Embrace innovation, automation, and foresight—your blueprint for hardware victory in a world reshaped by the pandemic and beyond.
The pandemic has changed the way we work, the way we live, and now how we design hardware boards/products. This article talks about tips for a successful first attempt at hardware/product design, considering post-pandemic challenges.
Electronics component shortages and design impact
Component shortages (due to end of life and longer lead times) in the entire industry are a very common issue post-pandemic. It impacts all ongoing design and production projects. Even products undergoing production are affected and it causes engineers to redesign products as well as continually monitor the supply and demand of BOM (Bill of Material) parts and take appropriate actions. Designing boards with multiple footprints for key parts will help hardware designers to design boards with multiple manufacturers. End-of-life (EOL) checks before freezing design and during every stage of design will help hardware engineers to avoid design changes at the last moment. Entire BOM component selection with alternate manufacturers, as well as procurement of entire BOM components for 2-3 years of product demand in the design phase, helps to address this issue. Having a strong vendor relationship for component availability and shortage information is a must-do in the current scenario.
Overcoming lab access limitations and remote work challenges
Getting 100% lab access can be a challenge due to lockdown, travel restrictions, or engineers working from home options. It enables engineers to spend time and automate lab instruments for all test cases. Engineers can remotely access the instruments while working from home and still perform all planned test cases. This avoids human errors due to manual testing and helps to improve overall test convergence and test time. It helps engineers to store test results using automation for future builds.
Reusable schematic and layout blocks
Designing hardware schematics and layouts in the form of reusable blocks that can be used for all future designs will help hardware designers to build error-free designs and to use the same components in all future designs. It enables designing at a low cost, as the same components require huge quantity for production builds. Hardware blocks should be error-free and fully validated/characterised before they are certified as reusable blocks. This method will help to standardise components and other design accessories across all products.