What does it take to develop a successful new product in today’s highly competitive global electronics marketplace? It all starts with a systems architect tasked with seamlessly moving between the many different disciplines – functional block diagramming, floor planning, space planning, cost estimating, etc. required to define the hardware architecture. This special guy or gal then must work the magic needed to define a hardware architecture that meets all of the targets – functionality, cost, weight, style, battery life, etc. – required to ensure that success of the product.
When we released CR-5000 15 years ago, we were already thinking about our next generation system (now known as CR-8000). We made many prototypes and had numerous brainstorm meetings with our customers using these prototypes. This research process lasted more than seven years.
When it comes to upfront PCB systems design planning, you can still find countless companies doing their early design planning on paper or in basic computer software such as Visio, Excel, or even AutoCAD. I like to call these “dumb” tools because while they may be jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none, they were never intended to be used for electronic system engineering design.