How do you approach a design problem?Follow article
An interesting thought occured to me recently whilst working my way through a particularly tough mechanical design problem on our CFD software in the design office of ebm-papst UK Ltd . Part of my remit as Head of Design at ebm-papst UK Ltd is performing CFD analyses on customer products to help them with design problems.
So the thought that occured to me was .....Wouldn't it be nice if I could try different options in the same way as electronics designers do when working with a design that doesn't perform to specification.
Now before I go any further I am not an electronics designer! , I can tell the difference between a capacitor and a transistor and have been known to bodge together the odd electronics project (some of them very odd indeed ) but I am essentially a nuts and bolts man.
However I am responsible for a team of 3 electronics design engineers and as such have got more intimatly involved with electronics design than I used to and have started to understand the constraints and issues associated with electronics design.
Electronics Designer Workflow
So , if an electronics designer produces a circuit and it doesn't work correctly, what does he do ? Completely redesign the circuit? No, invariable he/she starts 'tweaking' component values or swapping components until the design performs as required. I realise this is a sweeping generalisation and the process isn't as random as i seem to imply but it does hold true to a certain extent.
Mechanical Designer Workflow
Now lets look at a mechanical designer, they produce their latest work of mechanical design art and it doesn't perform correctly, what does he do ? Can he 'tweak' it ? No, usually that option isn't available, it's a re-design of at least one part and invariably the whole assembly with the ensuing time and cost implications
Now I know you are all saying 'But surely they have FEA , CFD , RP , etc?', unfortunatly not everyone has access to these tools and even those that do may not use them on every project.
Thought for the day
Do electronics designers regard that method of working as a 'bodge' or 'kludge', or is it part of the natural development process ?
What workflow do you use for electronics design ? does it have benefits or drawbacks when compared to others ?
Peter J Francis
@peterjfrancis Follow me on Twitter for more inane ramblings