The Design and Development Process

Here at Silicone Dynamics, we are frequently approached by engineers and product designers in all stages of their product design. Whether actively sourcing parts for your manufactured device, or just looking at options, we have the expertise to help. Silicone Dynamics is staffed by personnel that understand the entire life-cycle of modern consumer electronics. We point you in the right direction while you find the keypad for your device that adds functionality while cutting costs. We also assist in reducing the amount of time necessary for its development.

Concept Stage

Every product begins its life in the concept stage as a dream a thought up by an engineer or a development firm. Products in the concept stage are comprised of little more than vague idea. Usually, the idea consists of how an existing product can be improved or how a problem can be solved. If you are currently in the concept stage of your product design, we can help you help your idea take a more rich and completed form, and can point you towards sources that help refine your idea into the design phase. Our design guide is one resource that could be essential to help you in your design phase.

Research Stage

If you have made it to the Silicone Dynamics website, the odds are that you are currently in the research stage of your product design. The research stage can eat up the majority of time in the typical product design life cycle. This is especially true if there is not a great deal of direction behind the production of the product. Silicone Dynamics help all product designers speed their research by giving them direct access to the best silicone keypad production centers in the world. We can customize our silicone keypads to the exact specifications required by individual projects. Our engineers work with you to refine your keypad design. We also assisting in making sure the manufacturing cost is at the level it needs to be. This ensures that your products are ultimately commercially successful.

Circuit Design

Circuit Design ExampleOnce you have decided on the basic form that your electronic device will take, you will need to create a schematic diagram that lays out the general design of your circuit and the parts that are necessary. Many electronic devices can be dramatically lowered in price through the use of printed circuit boards; However, there are some positive attributes of more traditional circuit board construction as well. Silicone keypads work with most circuit designs Still, it is important to make sure you work with the design engineers at Silicone Dynamics. These experts are there to help you create a circuit design that will make the best interfaces possible.

Printed Circuit Layout and Packaging
One of the most important steps in the design of your electronic device is the creation of the printed circuit and the housing that will separate the circuit for the elements/user. You need to keep user experience in mind. You can utilize materials like silicone to produce keypads with varying degrees of elasticity, transparency, and colors. You can also label keys either on the keys themselves (with stamping, printing, etc.) or on the plastic or metal housing that surrounds the keys. Silicone keypads tend to make your life easier for product designer, as the material is extremely flexible and can be utilized in nearly any environment. It also holds the benefit of being naturally resistant to damage and to wear and tear.

Prototyping and Small Run Production

Silicone Dynamics offers free production of sample keypads so you can examine the different materials and actuation levels in preparation for your product prototyping. Once you have settled onto a design for your circuits and housing, Silicone Dynamics can produce a small run of the keypads. You are then able to test the product on your prototypes and your first initial products. We recommend a small production run for distribution to different retail outlets and end-users, but also so you can gauge the costs of manufacture.

Design Review

We recommend that you send your initial designs to at least three different manufacturing facilities before committing to construction with one firm. While we recommend using our firm for custom silicone keypads, we have several facilities that are utilized for electronics design and circuitry. One reason to send your design to multiple firms (other than price and quality comparison) is to get extra sets of eyes to see ways that you might be able to improve your own designs. When sending your design to us, our quote request page is where you can upload your 3D drawings and PDF file.

Setting up the Manufacturing Equipment

Huge manufacturing facility

Even though you will be doing your component manufacturing (and maybe your assembly as well) overseas, we still recommend you have in-person visits to the manufacturing facilities that you choose. Manufacturing overseas gives you access to savings. That said, you also need to keep an eye on your manufacturing processes in order to make sure that standards are being upheld. Our silicone keypads are the proper mix of cheap manufacturing and the highest quality possible. We ensure that all manufacturing equipment is cutting-edge. We also assure that the manufacturing employees utilized represent the “cream of the crop” in their respective fields of expertise.

Creating Documentation

Creating documentation is one of the most dreaded aspects of production for the more technically minded product designers. Reason being that it implies long hours of taking complex information, and then making said information accessible to the end-user. However, documentation can be easy if you have a simple product with easy-to-use interfaces. For example, some of the new universal remote controls are so intuitive that their manuals are only a few pages long. The user can often get the rest of the necessary information from on-screen prompts and from the device itself.

Legal and Regulatory Hurdles

Depending on what type of product you are creating, there might be additional legal and regulatory hurdles that you have to overcome before you go to market. For example, you may have to test your product to ensure that it does not interfere with different frequency bands, especially if you are producing something like a remote control that uses radio waves or infra-red to connect to another device.

Design Improvement and Support

At Silicone Dynamics, our commitment to your product design process does not end when the product has been created. We follow up with all of our clients, making sure that their design experience was smooth. We also solicit feedback from end-users, and we are constantly improving our manufacturing process and our facilities.