemble alpha and beta prototype systems in-house based on engineering-level documentation. The prototyping capability ranges from hand-held devices all the way to 40′ PODs housing servers, energy storage, and other large-scale systems. The prototypes enable field testing and market feedback to incorporate into an iterated design. This provides valuable validation of the new product with early adopters before product launch.
A key deliverable from Columbia Tech Product Development and Prototyping is a complete documentation package that can be handed off to Columbia Tech’s contract manufacturing or any other Contract Manufacturer. It includes the BOM, specifications, solid drawings of each sub-assembly, assembly drawings, electrical schematics, PCB Gerber files and cable drawings. It may also include operating procedures and test plans.
Engineering Change Management:
Changes are inevitable in a development project and Columbia Tech can provide guidance on their trade-offs with schedule and cost. Columbia Tech’s rigorous Engineering Change Order (ECO) process maintains traceability of changes and ensures that all relevant documents are updated for manufacturing. Clients have the flexibility to benefit from these Columbia Tech services by their choice of three types of engagements:
- Multi-Phase Product Development: A systematic and streamlined phase-gate development process with specific deliverables and reviews with the customer at each gate.
- Engineering Controlled Production: This is for clients with contract manufacturing needs but who do not have the volumes to justify the development of detailed manufacturing documentation. Columbia Tech’s procurement group and skilled engineering technicians can cover low volume builds with engineering-level documentation.
- Quick Turn: This is for clients who prefer to manage the project themselves but need to utilize Columbia Tech’s engineering personnel, technicians, and/or facilities in a flexible and expeditious manner.
Columbia Tech’s value-added services and flexible engagement models enable client companies to successfully accelerate the development of manufacturable and cost-effective new product designs from POC to prototype to full scaled manufacturing.