How to develop excellent and loyal suppliers

LKKERSCMLKK Design Beijing Office Building Product Development Supply Chain Management

When we choose suppliers, of course, we want the suppliers to be excellent and loyal. This is similar to choosing a partner. However, for many companies, the reality is: that excellent suppliers are usually not loyal enough, and loyal suppliers are usually not good enough, so they continue to develop suppliers, and constantly changing suppliers have become a helpless choice for these companies.

Suppliers Are The Foundation Of Product Realization

The quality, price, and delivery cycle of parts and components determine the quality, cost, and production cycle of the product to a large extent.

The greater the proportion of outsourced and purchased components in the components that make up the product, the greater the degree of such determination, and the quality, cost, and delivery cycle of components depend on the supplier.

Therefore, suppliers are the basis for the realization of our products. We should treat suppliers as our own branches, trust suppliers, rely on suppliers, do our best to serve suppliers, and cultivate suppliers into a solid production base.

02 Treat suppliers equally

In the buyer’s market environment, in business relationships, the buyer is usually in a strong position, while the supplier is usually in a relatively disadvantaged position. Therefore, some companies often use their strong position to force suppliers to accept some asymmetry conditions directly or indirectly.

This approach may bring some benefits to the enterprise in the short term, but it is unfavorable for the enterprise in the long run because although the suppliers are forced to accept these conditions, they are unconvinced at the bottom of their hearts.

As soon as there is a better client, they will “move away” from you immediately. As a result, the product quality, the fluctuation of delivery time, and the decline of service quality are naturally caused, and the enterprise will naturally change from “beneficiary” to “victim”. Therefore, in order for suppliers to be loyal to us, we must treat them equally.

03 Actively safeguard the interests of suppliers

Suppliers work with us for profit.

Suppliers won’t work with us if they can’t make a profit, and even if a relationship is established, it won’t last long.

Therefore, in order for suppliers to be loyal and continue to provide us with satisfactory products and services, they must actively safeguard the interests of suppliers:

(1) Give suppliers a reasonable profit margin.

(2) Suppliers are not required to undertake any other obligations other than those stipulated in the agreement, and they do not unilaterally increase product requirements or service requirements, or reduce suppliers’ profit margins in disguise. If the product requirements are increased or the service requirements are increased due to our reasons, and the cost of the supplier is increased, the supplier shall be compensated accordingly.

(3) After entering the mass production stage, the design scheme should be kept as stable as possible, and should not be easily changed unless it is absolutely necessary. If it is necessary to change, it should also take the initiative to communicate with suppliers in advance, and do a good job in the aftermath.

(4) When the average defect rate of the supplier’s products (incoming inspection defect rate, in-process inspection defect rate, and the average of the finished product’s one-time inspection defect rate) is greater than or equal to the profit margin, it means that the supplier may be incurring a loss on this product. In order to ensure the stability and continuity of supply, relevant personnel should be dispatched immediately and work with suppliers to improve their quality management measures and increase the pass rate.

(5) Establish and improve the system to prevent employee corruption, restrain the behavior of employees, and systematically prevent employees from using their power to damage the interests of suppliers. The anti-corrosion system should focus on restricting behaviors such as supplier selection, device selection, solution selection, pricing, formulation of contract terms, procurement ratio allocation, quality control, and claims.

(6) Try to use exclusive supply as much as possible, and do not add new suppliers easily, even if there is a better price if the supplier’s supply capacity can meet our needs and there is no major fault. If it is not an exclusive supply, it is not easy to reduce the procurement ratio or change the procurement direction without the supplier’s major fault. If the supplier has input in the product development process or the design change process, it must give corresponding returns from the order or other aspects.

It is necessary to fully realize the importance of building excellent and loyal suppliers to the survival and development of the enterprise, and select, evaluate and manage suppliers from the strategic perspective of building a production base.

04 The selection of suppliers should follow the “suitable” principle

The attractiveness of an enterprise to suppliers determines the loyalty of suppliers to the enterprise. When choosing suppliers, enterprises should also pay attention to “the right match and the mutual affection”. Otherwise, the cooperation will not be unpleasant or long-lasting.

Therefore, when choosing a supplier, we should choose the “suitable” supplier instead of the “best” supplier based on the actual situation such as our own scale, popularity, purchase volume, and payment ability:

First, the supplier’s product structure adapts to our needs;

Second, the supplier’s qualifications, research and development capabilities, quality assurance capabilities, production capabilities, and cost control capabilities can basically meet our requirements;

Third, the supplier has the desire to cooperate with us for a long time and is willing to make continuous improvements according to our requirements;

Fourth, our attraction to suppliers is strong enough, and it is possible to have long-term and effective control over them.

05 To evaluate suppliers, pay attention to the development potential of suppliers

Typically, evaluating a supplier’s development potential should include the following:

(1) The top decision maker of the supplier is a “businessman” eager for quick success or an “entrepreneur” with a long-term vision.

(2) Whether the development direction of the supplier is consistent with our development needs, whether there is a clear strategic plan, and whether there is a specific action plan and action record for realizing the strategic plan.

(3) Whether the supplier’s quality objectives are clear, and whether there are action plans and action records to achieve the quality objectives.

(4) Whether the supplier has a plan to upgrade the quality system, and whether the existing quality system is really implemented

(5) Whether the quality of the supplier’s existing employees can meet the needs of its enterprise development, and whether there is a medium and long-term human resources development plan.

(6) Whether the supplier’s existing management methods can meet the needs of the development of its enterprise, and whether there is an improvement plan.

(7) What is the social reputation of the supplier, and whether its affiliated suppliers have confidence in it.

(8) Whether the basic work of supplier enterprise management is solid, and whether there is any improvement plan.

06 To manage suppliers, we must “combine both benefits and punishments”, pay equal attention to supplier management and offer help

Common approaches to supplier management are:

Monitor the supplier’s supply performance, assess the supplier’s level according to the monitoring results, implement hierarchical management, reward the good and punish the bad, and rectify the unqualified items;

Regularly re-evaluate suppliers, adjust procurement measures based on the evaluation results, and eliminate unqualified suppliers.

This is an after-the-fact control measure, which helps to prevent the repetition of the same error, but it is not necessarily obvious for preventing the occurrence of errors and improving the supplier’s ability.

As we all know, helping suppliers to improve the quality assurance capabilities of the design process and manufacturing process is the best way to ensure the quality of incoming materials. Extending our progress management to the supplier’s production and logistics process is the best way to ensure timely delivery. Helping the supplier to improve their cost control ability is also an effective means to reduce the purchase price. Therefore, the supplier management must be “enhanced and supportive”. It is necessary to evaluate and reward or punish the suppliers, and also to give the suppliers the necessary help:

(1) Help suppliers improve the quality assurance capabilities of design and manufacturing processes

(2) Help suppliers improve their cost control capabilities

(3) Help suppliers improve plan management methods

(4) Help suppliers develop markets and maintain their stability

(5) Provide employee training support for suppliers

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Supplier Management

How To Manage Strong Attitude Suppliers?

LKKERSCMLKK Design Beijing Office Building Product Development Supply Chain Management

For well-known or giant companies, almost all suppliers are not strong suppliers, because the company’s annual procurement volume and industry status will make all suppliers flock to them, and these suppliers want to enter the company’s supplier resource pool even if they break their heads. However, the topic of strong attitude supplier management is a topic that medium and small companies may encounter. 

What is a strong attitude supplier?

First, the annual sales of the supplier greatly exceeds the maximum purchase amount that the company can achieve in this category each year.

Second, the products provided by suppliers are highly integrated with the company’s own exclusive technology, and it is difficult to find alternative products or services in this industry.

Third, suppliers have been in a leadership position in the industry. To sum up, in terms of order saturation, the supplier has never been short of customers who can fill the company’s capacity. Therefore, the management of the supplier has become a more challenging thing.

The relationship with a strong attitude supplier will directly affect the delivery timeliness of some products. If the product is not supplied in time, it will affect the production line and it may lead to customer complaints and ultimately affect customer satisfaction.

How To Manage Strong Attitude Suppliers?

1. Seek the high-level intervention of both parties, and the buyer and the supplier can carry out a series of business activities on the basis of the top-level framework, so that for the middle-level or specific executors, at least there can be rules and evidence to follow.

2. Within the price range that the customer or the customer can afford, the two teams can share the benefits, at least the supplier can see the profit.

3. Both sides establish an equal and limited communication mechanism. For buyers, usually more or less make unreasonable demands on suppliers. But for this type of supplier, the buyer needs to lower their mentality and deal with the supplier according to the real situation of the development.

4. Manage such suppliers as customers. If you have time, you can go to the suppliers and talk about the supply of products, hot topics in today’s society, and the development of new technologies and processes. Contact and connect feelings to maintain the relationship between supply and demand.

5. If this type of supplier is designated by the customer, please ask the customer to help to intervene when necessary.

6. This type of supplier is more responsible to keep up with their promise. Therefore, before cooperating with such suppliers, it is best to sign a contract with clear conditions and detailed terms. In the supply process, the buyer and the supplier shall strictly follow the content stipulated in the contract.

7. Actively develop alternative suppliers. Although the development process has twists and turns, if it can finally succeed, it will greatly alleviate the unfavorable supply situation under the current situation.

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Supplier Management

How to carry out waterproof product mechanical design?

LKKERSCMLKK Design Beijing Office Building Product Development Supply Chain Management

Product mechanical engineers have definitely been exposed to the issue of how to carry out waterproofing product mechanical design. Before officially explaining how to carry out waterproof product mechanical design, we should firstly know the IP rating (waterproof level).

IP rating

The IPX waterproof level is divided into 8 levels, ranging from IPX-1 to IPX-8, and the waterproof ability increases in turn. The IPX waterproof rating is listed below for reference.

IPX-0 has no waterproof protection

IPX-1 equipment can provide waterproof protection equivalent to 3-5 mm/min rainfall for 10 minutes under normal operating conditions.

IPX-2 is basically the same as IPX-1, but it can pass the waterproof test of 15 degrees upturned in all directions.

IPX-3 60-degree angle splashes waterproof protection, provides 10 liters / second flow rate for 2-5 minutes, and waterproof protection of 80-100n/m pressure.

IPX-4 is basically the same as IPX-3 but can provide all-around and angular splash protection.

IPX-5 waterproof protection from all directions and angles, providing waterproof protection at a flow rate of 12.5 liters/sec for 2-3 minutes and pressure of 30n/m.

IPX-6 waterproof protection against large waves can last 2-3 minutes against a depth of 3 meters underwater, a flow rate of 100 liters/min, and a pressure of 100n/m.

IPX-7 can be immersed in 1 meter of water for 30 minutes.

IPX-8 is completely waterproof and can be used continuously in water for a long time.

There are many common waterproof products in life, such as smartwatches, electric toothbrushes, and most beauty electronics products. So how should the waterproof structure for these products be designed? Below we will introduce some common waterproof mechanical designs:

O-ring waterproof:

The selection of O-ring materials are:

Silicone ring (industrial products)

Features: high-temperature resistance, oil resistance, low-temperature resistance, non-toxic and tasteless, etc.

Nitrile rubber (NBR)

Features: anti-aging, oil and wear resistance, etc.

Fluorine rubber (FKM)

Features: high-temperature resistance, oil resistance, chemical resistance, etc.

PTFE

Features: Corrosion resistance, wear resistance, high-temperature resistance, low-temperature resistance, aging resistance, high-pressure resistance, organic solvent resistance, etc.

Polyurethane

Features: wear resistance, high-pressure resistance, aging resistance, hydrolysis resistance, etc.

Product overmolding (double injection) waterproof:

The product is overmolding (double injection) waterproof, which means that the product is is injected through two molds. Many people do not understand the overmolding (double injection) mold and do not know what the product will look like after it comes out. You can imagine that our product has 2 layers (one layer is plastic and the other is soft rubber). Their combination is that the soft rubber is wrapped on the hard plastic to achieve an adhesion effect.

Bicolor molding (double-material injection injection)

A bicolor molding (double injection) mold is a mold in which two plastic materials are injected into the same injection molding machine and molded two times, but the product is only released once. Generally, this molding process is also called double-material injection molding, which is usually completed by a set of molds and requires a special overmolding injection molding machine. Bicolor molding (double injection) first injects hard plastic and then injects soft rubber. The front mold is inconsistent, and the rear mold is the same. During the injection molding process, the rear mold needs to be rotated 180 degrees.

Overmolding (overmolding):

The two plastic materials are not necessarily injected into the same injection molding machine but are molded two times. After the product is taken out from one set of molds, it is put into another set of molds for the second injection molding. Generally, this injection molding process is usually completed by 2 sets of molds, without needing a special two-color injection molding machine.

Ultrasonic structure waterproof:

Many mechanical engineers who have just entered the industry have only heard of ultrasonic structures and have not learned much about them, so I will give you a brief explanation here. The main focus of the ultrasonic structure is the design of the ultrasonic line. The ultrasonic line can be made into one or two ultrasonic lines. The ultrasonic line can be made as a whole or can be broken, but the whole line must not be disconnected if it is to be waterproof. The design of the welding surface of the ultrasonic line is common in the following structures: Step welding surface, groove welding surface, bite surface welding surface, crisscross welding surface, etc. The groove welding surface mechanical design can prevent glue overflow and can provide the function of alignment during assembly. However, this form of ultrasonic structure cannot be too thin for the material thickness. It is not recommended to use this form of welding surface for products that are too thin, and it is recommended to use a structure in the form of a stepped welding surface for products that are too thin. 

In product mechanical design, an ultrasonic structure usually is not the priority. because the defect rate of ultrasonic products in the production process is much higher than that of other products. Once the ultrasound is poor, it means that the shell is scrapped. Ultrasonic structures are commonly found in mobile phone chargers, car chargers, and other products

Waterproof breathable membrane (waterproof mesh)

Many people have not heard of the material of the waterproof and breathable membrane. In fact, this material is often encountered in the process of making structures. This material is generally used for horn holes, microphone holes, and other structures to carry out such a waterproof design. There are also many people who are curious about how this product is made when they see this product. In fact, these materials are all die-cut parts. What I want to explain is that the waterproof and breathable membrane can be brushed with 3M glue to facilitate our assembly and fixation. Some people may not have seen it, so there is such a question. Let me explain to you here.

3M glue waterproof

3M adhesive is waterproof. Many people may have doubts, how is 3M adhesive waterproof? In fact, there are many models of 3M adhesive, of course, the price is definitely different. Double-sided tape is classified by substrate:

Double-sided adhesive for non-woven substrates (composed of double-sided coated acrylic adhesives for non-woven substrates): such as 3M9448, 3M9080, 3M9075, etc.;

Double-sided tape without base material (directly coated with acrylic 3M acid glue): such as 3M467, 3M468, 3M9473, etc.;

PET substrate double-sided tape (composed of PET substrate coated with acrylic adhesive on both sides): such as 3M9495MP, 3M9795B, 3M9495LE, etc.;

Double-sided adhesive on foam substrate (composed of double-sided coating of acrylic adhesive on foam substrate): such as 3M4920, 3M4026, 3M4032, etc.;

Hot melt adhesive film: such as 3M615, 3M668, 3M669, etc.;

High-temperature resistant tape: such as 3M244, etc.;

3M double-sided tape is widely used in computers, mobile phones, communications, household appliances, audio-visual equipment, automobiles, and other products.

 

What to consider in the mechanical design of the waterproof, dustproof and shockproof product?

LKKERSCMLKK Design Beijing Office Building Product Development Supply Chain Management

Some products have a high design requirement and need to have certain protection performance in terms of waterproof, dust-proof, and shock-proof features in order to adapt to various complex and harsh use environments.

In the mechanical design of these kinds of products, the mechanical design protection requirements of the product are higher. Doing a good job in the mechanical design of the product plays an important role in improving the overall protection performance of the product. So, what needs to be considered in the mechanical design of the waterproof, dustproof, and shockproof product?

Comprehensive consideration of the needs of industrial design, mechanical design, and hardware design, the waterproof, dustproof, and shockproof product design work is a set of non-independent system engineering. At the beginning of product design, it is necessary to consider the design requirements of various aspects of industrial design, mechanical design, and hardware design. In the initial industrial design stage, hardware designer, component stacking designer, and mechanical designer should be actively involved to determine the technical details of the waterproof, dustproof, and shockproof features. Only by comprehensively checking the links can we truly meet the requirements of the waterproof, dustproof, and shockproof product design, and then produce products that meet the quality requirements and market demand.

The starting point of the waterproof, dustproof, and shockproof product design is to achieve the purpose of waterproof, dustproof, and anti-drop through the comprehensive selection of design and material technology. Among them, waterproof and dustproof are mainly through sealing treatment and special materials using “isolation” to block water and dust from the product, so that it cannot affect the performance of the product. The waterproof key area mechanical design is the gap between the shell, buttons, screen, and interface.

Ensure the stability of the product structure.

The housing structure must ensure that it is not easily deformed. And there are enough ribs to press on the PCB and internal fixtures to ensure reliable fixation. If a soft rubber material is used between the front and rear shells, the front, and rear shells and the soft rubber material should use an interference fit and a certain preload to protect the internal components.

Ensure good sealing of the product structure.

A sealed or semi-sealed structure is adopted for some parts or the whole to isolate the internal components of the product from the external environment. For example, in the treatment of the sealing surface of the shell of the waterproof, dustproof, and shockproof product, the sealing surface should be made of silicone material with good sealing and elasticity, and try to use flat contact instead of complex curved surfaces to simplify the design and improve reliability. The rubber seal of the external interface can be multi-layered to improve the sealing performance. All sealing parts of the plastic case must be polished, including the mating surface with double-sided tape and silicone material. The sealing part must not have traces of ejector pins, sliders, gates, etc., and must not have molding defects such as lack of material, weld lines, shrinkage, etc., and ensure that the sealing surface has sufficient strength and rigidity.

Ensure the reliability of the product structure.

Try to use screws to fix it into one piece, and fix it on the front and rear shells and the middle fixing bracket to increase reliability. The screws should be pre-tightened to prevent loosening and ensure that the whole machine has good strength and rigidity. Screws with hexagon head M1.66 or higher are used to ensure the tightening force. The distribution and arrangement of the screws should be reasonable and the force should be uniform. Self-tapping screws should not be used. The insert that fits with the screw needs to be insert-molded on the plastic case. The insert and the plastic must be tightly and reliably fitted, and it needs to pass the pull-out test of the insert.

Considering the size of the product, it is necessary to leave enough space for the waterproof, dustproof, and shockproof design, especially for telecommunication products with many external interfaces, the waterproof, dustproof, and shockproof solution must be considered in the definition of the width and height of the fuselage after the plan, the specific size requirements are determined. For example, in the form of regular structural modeling, the four sides of the fuselage and the corners of the outer contour are made of highly wear-resistant rubber material to avoid the impact of the product during the drop, and at the same time, it has a good feel and prevents slipping out.

In the mechanical design of the three-proof product, there are many details that need to be considered. According to the general requirements of protection and the actual use environment of the product, advanced design ideas, reliable materials, optimized structure, surface treatment, sealing, and drying measures should be adopted. Carry out the waterproof, dustproof, and shockproof design for the whole machine, parts, and components, comprehensively grasp the details of all aspects, and improve the environmental adaptability and reliability of the product.

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Supply chain is the last draw for a crowdfunding project

LKKERSCMLKK Design Beijing Office Building Product Development Supply Chain Management

A lot of crowdfunding projects fail to deliver the product. Some inventors hold strong responsibility to deliver the product, but it usually still takes a long time. Unlike movie or art crowdfunding projects, the industrial product campaign comment area often appears a lot of impatience and complaints about the delay, refund requests, or even accusations of liars.

As an inventor, the fantastic side of Indiegogo is that you don’t have to get an MVP (minimum viable product) to be qualified to launch a campaign. As long as you state the development stage of your product (concept idea stage, prototype stage, production stage, or shipping stage), you are good to go ahead with your idea, video, or drawing. In this way, you don’t have to figure out the product’s engineering mechanism about how to operate and supply chain knowledge about how to integrate and make. 

Most often, the inventor is still able to show a fully or partially functional demo prototype to convince the backers of its capabilities of shipping. However, most inventors either unfortunately run out of money targeted for production along the way of development or run out of schedule-timeline in the struggles of solving the manufacturing bottlenecks created in the design. Is it truly inevitable to cause delays or failures in product delivery?

For example, a crowdfunding project called Drumi, which is the world’s first foot-powered washing machine, experienced 7 times improvements after the crowdfunding campaign closed. Whenever they update the design, new problems are to be fixed, and thus the team keeps posted on shipping delays. Drumi team spent 3 years developing multiple prototypes to validate the design before it launched crowdfunding in Nov 2015 and they assume they can finish the production in 6 months after crowdfunding. It turns out that they only delivered by the end of 2018. The reason why Drumi, or many other crowdfunding campaigns, faced this situation is that no manufacturers have the existing experience to produce this kind of new product. So the team has to put efforts into solving the design manufacturability issues so that it can proceed to tooling for production, as well as confirm the specification of every component so that it can pass function reliability test and build fixtures for production.

Indiegogo has been working hard to help the campaign keep its shipping promise. Indiegogo launched Indiegogo for Entrepreneurs Expert Directory, on the prototyping and production sector, LKKER SCM is one of the Indiegogo recommended experts who help transfer new products to high-volume manufacturing. 

From the development side, LKKER SCM helps with the selection of components, especially avoiding components with shortage inventory and discontinuation plans. It’s very common to see some inexperienced inventors’ heads ached for the hyped component prices or long lead time of components because they pick up components with unstable stock or lack of securable sourcing channels. For startups with weak buy power in the electronics components market, the choice is more important than efforts. Located in Shenzhen Huaqiangbei, and familiar with multiple electronics products across industries, LKKER SCM can design PCBA at a fair price, advise cheaper component alternatives and provide a one-stop sourcing solution.

From the tooling side, LKKER SCM helps the inventor with DFM (design for manufacturing) analysis to ensure the design can be made by various tooling technology properly and the design can achieve a good yield rate without assembly interference. As a member company of LKKdesign Group (China’s largest industrial design house), LKKER SCM has been trained for 12 years to carefully consider the product design details and grind the production process to guarantee the design product quality and user experience.

Nowadays, more and more backers show attention to the supply chain validation of crowdfunding projects. Especially for those projects with a high amount of raised funds, there’s high pressure on the order delivery. Therefore, the supply chain has become the last draw for a crowdfunding project. For example, in the campaign OCTO Versatile Titanium 18-in-1 Carabiner w. Window Breaker, the campaign owner, who is a designer, lists LKKER SCM there as an endorsement of supply chain experience. In the campaign GPods: The World’s First Earbuds With Light Control, LKKER SCM, as the designer, completely share the design, development, and pilot run process documentation to help increase the confidence in shipping. 

Good products deserve waiting. But good business can’t wait. Avoid the design traps. implement design for manufacturing, and complete your product today!

The Complete Cost Roadmap Before Crowdfunding Project

LKKERSCMLKK Design Beijing Office Building Product Development Supply Chain Management

 

Every year LKK receives a lot of inquiries from inventors about getting help with prototype making for the crowdfunding campaign. Here are three frequently asked questions: 

How Much Is Needed To Turn Idea Into A Physical Prototype

Despite time and investment varied among different product categories in terms of product development, LKK categorizes 3 types of investments as below so as to help inventors better plan their budget: 

The first investment comes from function engineering costs. Before developing product functions, you would need to finalize a product function definition and check the realization feasibility of each function as a whole. If you can’t even succeed in finalizing a specification or feature description document in the product planning stage, you would never be able to have a cost control view. Changing or adding features along the way of the product development will be harmful to cost control. If you are looking for serious function engineering costs, make sure you have a serious product requirement document first.

After confirming the function that you need to realize, if you are an engineer, you can probably save this function engineering costs with your own work. If you are not, you would need to hire professional engineers. The standard work for the engineer includes PCB layout design, component selection, circuit diagram design, software coding, testing, and debugging. The engineering cost will be counted by the hours that would need to complete the work. Different engineers, subject to their skills, have different hourly rates. However, majorly, it is function complexity and technology maturity that decides the function engineering cost. Meanwhile, if your product has many features to integrate, even if those features are common to see, the engineering work is large and thus the cost will be high. LKK always advises inventors to plan merely necessary features for a new product because excessive features lead to a waste of investment. In addition, if you are trying to apply new product technology to a new product, additional cost you will need to plan for technology validation.

To test the defined function, you will need to invest in the production of 1 to 2 pieces of PCBA. Cost includes PCB board cost, component cost, and manual soldering cost. Again, you can either source and DO IT YOURSELF or outsource Onestop. The PCBA production cost is very minor compared to the cost invested in the engineering process. After you realize the function, you will need to have a beautiful product enclosure to make the product attractive in its look. 

The second investment comes from design costs. Based on the product function, product use environment, and probably an investigation into potential customers’ preferences and existing competitive products, the designer will further work on the product design and mechanical design. The standard work for designers includes defining product shape, product color, product material, product finishing method, product assembly method, product structure, component selection, etc. If you are a product designer, you can probably save this cost with your own work. If you are not, you would need to hire a professional product designer or work with a design house. 

To verify the design, you will need to invest in the production of the product enclosure and some of the mechanical parts. Factory prototyping costs varied subject to the product size, finishing requirement, and production difficulty (precision requirement, processing steps, required machine, etc). You can learn about different prototyping methods here. 

A lot of inventors, when coming to hire designers and engineers, face difficulty in managing the design and engineering process themselves, assessing the deliverable qualities, or ensuring coordination between product design and product engineering. Product development project management is indeed heavy and professional work. LKK always advises clients to focus on what they excel in. If you are not good at product development, find a OneStop house that can help you streamline the product development process and help you with the mitigation of risk in design and engineering. Learn more about LKK OneStop service here. 

Can I get a unit cost reference? 

As long as you have a well-defined function document, you shall be able to get a cost range as a reference. Just be careful about the factors that would affect your costs such as component real-time cost, order quantity, quality requirement, etc.

If you have a design drawing, BOM (bills of materials), and electronic files, then you can get an accurate unit cost as a reference.

Need to get a quotation? Send your project details here.

I have only a very limited budget before crowdfunding, how can I realize the product?

Do it yourself or find someone who has skills in engineering or design in your network or freelance platform. The pros are that you can do it cheaply compared with working with a company. The cons are that you need to assess the work quality by yourself. If you can’t control the work quality and eventually you find that the prototype factory can’t use these workpieces and turn them into a prototype, it’s a waste of money and time. So, make sure you are competent in product development and always make smart choices in selecting partners to work with.

Leverage your main budget in product design and get the maximum marketing effort. Having beautiful product rendering, beautiful sketches, and product rendering videos is a key to attracting backers for your campaign. At least with product design, the prototype factory could make the enclosure for you to take a look at and you can use that to create content for the campaign. Learn more about LKK design service here. Regarding function engineering, realize features as much as possible with your remaining budget. The showcase features that you have completed in the campaign so as to win more confidence in your capability to complete the product function development.

Tell your budget and check out professional advice on to what extent can the product project completed with this budget. Inquiry NOW

Apple Airtag Disassemble – Redefine Bluetooth Anti-lost Product Solution

LKKERSCMLKK Design Beijing Office Building Product Development Supply Chain Management

In today’s world, hardware innovations have become more accessible and frequent. Traditional electronics products nearly have no secret technology and boundaries that can keep other electronics engineers from copying anymore. The main battlefields of hardware have been shifted to industrial design and key advantage on function components such as patented chips or sensors. 

Apple Airtag is a good lesson to learn how nice industrial design and Apple’s own U1 ultra-wideband chip can make a traditional Bluetooth anti-lost product refreshed in the product definition.

Before Apple AirTag came out, the anti-lost product market has a lot of Bluetooth anti-lost flagship products such as Tile Bluetooth anti-lost tag and various pet or children trackers. LKK is also one of the active product developers in the anti-lost product market. Here’s one of LKK’s anti-lost product development and manufacturing portfolio LKK pet tracker.

Traditional Bluetooth anti-lost product is based on low-power Bluetooth 4.0 technology and its functions were mainly used for finding objects and alarming. The AirTag is like a button as a whole. It is small, exquisite, and beautiful, which is in line with Apple’s design aesthetics and can be paired with Apple mobile phones to find objects with the accuracy of centimeters.

This article focuses on disassembling this product.

There are a few design innovations in the Airtag:

The button battery holder design has a negative contact at the bottom and two positive contacts next to it. Even if the battery is reversed, the contacts are all positive and will not cause a short circuit.

The Airtag also has a speaker design. There is a copper coil in the middle of the mainboard, combined with the magnet and diaphragm on the back cover to form a small speaker so that AirTag can emit sound, which is convenient for users to find.

AirTag’s mainboard adopts a circular PCB design. Is it very similar to Apple’s spaceship headquarters? The PCB layout is quite compact.

It has Apple’s U1 ultra-wideband chip, which is Apple’s self-developed chip that is already been widely applied in Apple mobile phones and Apple Home speakers. It supports ultra-wideband technology, has strong anti-interference ability, high positioning accuracy, and has a transmission distance of about 10 meters. This technology means that the orientation information of AirTag can be directly viewed on the mobile phone to achieve more accurate positioning.

There’s also Nordic Bluetooth low energy SoC (NRF52832) on the board. It supports multi-protocol, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC function, built-in Arm Cortex-M4F processor core, adopts WLCSP package, and the peripheral circuit is very simplified;

GigaDevice 32 Mb serial NOR flash memory (GD25LE32D) can also be found to store AirTag’s firmware information; In addition, there’s DC-DC step-down converter from Texas Instruments (TPS62746), Maxim Class-D audio amplifier (MAX98357B), and five pieces of 100Fμ6V Tantalum capacitors in the AirTag ring PCB.

 

In sum, Apple Airtag is the most multi-component integrated device in the current anti-lost product solution.

The disassemble is conducted by Shunsheng Cao (@eefocus) and the original Chinese content has been edited and translated by LKKER SCM.

Learn more:

  1. LKK Industrial Design Service 
  2. LKK Electronics Engineering Service
  3. LKK Anti-lost Product Case)