In our last blog post, Joe Schappler, Principal at Helix Design, took us through the critical elements of Industrial Design, highlighting the complex process of taking a concept, refining it and moving to production design. For many simpler, mechanical products, this may be the extent of the process. More complex products that incorporate hardware, software and vision integration require a more detailed process. In this post, we will delve deeper into the product development process of the product lifecycle.
Why is Product Development Important?
Our core belief is that “Great Concepts are Born…Great Products are Developed”. Product development (R&D) takes the refined concept from the industrial design process to create functional prototypes and the ready-for-manufacture product. Product development combines the concepts of industrial design with good engineering practices and manufacturing trade-offs to deliver a product that meets or exceeds the customer’s needs regarding form, fit, functionality, quality, cost and market suitability.
We’ve included on our website a detailed product development map that highlights the various steps of the development process.
As Joe discussed in his post, industrial design has some overlap with the product development process. For complex products that include embedded hardware, software, integrated vision and other complex technologies, or are designed for a highly regulated market such as medical devices, the product development process is complex, and at a high level includes steps such as the following:
Project Planning and Product Definition
- Design Inputs: User needs and marketing requirements are aligned to the software, hardware and system requirements. At the input phase, variables including hazard analysis and cost constraints are identified.
- Architecture Design: This includes components such as the overall architecture of the product, including software, mechanical and hardware, along with critical component selections, and balancing cost against user requirements.
- Design and Development: At this stage, the mechanical, electrical and software engineering begins. This includes the user interface design and simulations, testing the subsystems and any automation along with first stages of manufacturing testing, prototyping boards and tracking quality.
- Integration and Debug: During this step, prototypes are built and functional and usability testing is performed. UL CE 60601 compliance assessments are performed.
The project planning and product definition phase conclude with a comprehensive design review.
Design Output and Verification
- Verification Testing: A critical component, verification and testing includes the verification and testing plan, testing strategies, protocol development, and for medical devices sterilization requirements and biocompatibility testing.
- Design Outputs: The design outputs includes the results from the verification step, design reviews and any updates the requirements. It is at this stage the vendor selections are made.
- Labeling: The labeling phase includes things like the instructions for use, product graphics, packaging and any training materials that may be required for the device.
Finally, definitions of manufacturing units and a final verification against the requirements make up the final steps before transfer to manufacturing.
Why a best in class Product Development Partner
Development of a complex product that includes hardware, software, and mechanical components requires a specific set of skills. A best in class partner for product development like Resolution brings expertise in each of these areas, delivering the right resources at the right time, and having the specialities to deal with anything that may arise during the project. A best in class Industrial design firm partner like Helix Design creates a seamless transition from concept to ready-to-manufacture product.
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