Today's development processes have a high level of complexity. Internal company processes and expertise, as well as external factors have a major impact on the success of a product’s development. Many different paths can lead to the start of a new product, with the request of a customer being one of them. This article describes what a process looks like from the inquiry of a product or application to the end of reaching serial status.
In our example, we are using the Drilling System (MDS-2000) that MOBA had developed a solution for.
#Description of the application
The operator of a quarry states that the deviation of two blast holes drilled at significant angles with great depth, lose the factor of parallelism. This is problematic in the avulsion of the sole wall, because the holes of the explosive collect on the lower end. This accumulation can lead to non-calculable flying rocks, creating an uneven bottom wall. This operator needs to find a solution for the proper angle required, in conjunction with making the depth correct on the boring bar.
What are the steps to developing a product or application?
As a first step, Product management in conjunction with a sales group, creates a market, feasibility and benchmark analysis, evaluating the market and sales potential. Are all market-dependent questions being answered? The technical feasibility is being examined in a next step. This can only be achieved through cooperation with Product and Development managers, who have the corresponding know-how to complete the task at hand.
At this point, the original problem of the customer becomes an internal official project for MOBA. In cooperation with the Project Management team, project planning is ready to begin. The project is now in progress, within set time parameters, well-defined milestones and objectives. Planned resources are discussed as potential challenges.
At the same time, the Head of Development is building her/his team. She/He has access to the resources of the complete engineering department and can choose the best suitable engineers, depending on their area of expertise.
In order to close the pre-planning, the decision as a team needs to be made regarding what hardware is needed. Some may be already utilized in other applications and can be re-used, while others need to be developed. Decisions need to be made as to what programming environment is utilized, and how systems are going to be tested.
Once the development foundation has been set up, and has been evaluated, the actual work can begin. The processes will differentiate considerable, depending upon the departments involved at the different steps along the way.
#Product and Project Manager
The Product Manager will work with the Project Management team. Together they will keep track of progress by documenting the development of various departments' status, in terms of planning and implementation.
The Hardware Team starts to work on circuit and test tool equipment, layouts and EMI testing. Simultaneously, the drawings of parts and housings are created. The Sensor group works on new and innovative sensor solutions for ultrasonic, infrared and laser products, and combinations of all.
The HMI Team (Human Machine Interface) is working on optical bondings and surround view, the Controller group on high- performance controllers suitable for the Application and Construction market.
The “Automation group” and specifically Software engineers, are responsible for programming the controller and displays, which in the end are the visible signs of a successful performance of a finished system and its functions.
Programming is one of the major tasks that are accomplished within that group. Through the programming environment, ""CoDeSys"" applications can be quickly created, and customized with a high degree of flexibility in terms of function. As part of the programming work, source code and display graphics are created and updated through program documentation.
The first step is to build a basic structure of the program, starting with the basic functions of the individual components. From there, communications come from other participants in the implemented system (i.e. sensors, or a sub-controller with the specially developed MOBA CAN protocol, the CAN Open protocol, or possibly existing RS232 communication).
Finally, more and more “intelligent” program modules will be gradually integrated. The Application developer is responsible for distinguishing the display for graphics. The creation of user-friendly symbols is important.
Throughout the development process, the collaboration with the customer is important. Just short-communications, with explanation of information based on expertise, is controlled through in-house development, resulting in major project success.
The individual development steps are tested in the test lab, or at the engineer’s workplace itself. Tests are done on a fully or partially- compiled system. Test are always done by simulating the ""worst case scenario”, to prepare the applications for the extreme of extreme conditions, and/or situations.
Congruent with all of the above, the Product Manager looks for a suitable construction site for field testing. This is where you seal the deal on the project – time to put it to the test. Equipment testing under real environmental conditions. The Developer is on site during that test phase to monitor, make minor corrections and track CAN-BUS communications.
These so-called ""Traces"" allow the Developer to evaluate important data and modify the source code (i.e. filter settings, etc.). Besides tracking CAN-BUS Communications, the utilization of the telecommunications module is also a valuable tool for field testing. MOBA has been using both tools for many years now, making it possible for the data to be analyzed with available updates, in real time. The telemetric data can then be transmitted, worldwide.
In addition to the real-life tests in the field, a number of environmental factors in the laboratory take place. These include tests in the climate chamber, burst test, saltwater mist and sun influence. After completion, a prototype is tested again in the field.
#Testing at Customer Site
The prototype makes its way to the customer for further testing. The initial installation and testing together with the customer is carried out by the MOBA Developer, having Representatives located and available all around the globe.
This ensures a direct relationship and best possible interaction between customers, MOBA engineers and systems. The Developer is supported in-house to handle feedback and initiate modifications, as needed.
In order to produce a serial product or application, multiple factors need to be considered and many departments are involved… all the way from the start of the project, to the final steps of completion.
The Developer usually writes a preliminary manual and the Documentation department transforms it into a user-friendly guide. With the reach of the final serial status, the new product gets transitioned over to the Product management team, who then continues to focus on specific application questions, making them available to suppliers and end-users.
After a long process and lots of work, a new product is born and makes its way into the market!