Welcome to the Connected Development blog. Here’s where you can find useful information to help you evaluate your project needs, plus a helpful M2M glossary of terms and links to product and service providers supplying the wireless and M2M marketplace.
SQUEEZING EVERYTHING IN THE CLOSET DOES NOT A CLEAN ROOM MAKE. _May 26, 2011
If you have children, this sentiment may be familiar to you. But, you may be asking, what’s it got to do with electronics design?
Ever take apart one of those slick electronic toys that fell out of an overstuffed closet at you? What did you find? Too often, the insides of electronic devices tend to look a lot like the messy heap inside that child’s closet. And we’re not just talking about children’s toys, either. Perhaps their designers need to get back to the basics and learn to clean out the closet, instead of just closing the door.
Design for manufacture means keeping things neat inside and out. Why?
Save time and improve reliability: Lots of messy connections, mixed up cables and the like mean extra time in production and increased failure rates right off the line.
Avoid failure in the field: The airlines always remind us to be careful opening the bins as the contents may have shifted during flight. Likewise, the more you squeeze into your mechanical, the more problems your device may encounter from shifting during normal use. Moreover, a single detached connection can be extremely difficult to find and repair.
Maintain signal strength: When it comes to wireless, a tangle of wires is sure to emit unexpected energy potentially impacting the integrity of your signal – which, if your application is mission-critical, can lead to liabilities you certainly don’t want to face.
So, how can you avoid the mess?
What do you really need? First, sort through the requirements and think about what you really need. Discard all those happy meal toys that are so fun for a day or two but just add to the mess later. If there’s a good chance you can get by without it, try to. Every reduced connection leads to a more economical, reliable product.
Careful placement: When you’re thinking about where to place a connector or component, consider the most efficient use of cabling and how it will impact manufacturing and survive expected use.
Think small(er): Consider finished size from the start of your project. You may even want to think about building your device to fit a slightly smaller enclosure than specified. This will force you to account for every connection and limit the amount of “stuff” that has to fit into your package.
Of course, these principals are useful, but cannot replace the expertise of someone experienced in design for manufacturing. If you find you need more help to tidy up the insides of your device, give us a call – we’re here to help make your idea a reality.