How important is good engineering actually? We consider it extremely important! Consider this update an ode to the engineer!
"Manufacturing is more than just putting parts together. It's coming up with ideas, testing principles and perfecting the engineering, as well as final assembly." - James Dyson
The Electronic Face Lift
In the following picture you see at the left the original design for the electronics of the Crownstone plugs. There are four printed circuit boards (PCBs): the green plates. Two round boards right on top of each other as a kind of sandwich, one board at the bottom of the red box (a capacitor), and one board attached with a yellowish cable totally at the left (the Bluetooth radio). At first sight this looks quite complex and indeed it is. Moreover, that it is complex means that it is also: 1) more expensive, 2) more brittle, and 3) slower to manufacture. For example, the flexible cable costs more than € 5,- to manufacture if we order a couple of thousand plugs. Besides that, more boards means higher costs for assembly, more work configuring machines, etc. etc. all compounding in unanticipated skyrocketing bill-of-material costs.
Left: design before. Right: design after.
What a beautiful electronic face lift! In the preceding picture you see at the right the final design of our plugs. Those four different boards? There are gone! By strategically placing the red box with prolonged “legs” on top of the relays, there is magically much more space to place all the components we need. The radio is placed on the main board, the high-voltage lines are as short as possible. Everything even fits on one side of the PCB, incredible! We have to heap praises on the engineers from Van Mierlo! Thanks Toin!
Plastics and Metals
Also AMS made large engineering steps! For example, the pins are now embedded into the plastic to obtain a very rigid structure. Let’s just show some pictures!
Here you see the first samples at the left and the current samples at the right. Nice to see that the blue color gets brighter over time!
Of course you’re all curious when we will ship! We want to be 100% sure that our product is 100% perfect. This means that there should be nothing in the hardware that we didn’t anticipate! One of our competitors (although without our unique selling point of presence detection due to the use of Wi-Fi, not Bluetooth), Parce, had to recall all their products, a warning tale! So, be prepared to receive them soon, but we won’t overhaste in sending them out.
Come to our monthly hackerspace to get to know us! Just out of work you can drop by at Rotterdam Central Station tomorrow. Join our Hackerspace! You’ll discover how the app will look like for example! We’re happy we’re approaching the end of our product development. It’s been a crazy time and we’re grateful you’ve been with us along the journey!
06 October 2016