What We Do
We Keep You In Control
We take projects through a step-by-step procedure that ensures proper input and communications, so that clients are aware of status and development. Unlike some firms, when we work with you we consider ourselves to be an extension of your company. You are the expert in your business; we merely provide the technical resources you need to realize your vision. We will maintain close communication to keep you fully informed of project status.
Theta Engineering Delivers
In today's high-tech economy, it is sometimes difficult to find the
resources needed for technical product development. The resources necessary to the project are often allocated elsewhere or not available. Perhaps the product development
is coming along fine but there is no one to do the production tester for it, or maybe your company is expert in software but help is needed to develop a custom hardware
platform for the product. Theta Engineering is a full-service, concept-to-production engineering firm with the expertise and experience needed to help you achieve your technical objectives.
Competence & Experience
Theta Engineering's team of engineers have years of experience working with all types of companies turning ideas into reality. Our reputation for delivering high quality work means you can count on our skills and services when you need them. We will help you navigate the most straightforward route to your goal.
Theta Engineering, along with its technology partners, can bring to bear just the right amount of resources to ensure your project gets accomplished as expediently and economically as possible. Theta Engineering will get the technical results you need for business success!
The Theta Engineering Process
- 1. Requirements
- This is generally time spent understanding the client’s general product requirements as well as requirements specific and peculiar to the client’s application. It is usually desirable to understand the product’s business model as well. The more we know about the business and marketing aspects of the client's business, the better job we can do tailoring the project plan and end product to the client's needs. If not provided by the client, it may be necessary to prepare a functional specification document for the client’s review and sign off. This will then be used to guide the remainder of the project.
- 2. Research
- This task consists of searching the marketplace to see what is available and selecting the key technology components for the design. This can also include the development of new technology if some novel aspect of the client’s product demands it.
- 3. Circuit Design
- Circuit design involves deep study of manufacturer's data sheets for each component to ensure it is applied correctly. It typically requires creation of a schematic symbol for each of the less common components, then graphically drawing a circuit schematic, a process called "schematic capture". Many pages of spreadsheet calculations will be done to determine circuit parameters and to check that component ratings are not exceeded. Manufacturer and part number information will be entered into the schematic for every component. This circuit schematic is the central “source” from which the BOM and PCB netlist will be generated. It is also used to render the schematic diagram in PDF form.
- 4. PCB Design
- This step creates the physical design of the printed circuit board. It requires coordination with the mechanical design. The circuit board mechanical details and component placements will be entered into the design package and circuit routing will be performed. Design rules will be applied as necessary to ensure integrity of critical signals. A 3D Step file can be produced for the client’s use in verifying mechanical fit if desired. Once the PCB design is approved, Gerber files will be generated that can be used by a PCB fabrication house to fabricate the actual boards.
- 5. Prototyping
- At this phase of the project, Theta will oversee the fabrication and assembly of a small number of prototypes for development purposes. Once fully assembled units are available, we will apply power and “smoke test” the boards for gross electrical faults.
- 6. Firmware
- In this task, firmware is developed in order to create the desired functionality of the end product. This task typically commences once prototype boards are available but, in cases where this would delay the project excessively, it is often possible to do some firmware development on a “lash-up” using off-the-shelf development boards from the chip manufacturers until the prototypes become available. This increases the cost of the project somewhat but does save time. "Hello World" comes from an old tradition in Computer Science where the first program you write that proves the computer is "alive" is one that prints "Hello World". In the embedded world, "Hello World" usually means writing code to blink an LED. This proves that your tool chain is working and the target is actually executing your code, and is usually the first step in the firmware development task.
- 7. Software,
- By this point in the process, functional prototypes are in-hand. The actions taken at this step vary depending on the client's needs and can include writing software that runs on a standard Windows PC in order to support the use and testing of the end product, client alpha testing support, customer beta testing support, development of a production test fixture for use in manufacturing the product, support for regulatory compliance testing, or product design validation.
- 8. Release to
- This task sweeps up all the reworks and fixes that may have arisen over the course of the project and incorporates them into a new iteration of the design. Provided the scope of the updates is not major, this completed design will be released for production. If major updates are required, it behooves the client to undergo another round of prototyping and testing to ensure the final product will meet requirements.
- 9. Support
- After release to production, technical issues often arise such as a specified part in the original BOM becoming unavailable or manufacturing defects that require technical expertise to diagnose. Theta Engineering remains available to assist and work with the client or client's manufacturer to address such issues, sometimes years after the product release!
- 0. Admin
- Although not really a "step" in the process, administration is called out as item zero because a certain amount of it is present in every activity and shouldn't be overlooked. This can include project management, client meetings, technical oversight, communication among team members and other non-technical activities.