from prototype to production: a crash course in hardware

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Hardware is hard. When I began my journey as a hardware entrepreneur, I quickly realized how hard, but also how inaccessible much of the knowledge was. This is the presentation that I wish had been around when I started. Covering the "internet of things", crowdfunding, sensors, Design for Manufacturing, Design for Assembly, Contract Manufacturers, and so much more! Please contact me to use/borrow/license! Thanks!


  • 1. Maxim Wheatley2014From Prototype to Production:!A Crash Course in Hardware| Presented by Maxim Wheatley | October, 2014 |

2. Maxim Wheatley2014 About Me Founded 3x Small Businesses Inaugural Georgetown Summer Startup Program Alum Georgetown Graduate 3. Maxim Wheatley2014Launching in Q2: 2015| @MaximWheatley | @LifeFuels | @Perrelli | 4. Maxim Wheatley2014The Disclaimer! ;-)What this is:!A high-level intro to key concepts in hardware forentrepreneurs, students, and tinkerers. An overview ofthe process and fundamental aspects. A foundation toproceed on your own hardware adventure.What this isnt:!Direct advice. (All hardware startups are different)Blueprints for success! (It IS informed research &opinion on what works.) 5. Maxim Wheatley2014 What I Wish I Knew 6. Maxim Wheatley2014I. The New Hardware Revolution! What has changed The Internet of Things What hasnt changed The Old v. New Dynamics!II. Manufacturing in the U.S. & China! Understanding the key differences:Pros & Cons What to look out for!!Idea > Prototype > ProductionIII. The Process for Developing, Prototyping & Manufacturing! Generalized Processes Planning Research Development Funding Manufacturing Req. Docs DFM Tooling Ramp Up Factory Check-List Patents, Ergonomics, & Product-Testing Pricing The Usual Suspects Common ManufacturingTechniques 7. Maxim Wheatley2014Industrial RevolutionTransition from hand/manual labor tomachines andadvancements inchemicals radicallytransformed industryand daily life. 8. Maxim Wheatley2014 Industrial Revolution 2.0 9. Maxim Wheatley2014More Than You ThinkNOT just 3D Printers!!! 10. Maxim Wheatley2014NOT just 3D Printers!!!Its Much More 11. Maxim Wheatley2014Whats Driving ThisSo-CalledRevolution? 12. Maxim Wheatley2014Whats Changed??? 13. Maxim Wheatley2014 Goodbye Wires 14. Maxim Wheatley2014Easier, Cheaper, FasterConnectivityBluetooth LE WiFi RFand many others 15. Maxim Wheatley2014 Sensors & BatteriesSmaller. Cheaper.More Connected.More Available.More Versatile. 16. Maxim Wheatley2014 Electrical PrototypingCheap. BeginnerFriendly. Versatile.Proof of Concept. 17. Maxim Wheatley2014 Venture Capital EcosystemMore investmentand interest inhardwarecompanies. 18. Maxim Wheatley2014 Venture Capital EcosystemOutliers are typically founded bypreviously successful foundersN.B. Data for 2014 through May.Number of deals as majorinvestments in hardwareSource: RoboHub.Org Source: 19. Maxim Wheatley2014 InfrastructureGrowing ecosystem ofMeetups, TechShops,Hacker- and Maker-Spaces 20. Maxim Wheatley2014 Contract ManufacturersMore CMs.!!More accessible. !!Willing to work withstartups. 21. Maxim Wheatley2014 CrowdfundingPre-sales.Validation.Feedback. !Media. 22. Maxim Wheatley2014The Smartphone as the HubPowerfulcentralized hubwith robustApp capabilityextendingfeatures. 23. Maxim Wheatley2014The Effect of the CloudConnectivity betweendevices, services,and APIs is richer andeasier than ever. 24. Maxim Wheatley2014The Internet of ThingsA fancy phrase for: !Devices that connect to one another andinteract using the internet via direct wiring,wireless connectivity, and APIs.!Concept has been around for awhile (1991),but technology has now become smallenough, accessible enough, fast enough,and efficient enough to make it happen. 25. Maxim Wheatley2014Growth in IoT Devices 26. Maxim Wheatley2014 The Old ModelIdea Design PrototypeRetailers Manufacture BoMDistribution Fulfillment Get Paid! 27. Maxim Wheatley2014 The New ModelIdea Design PrototypeGet Paid! Crowdfund BoMManufacture Distribute Fulfillment 28. Maxim Wheatley2014What HasntChanged?!!! 29. Maxim Wheatley2014MisconceptionsLean != CheapFeedback Based!!Validation!!Iteration!!Focus on MVP 30. Maxim Wheatley2014 Shipping (Changed & Hasnt) Still limited by time,costs, andregulations specificto shipping. !! Air-freight is MUCHmore expensivethan ocean-freight.!! Packaging & weightis a big issue. 31. Maxim Wheatley2014 Distribution Still need todetermine wherethe product iswarehoused, andfulfilled.!! Who sells it?!! How do they get it?!! How do youmanage returns? 32. Maxim Wheatley2014 Product Lifecycle Need to keepproduct fresh!! Develop follow-onmodels!! Plan according toselling rate andtrends 33. Maxim Wheatley2014 Quality Inspection Ensuring theproduct is ofsuitable quality!! Consistentquality!! Mechanisms forremedying issues 34. Maxim Wheatley2014 Scaling is Still Tough Manufacturing thatresponds well todemand!! Partners with termssuitable for high &low demand!! Commerceplatforms thatenable growth 35. Maxim Wheatley2014 Partnerships Partners thataddress the rightdemographics (inretail and e-commercechannels)!! Partners thatsupply theappropriatematerials 36. Maxim Wheatley2014 Chinese New YearInteresting FunFact:No manufacturinggets done duringthis time. Usually aweek at least.Can be an issue forthose that dontknow/plan. 37. Maxim Wheatley2014 Manufacturing in U.S.A. 38. Maxim Wheatley2014 AutomationSubstantialautomatedmanufacturing andassemblyinfrastructure.Great for largerproducts.! 39. Maxim Wheatley2014 Shipping Sensitive Shipping fromChina via Ocean-Freight is slow(4-6 weeks) !! If speed/responsivenessto customer iskey domesticmight makesense.! 40. Maxim Wheatley2014 Low Volume / High Precision Less ROI onexpensesassociated withoffshore for LV!! Plenty of veryadvanced firmsand engineersdomestically!! 41. Maxim Wheatley2014 Sensitive/Difficult to Defend IP Much less risk.!! More readilyenforceable!! No languagebarriers!! Easier to monitor! 42. Maxim Wheatley2014 Serving US GovernmentRequirementsdictate domesticmanufacture! 43. Maxim Wheatley2014Manufacturing in China 44. Maxim Wheatley2014Labor (for now) Larger workforce,more quicklyactivated !!however!! Increasing Wages!! More StringentLabor Laws! 45. Maxim Wheatley2014 Supply Chain Concentrated!! Local!! Specialized!! ExistingRelationships!! Responsive 46. Maxim Wheatley2014 Expertise Management!! Labor!! Engineers!! Infrastructure!! Relationships 47. Maxim Wheatley2014 Infrastructure Years ofInvestment!! Spool Up & Down!! TypicallyCutting Edge 48. Maxim Wheatley2014Established Shipping Existingrelationships withfactories andlogistics!! Partnerships withshipping lines &logistics firms!! Familiarity withcustoms &regulations 49. Maxim Wheatley2014High-Volume Capability Readilydeployable andtrainableworkforce w/experience!! Bandwidth andsupply chain toproduce 100,000+units 50. Maxim Wheatley2014Relationships!!!!!! Get intros!!! Cultivate!! LearnCustoms 51. Maxim Wheatley2014China Best For: Small electronics w/ circuit boards, displays, motors, plasticmoldings, and sheet metal pieces.! Tooling for the aforementioned is typically cheaper and faster! Large volume of production (thousands not hundreds), becomesmore true the cheaper the product is! More mature designs, otherwise need boots-on-the-ground todebug and refined processes! Well-funded businesses: need to invest in inventory and tooling.! Small dimensions (weight and size) for shipping requirements! Companies with capability to have somebody on-site 52. Maxim Wheatley2014Look Out! Chinese trademarks!! Its NOT set-it-and-forget-it! IP Assignment!! Vendor Supply-Chain! Silo-Approach! Work with companies that have donesimilar products/demographics! Likely to be copied no matter what! Costs rarely vary by much more than+/- 10% (component costs dictatethis) for BOM 53. Maxim Wheatley2014Taiwan:!ComparingPros: Great High-Tech,Engineering Talent, Respect of IP!Cons: More Expensive,Sometimes Higher VolumesMexico:!Pros: Nearby, Shipping Speed,Labor Costs!Cons: Notorious RegulatoryHassles, Audits, and Tax Issues 54. Maxim Wheatley2014Specialists Are EverywhereDependent on Product-Type 55. Maxim Wheatley2014Planning Development ProductionOpportunityIdentificationProject Definition Conceptualization Refinement Tooling Ramp-Up Identify Needs/Opportunities! Define Market! Define BusinessObjectives! Identify Limitations! Determine Scope/Timeline! Set Goals! Identify Team! Intel Gathering Market Research! Customer Studies &Customer Journey! Competitive Analysis! Validation! Product Options! Preliminary Specs! Design Research! Product Specs! Design Brief Creation Aesthetic,Ergonomic,Functionality, &ManufacturingOptions! Concept Creation! Prototype Creation! User Testing! ManufacturingFeasibility! PatentAssessments! DesignEngineering! Cost Estimates Refine Concept! ManufacturingAnalysis! ManufacturingEstimates! Build & TestPrototypes! Conduct UserTesting! All Specs toEngineering DesignTooling! ProcureTooling! DebugTooling! BetaPrototypes! Finalize Go-To-MarketPlan! PackagingDesign &Creation! InstructionsCreation Assembly Set-Sources: The Industrial Design Reference + Specification Book, Phil Baker, Blue Ox Industrials, Whiteboard Product SolutionsUp! WorkforcePrep! FixtureFinalization! AssessProductionRates! QualityMonitoring! CostReductions! DesignImprovementsThe Process 56. Maxim Wheatley2014More ProcessPlanning Development Production DiscoveryPhase:! Research Ideate! DefinitionPhase:! ProductSpecs Budget Timeline Capabilities! Breadboarding! TechValidation ConceptValidation! PackagingProcess! InvestigateManufacturingPossibilities Refinement! TechValidation Proofs ofConcept! Vendor/PartnerEvaluation! Focus Groups Prototyping Low-Fi>> Hi-Fi Design Development+ ProductionPreparation ! CAD + GADrawings DevelopDocumentation Final Prototype w/Revisions PackagingFinalization Tooling Release Production! Order Tooling &Implement First Run Debugging Production Assembly Shipping Fulfillment InventorySources: The Industrial Design Reference + Specification Book, Phil Baker, Blue Ox Industrials, Whiteboard Product Solutions 57. Maxim Wheatley2014 Planning Market Research Competitive Landscape Focus Groups Demographic I