If your organization is intended to develop electronics hardware that needs to be in compliance with international standards (e.g. for EMC of functional safety, electrical safety) and needs to be deployed on a regulated market (e.g. in the EU), by then, you may have already encountered some of the following questions:
- Which are the applicable international safety and product standards?
- Do you have an appropriate hardware development process?
- Do you have requirements and are those correct and complete?
- Is there working requirement management at your organization?
- How do you plan the verification and validation activities?
- Is the hardware architecture documented?
- Is the hardware design documented?
- Is your team experienced in successfully avoiding common design errors?
- Is there working configuration management?
- Is there working change management?
- How do you handle complaints and field failures?
- Are the design and the related documentation correct and complete?
- Is there enough independence between design/implementation and verification/validation?
- How do you provide evidence to your customer and to the certifying organizations that your product meets the associated standards?
We at FS-Dynamics have over 13 years of professional experience in automotive and industrial electronic hardware development. In the past 7 years, we have been working mainly on safety-related circuits. In many of these projects we worked together with our customers, partners as well as with independent certifying organizations like the TÜV Nord, TÜV Rheinland, and exida LLC.
We are ready to help you or your team to cope with the hardware development tasks as follows:
Our customers rely on our expertise in preparing documents as follows:
- Requirement specification
- Hardware architecture document
- Hardware design document
- Hardware test specification
The existence of consistent hardware documentation is necessary for professional development. Good documentation reduces the likelihood of the project failing. Without documentation there is a much higher risk for:
- wrong design decisions (due to missing requirements)
- systematic failures (due to missing design calculations, explanations, etc.)
- communication issues (with stakeholders, team members, certifying organizations)
- increasing development cost and time (due to the increasing number of required re-design cycles)
- loss of knowledge (due to fluctuation)
Circuit and schematic Design
To handle complexity and to achieve a clean schematic structure we prefer to use the so-called top to bottom design method. In our view, high-quality schematic documents shall reflect this approach in their structure and shall provide at least three layers of abstraction that represent the system, function block as well as component level respectively. A clean schematic structure is indispensable for effectively applying design analysis techniques like block-FMEA, FTA, and component FMEDA and it also facilitates review processes.
For creating our circuit diagrams, we use the popular Altium Designer software tool, with which we already gained a lot of experience in the past 13 years.
We are using LTSpice by Analog Devices (previously Linear Technology) for simulation.
Several of our clients regularly count on our expertise when it comes to designing printed circuit boards in compliance with EMC testing standards. So far, we have been completed more than 200 successful PCB designs. In many projects, in addition to EMC properties, mechanical stress, as well as optimal thermal properties, were also important considerations. Our highest complexity PCB job was a safety-related extension board for variable frequency drives with the following key parameters:
|Dimensions:||160 x 48 mm|
|Nr. of Cu layers:||8|
|Nr. of Components:||1131|
|Nr. of Connections:||2013|
|Assembly:||double-sided (SMD + THT)|
For layout design, we use Altium Designer for 13 years.
At the moment our hardware test capabilities are limited to function and module tests. We plan to extend our services shortly with thermal imaging and EMC Pre-Compliance tests.
Concerning EMC, Electrical Safety, and Environmental (e.g. temperature, shock, vibration, etc.) testing we rely on third parties.
Safety standards (e.g. IEC 61508, ISO 26262, etc.) require the application of quantitative methods for providing evidence that a particular circuit meets its safety targets. In most cases, it means, that a so-called Failure Mode Effect and Diagnostic Analysis (FMEDA) has to be carried out on the safety-related electronics. FMEDA can help to identify design flaws and provides among other parameters the probability of dangerous failures of a particular safety function. Conducting FMEDAs requires experience and deep knowledge of circuit analysis. We believe that our FMEDA service is very competitive and gives you the best value for money.
Consultancy and Review
We are happy to assist you also with consultancy and review services in connection with the hardware development activities listed above. Please feel free to contact us.