R&D, or Research and Development, implies something more than traditional engineering efforts. On some projects, particularly those that concern development of a product on the leading-edge of a technology, require research and testing ahead of the traditional circuit design engineering. This may be for the purpose of defining a new sensing technology, experimenting with a new method of mixing mechanical with electrical, or even simply studying if a new product technology is scientifically feasible. These types of projects call for R&D engineering. Design efforts during this stage would include experimental research with the proposed new technology, including the interface of off-the-shelf or custom electronics to the technology to confirm a working solution. Like any exploratory effort, R&D engineering is a bit more difficult to timeline simply because the work efforts are not fully known at the beginning of the project. To aid in relieving the financial risk to our client, prior to beginning the project we establish a milestones list with an estimated timeline. The client is allowed to follow progress weekly (or even daily) to confirm that maximum value is being gained from our efforts.
Once the ‘research’ portion of the project is out of the way, we then begin the more traditional engineering development efforts such as schematic design, microprocessor firmware coding, and PCB layout. Though not without their own challenges, these traditional engineering efforts are much easier to place on a timeline because they involve known processes that we have worked through many times in the past.
Obviously, the rewards to a company looking to develop a product based on a new technology are potentially great. We do our best to help companies bring their new product ideas into a finished product form in as seamless a design flow as is possible.