One of our strengths as a group is the design both analog and digital circuit design. We have developed hundreds of PCBAs and developed the firmware to run them as well.
When designing from scratch, we begin with block diagrams to describe the general function of the system.
Once all the high level information is determined and documented. We can begin the actual design. This begins with generating a schematic of for the system and all its PCBA components and connectors. This requires a great deal of experience and hard work to make sure that we are minimizing the number of connections and cables, designing with good practices to reduce emissions and ingress. As an added requirement, we are now in a period of supply constraints that must be managed early in the design process to make sure that the components used, will be available when needed in volume. Many of our customers are placing strategic orders, at risk, to ensure that they have the supply they need.
Once We have the schematic completely designed, We are reach to conduct the layout of the PCBA. This usually includes multiple layers of traces for ground planes and other traces. Generally layout is done by a secondary source but we believe its important to do it ourselves. Handing off the design for layout is common but a lot can get lost doing that. We prefer to do it ourselves in order to improve the quality of the outcome.
Once the layout is complete all the production files are forwarded to a PCB production house (usually rapid turn) These can be fabricated within one day to a week depending upon the complexity. Once the bare board is received we have kitted the parts necessary to populate the board and turn it over to a rapid turn board assembly house. (Sometimes this is the same company). Generally we work on a rapid turn basis with familiar suppliers that we have used before. Once the completed PCBA is received, we begin testing the board and making any repairs or modifications.
Whether the board has a microcontroller or microprocessor we must develop firmware to control the system and how it communicates with the systems it is connected to. We have in most cases already done this by the time we receive the PCBAs so we need to load the firmware and continue testing with it and making modifications etc.