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STI Electronics, Inc., a full-service organization including engineering, contract manufacturing and training services, is a complete partner from schematic forward design through first article validation. A key step in this cycle is the prototype development process. Prototypes are a requirement in the design validation step and often consume more funding and time than initially budgeted. STI’s unique prototype development approach mitigates these expenses and reduces the overall time to market for customers’ new products.
The typical approach to prototype development is to design, check, build and evaluate. Upon completion of the evaluation, boards are “re spun” to implement changes desired, thus adding time and money to the development cycle. STI’s approach is different with the company’s objective focused on the implementation of corrective actions via rework and repair per IPC 7711/21 (STI is an approved development center for IPC 7711/21) to get the first prototype to the customer’s desired “production” performance level. The product can be released for beta build and test once this milestone is achieved.
STI’s prototype development approach reduces the overall cost and time to market by compressing the development stages from as many as 3 cycles to as few as 1 cycle. The prototype development process is complimented by the capabilities in the company’s analytical lab. The prototype can be subjected to environmental and analytical tests as required to ensure system design objectives are met. These include but are not limited to thermal shock, vibration, humidity, etc. STI’s tests can be performed to customer-supplied specifications or a customized test plan based on best practices learned over the years. The company also has the ability to test prototypes to failure to provide feedback as to finding the weakest link in the design.