As we continue our blog series on New Product Development, this post covers creating a proprietary product line. In particular, creating a proprietary product line from the perspective of a custom manufacturer.

Our team at Falconer Electronics takes deep pride in helping our clients to create, produce and deliver new products. We work closely and relentlessly with our clients to manufacture products as close to perfect as possible.

The prototype and test phase are both so critical to strive for perfection during early stages when developing a new product. Critical factors include quality and safety as well as producing your product at a competitive price.

Many custom manufacturers make products for other companies but do not possess a proprietary product line themselves. Typically it is not a priority. Custom manufacturers are just too busy serving existing customers.

Over time, a small custom manufacturer develops the skills and expertise at a proprietary process. Yet, they lack either engineering or a product design team to develop a proprietary product line of their own.

Another challenge faced includes not only developing the product but also possessing the ability to aggressively market the product as well. Creating a steady sales channel makes or breaks a product. The greatest product without revenue is simply nothing more than well-kept secret.

Proprietary Product Line at Falconer Electronics 

Well, we found it necessary to not just talk the talk with developing a new product for our customers. We also have to walk the walk. So we created our own proprietary product line.

Falconer Electronics offers a variety of proprietary products.

The list includes:

Creating our own proprietary line of products delivers tremendous benefits to our customers. Especially when working with clients developing their own proprietary product line.

For example, we use our own Wire Harness Assemblies and Printed Circuit Boards in our products.

This simply strengthens our company on many levels. This creates deeper experience with our staff, increases buying power with our vendors and helps maximize capacity with our equipment and machinery.

Since launching our e-commerce store with our proprietary product line, we have engaged with new customers in exciting industries that were completely new to us.

Let’s take a look at the proprietary product line that we developed over the years.

 Ground Straps 

Our team produces thousands upon thousands of high quality Braided Ground Straps for OEM’s.  Way too many to count since our humble beginnings in 1985. In hindsight, we should have kept track similar to McDonald’s tracking the number of burgers served.

Anyway, we decided to convert this proprietary process into a proprietary product line of ground straps.

To broaden the line, we also offer the opportunity to create an Instant Ground Strap for customers looking for a custom size. We call it the Ground Strap Express (CLICK HERE). This allows a customer to build a Ground Strap to the exact dimensions necessary to complete a project.

Commercial Power Strips 

Our proprietary product line of commercial power strips developed out of a need for one of our largest customers. Lowe’s approached Falconer Electronics two years ago to manufacturer a Heavy Duty Industrial Power Strip for artificial Christmas tree displays. The project required a tight deadline along with safety certification from ETL.

The project was such a success for our company that we now offer these Commercial Power Strips on our e-commerce store. Since launching this new proprietary line of power strips in January, we have engaged with numerous new customers in completely new markets for our company.Proprietary Product Line

Magnetic Work Lights

We would also like to introduce you to our exciting lineup of Magnetic Work Lights. You can now purchase Magnetic Based Work Lights manufacturer direct as well as Industrial Magnets on our brand new e-commerce store.

Magnetic Trouble Lights 

Heavy Duty Magnetic Trouble Lights produced at Falconer Electronics offer a sturdy magnetic base. Therefore, allowing you to work hands-free. Tackling challenging projects is easier due to the lights flexibility and reliability. Also, these lights are equipped with Falconer Electronics’s “Swing-open” Guard that permits immediate bulb replacement. Each Magnetic Trouble Light is assembled in the U.S. with components that are purchased domestically and globally.

Click here to view our selection of Magnetic Trouble Lights

Magnetic Spotlights

Durable Magnetic Spotlights produced at Falconer Electronics offer a sturdy magnetic base allowing you to work hands-free. Also, lights provide the flexibility and reliability to tackle challenging projects. Maximum reflection occurs due to the aluminum reflector. Therefore, providing ideal lighting wherever maximum illumination is required.

Furthermore, each magnetic spotlight is assembled in the U.S. with components that are purchased domestically and globally. They are perfect for industrial and warehouse settings as well as projects around your office or home.

Click here to view our selection of Magnetic Spotlights

LED Flashing Lights 

We produce the circuit board inside these LED Flashing Lights. Also, the sturdy plastic base is produced right around the corner from us at a local plastic fabrication company. Therefore, we exhaust every effort to Buy American first.

Click here to check out our Magnetic LED Flashing Lights

Wrapping It Up 

Thanks for reading our post. Check out the excellent article building a proprietary product line from Inc.com – “How To: Grow a Product-Based Business“.

For additional information on manufacturing tips, please click on these links below:

Lastly, please connect with us on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, and LinkedIn.

 

Prototyping

New Product Success with Prototyping 

As we continue discussions on the steps for New Product Development, taking your idea to market requires numerous steps. Today we discuss Prototyping.

Once you have perfected your product on paper or with a CAD drawing, the time has now come to take action. Creating a working prototype is the next step to prove the concept for your new product. Prototyping pays big dividends.

Starting with a prototype provides the opportunity to test your new product. Work out the bugs and kinks. Prove the functionality. A prototype also minimizes your initial investment thus reducing your level of risk. Therefore, drastically increasing the opportunity for profits and success.

Can you make the prototype yourself? Do you have the necessary equipment, experience, skills and resources to produce a prototype?

If making a new product requires machinery and equipment that you do no possess, partner with  a custom manufacturer to assist you. Click here for tips on how to select a custom wire harness manufacturer.

Teaming up with a seasoned company creates a tremendous advantage for you. You reap the benefits of utilizing the resources from the manufacturer which includes their staff, experience, tools, and equipment. This eliminates the need for you to make the heavy investment that the manufacturer already has in place.

In addition, keeping your fixed expenses as low as possible frees up cash flow. This allows you to let the experts make the product while you focus on product design and most importantly, sales and marketing.

Prototyping proves the concept of the product. However, revenues determine how the market values your product. Finding a customer base willing to pay you for your product justifies all of the time, energy and money invested into your new venture.

Prototyping ATM MachinesPrototyping

One exciting project that our team recently worked on included prototyping a brand new state-of-the-art ATM machine.

A local manufacturer that specializes in precision metal fabrication contacted Falconer Electronics to create all wire harness assemblies for the prototyping project.

Attempting to assemble the wire harnesses themselves was not cost effective and proved terribly inefficient for both the ATM business as well as the metal fabrication company.

This is a perfect example where outsourcing the wire harness manufacturing process created a healthy profit opportunity. Pulling wire harness manufacturing off their plate allowed the customer to zero in on what they do best.

Outsourcing manufacturing and production now allows this ATM company to focus on engineering and software development. In addition, their staff works relentlessly on marketing and sales to create a steady pipeline of revenue.

Partnering with these professionals at the ATM company as well as the dynamic team of metal fabricating manufacturer has been a fantastic experience for all of us at Falconer Electronics.

Prototyping played a critical role with the process to bring a viable product to market. Especially with this particular ATM machine. This ATM brings a high level of sophistication to users. Properly functioning machines in the field play a critical role to the success of our customers.

Let’s Connect 

To learn more about Falconer Electronics, you can check out information on our American Made Ground Straps and Wire Harness Assemblies.

Also, need an instant estimate or quote for your prototype? Check out our Wire Harness Estimator and our new Ground Strap Express!

Lastly, please connect with us on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, and LinkedIn.

 

 

Digi-Key serves as a remarkable resource for our company as well as our customers. Simply put, they rock!

When you encounter tight customer deadlines and narrow windows to complete a project, vendor reliability is critical.

Relying on trustworthy suppliers to deliver consistent quality product on-time makes life much smoother. We find that Digi-Key answers the call each and every time.

Digi-Key

Humble Beginnings

Dr. Ronald Stordahl founded Digi-Key as a PhD student in the late 1960’s. Dr. Stordahl even posses his own  Wikipedia page. That’s impressive! Furthermore, Dr. Stordahl turned a passion and hobby into an incredibly successful entrepreneurial venture.

According to Forbes.com:

While obtaining his PhD in Electrical Engineering from the University of Minnesota, Dr. Stordahl started selling a digital electronic keyer kit for sending radiotelegraph code for ham radio operators. This device was called the I.C. Keyer that incorporated the logic of digital I.S.’s and it was used to send out Morse code for ham radios.  After college, Dr. Stordahl went back to his hometown, Thief River Falls.  The keyer kit ended up being discontinued, so he started selling electronic components in 1972.

Digi-Key by the Numbers 

Today, Digi-Key continues to thrive as one of the fastest growing distributors of electronics parts and components.

We recently discussed in a blog post regarding the explosive growth with B2B Ecommerce. Digi-key certainly plays their part in this growth. For example, Digi-key handles over 3.5 million internet orders annually. WOW! That is also impressive.

According to the Digi-Key website, they are the “top rated and most visited website in the electronic distribution industry”:

  • Over $2.3 Billion in annual revenue (BILLION – WOW!)
  • 3700 employees
  • 1.3 million stock items
  • 99% of all orders shipped same day
  • 15,000 orders shipped daily
  • 474,000 customers served

New Product Development 

With continuing our blog series on New Product Development, having reliable vendors on your side lends a tremendous competitive advantage.

Small quantities help engineers and product designers when suffering through the prototype stage. In addition, Digi-Key offers many products in single units. Therefore this makes life much easier during the prototype and testing phase of product development. Yet, quantity discounts offered allows prices to drop down substantially.

Furthermore, we have had numerous situations with clients on-site working on new prototypes. Once they discover they need a new part, they jump on Digi-Key for immediate shipment of product. Another scenario falls when a customer discovers that a part they had originally purchased is not a good fit or simply does not work. Therefore, knowing a replacement part ordered today, arrives tomorrow, once again saves the day.

Digi-Key ships orders accurately and on the same day as ordered. This lends tremendous peace of mind. Especially under tight deadlines and high customer demands.

Our purchasing department also finds Digi-Key knowledgeable, helpful and friendly. Their customer service team fully understands the stress that their customers face. Most importantly their dependability and reliability simply removes one of the many obstacles manufacturers deal with daily.

For PCB production, we count on Digi-Key for capacitors, integrated circuits, diodes, resistors and transistors.

Also, we purchase components, connectors and terminals from Digi-Key to produce our  Wire Harness Assemblies.

Most importantly, they provide parts for our  Wire Harness Estimator and Ground Strap Express.

Let’s Connect

Thanks so much for reading our post. Please click here to learn more about Falconer Electronics.

Lastly, let’s get social! We would love to connect with you on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, and LinkedIn.

8 Outlet Commercial Power Strip

Developing a new product brings a wide range of emotions such as excitement, frustration, encouragement, depression, and exhilaration (not necessarily in that order).

The bottom line: Developing a new product brings hope. Hope that the product works and works extremely well. In addition, the hope that customers welcome this new concept. Most importantly, the hope that customers will eagerly part with their hard earned money and purchase your new creation.

Profits = Sustainability

Profits bring sustainability for your new product as well as your company. Yet, before profits flow in, you need to make sure you produce a quality product. Furthermore, a quality product that (at the very least) meets and preferably exceeds customer expectations.

Proof of concept is critical. However, saying something works versus actually demonstrating that your product works, delivers an entirely new level of credibility.

Here is an interesting video from Steve Jobs on product development:

New Product Development and Prototypes at Falconer Electronics 

Having a number of proprietary products ourselves, we also fully understand the challenges faced with new product development as well as creating a functioning prototype.

For example, our proprietary product line includes Magnetic Work Lights, Commercial Power Strips and LED Flashing Lights.

We also produce numerous prototypes for clients by building Wire Harness Assemblies, Ground Straps and Printed Circuit Boards.

10 Steps for New Product Development

Below includes a list of steps when developing your next new product:

  1. Idea
  2. Create Concept
  3. Drawing & Schematics
  4. Product Requirements
  5. Create Prototype
  6. Test
  7. Revise & Enhance
  8. Product Production
  9. Product Launch
  10. The final and most important step: Sell TONS of your new product. Then you and your family go out and celebrate. See how easy that was! (See our blog series on marketing new products).
Additional Resources To Help With Your New Product Development 

new product

Check out these outstanding articles on developing new products and creating prototypes:

Let’s Connect

Thank you for reading our blog on new product development.

Also check out these helpful blog posts:

Lastly, please connect with us on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, and LinkedIn.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everyone has been hearing for a few years now how technology is advancing. Especially where Smart Homes are involved. Everyone wants to be able to do everything on their phone. This includes banking, checking emails, even video calls. However, now there are even more advancements in technology. You can now control your home with the click of your finger. Furthermore, Smart Homes are becoming less movie magic and more reality. How does this technology work? Also, why does Hollywood always make smart homes out to be a bad thing?

Smart Homes

Smart Homes and Their Electric Advancements

Advanced Wiring

Smart Homes consist of more technology then original houses. While all modern houses are full of wire harnesses, Smart Houses have even more than usual. Wire harnesses are in near everything that has electricity. Also, for each electrical connection, there needs to be a wire harness. Therefore, when connecting all your appliances, locks, and security systems to each other this all takes some types of electrical connections.

While some Smart House technology uses the existing electrical connection within the home there is still a need for more products. Most objects that are going to be part of the Smart House need to have some type of control panel or transmitter. Also, Non-Smart locks are not electrical, they take keys. Therefore, with a Smart House, these same locks are not compatible.

Securing Your Valuables and Family

When you lock your doors and windows you assume your house is secure. Also, you trust that all of your belongings will be there when you return. However, without Smart Home technology you can never be sure until you arrive back home.

The goal of a Smart House is to have your house security available to you at any given moment. You can check your locks and electronics no matter where you are. The days of trying to remember if the coffee maker is off are over. Locking yourself out of the house can be a thing of the past as well. Also, if there is a security issue you can check on it yourself before calling the police. This can prevent a lot of kids and friends getting into trouble.

How do we Keep Away from the Horror Movie Scenario

Technology can make life easier. However, what happens when the technology of a Smart Home becomes too Smart? We have all seen the movies and T.V. shows where the house takes over and holds its residences hostage. From the Disney movie Smart House to episodes of The Simpsons, X-Files, and Eureka the dangers of a Smart House have been shown in entertaining ways. However, are these dangers actually possible? Could our everyday lives turn into a horror movie where our homes take over and we are hostages?

The fear of a Smart House take over could be real. However, not for the reasons, you think. The biggest threat to a Smart House is not the technology itself but rather a previous owner or a hacker of that technology. A Smart House is full of gadgets that are all controllable. From a refrigerator to an oven. Even lighting can use smart technology. So, what happens when a Smart Home is sold to a new owner or is hacked by a criminal mastermind? That is the danger of Smart Houses.

Old Owners Controlling Smart Houses

If you buy a home that is has smart technology who is to say the old owners won’t still have control? Unfortunately, that is unchartered territory. Due to the expenses, most homeowners who put the time and money in this technology are not selling their homes. Does that mean that it will never happen? Of course not. Eventually, a Smart House will have to change hands whether due to loss of a family member or the family moving on to newer technology. With the use of passwords and new advancements, this type of threat will no longer be a fear.

Hackers Taking Over

What about hackers? When dealing with technology there is always the threat of hackers. When you use a personal computer or even cell phone there is a chance that a criminal is getting the same information as you. However, we cannot live in fear that everything we own will someday be attacked by hackers. Just like with computers and cell phones Smart Home technology has safety features. The use of passwords and codes are put in place to help protects residence. Also, security cameras that come with systems can track any unwanted physical attention.

Is a Smart Home Right for You

Is Smart House technology right for everyone? Just like everything, there will always be people who don’t buy into the new technology. There will always be people who don’t trust the internet for example. Generations went through their entire lives with banking in person, going to grocery stores with paper lists, and having to call people on a phone attached to their wall. So, does that mean that we all need to throw away our computers and cell phones? No.

However, utilizing all of the safety precautions that are offered is always a good idea. Are Smart Houses going to be taking over the world? Will all of us be held hostage by our own automatic door locks? Let’s hope not. In the meantime, though we should use passwords and codes as much as possible. Also, we should be aware of who has access to our electronics. Information is out in the world, all we can do is protect it the best we know how.

As far as Smart House living is concerned only you and your family can make that decision.

Connect with Us

Check out more of our blogs!

Want to know more about our Wire Harnesses? Click Here!

Need ground straps for your next project? Check out our Ground Straps Page!

For our Wire Harness Estimator where you can customize your harnesses Click Here!

Are you in the business of working with or on Smart Houses? We have some helpful Wire Harness Tips for you!

Lastly, please connect with us on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, and LinkedIn.

A Favorite Site of Ours

Have you heard of Inc.com? They have an enormous amount of business-related information. We love Inc.com and have even referenced some of their articles in our own blogs! Want to check them out for yourself? Click Here!

 

EEVBlog

Do you love electronics as much as we do? Do you also have a wicked sense of humor? Enjoy watching awesome videos on electronics as well? In particular, videos delivered with a contagious enthusiasm? Well we have the answer for you. Due to popular demand, you need to tune in to the EEVBlog! (Click here)

What is the EEVBlog? EEVBlog stands for Electronics Engineering Video Blog. A place where there is “No Script, No Fear and All Opinion.”

EEVBlog Host Dave Jones 

The EEVBlog is insanely popular. Host Dave Jones fiercely entertains and educates on everything electronics. The EEVBlog is “an off-the-cuff Video Blog about Electronics Engineering, especially for engineers, hobbyists, enthusiasts, hackers and Makers.”

Dave Jones, from Sydney Australia brings 25+ years of experience as an electronics design engineer.

In addition, his wildly successful YouTube Channel boasts 534,000 subscribers with over 80,000 daily views. Another impressive stat, the EEVBlog Youtube Channel has over 110 million views in total. Wow!

Dave targets a worldwide audience of engineers and electronic enthusiasts. As well as nerds too. Check out this video:

As a manufacturer of electronics, we therefore find the EEVBlog an extremely valuable resource. Especially for our customers designing and developing new products in electronics.

Furthermore, videos and content from Dave Jones are consistently helpful and educational. Most noteworthy, Dave delivers outstanding information with a deep passion that viewers find thoroughly entertaining.

Here are a couple of our favorite videos:

How to Set Up An Electronics Lab

Also “What Do Compliance Logos Mean”?

Tutorials 

Are you a beginner just starting out? Another significant benefit with the EEVBlog are the number of tutorials that Dave produces. If you are looking for how-to videos, Dave Jones also offers an outstanding selection. Below includes numerous key videos for beginners:

Forum 

The EEVBlog also provides an extremely vibrant forum. A place to chat for engineers, product developers and electronics enthusiasts. Topics include beginners, projects, repairs, manufacturing, crowdfunding and much more.  Most noteworthy, this forum engages a world wide audience.

Let’s Connect

Thank you for reading our post on the EEVBlog. This post continues our blog series on New Product Development and Wire Harness Assembly. When you have a brilliant idea for a new product, you need to rely on engineering expertise such as Dave Jones.

By the way, this is our second blog on a friend from “Down Under“. Aussies Rule!!

Also, check out our blog series on B2Bmarketing to help market your new product.

Finally, please connect with us on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, and LinkedIn.

Wishing you an ELECTRIC DAY!

Bald Engineer

As electronics geeks, we thoroughly enjoy following James Lewis (aka: the Bald Engineer). James delivers outstanding  information, tips and product reviews on his electronics blog. If you are an electronics junkie like us, you will find his information invaluable.

The tagline on his website: “Electronics tutorials in plain simple English. Our goal is to add the engineer to nerd to create a world of Enginerds.” Otherwise as James simply states, “Electronics Stuff for Enginerds.”

Actually my affection for James Lewis runs deep for two reasons. Not only due to our mutual passion for electronics but also being fellow bald guy.

The Bald Engineer

The Bald Engineer Covers Electronic Basics 

Just a beginner in electronics? Need to learn the basics? No problem!

James provides an incredible arsenal of helpful information on electronics basics: (https://www.baldengineer.com/category/tutorials/electronics-basics).

My personal favorite is his post on LED basics: LED Tutorial – Learn the basics

More Electronic Basics

In addition, below includes several informative blog posts covering more “Electronic Basics”:

AC/DC – More Than Just a Killer Band

James has a fantastic video library on YouTube that serves more than 80,000 subscribers with millions of views.

For example, in this video below James explains that AC/DC is much more than a legendary rock band. Which honestly came as a big surprise to me. Growing up in the 80’s, I just figured that electricity must have been named after the rock band. James clears things up for us AC/DC fans.

Newsletter and Free eBook 

You can join the nearly 90,000 subscribers when you sign up to receive the Bald Engineer newsletter. Just recently, James sent out a cool post on: “Oscilloscope Probes Primer – Why so many types? Compare Passive, Active, High Voltage, and Current Probes”.

 You can also receive a FREE copy of his eBook, “On the Bald Engineer Electronics Bench”. This book is an excellent resource and offers helpful tidbits.

Product Reviews 

Searching for electronics product reviews? The Bald Engineer has you covered there as well.

Since we do plenty of soldering, we particularly enjoyed this review on “Fume Extraction Unit for soldering applications” (found on Element14.com).

Here is another great review on “Pi Cap Hands On Review: My first impressions of a Raspberry Pi capacitive touch hat”.

Let’s Connect 

Thank you so much for reading our blog post on James Lewis and his alias, the Bald Engineer.

As we continue our blog series on helping clients with New Product Development, the Bald Engineer website is an excellent resource.

For those adventurers into creating new electronics requiring a wire harness assembly, check out our new Wire Harness Estimator for a Fast & Easy Estimate.

In addition, as you work on bringing new products to market, check out our blog series on B2B Marketing to help market your new products.

Lastly, we would love to connect with you on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, and LinkedIn.

Wishing you an ELECTRIC DAY!

UL Standards

As we continue our series on New Product Development, a key component with the process includes obtaining certification at UL Standards. In the last post we discussed “The Importance of UL, CSA, and ETL Safety Certifications“. Earning UL listings offer your customers the peace of mind that your product tested and in addition, passed rigorous UL standards. Also, having gone through the process repeatedly for numerous products lends a valuable experience to our team. Therefore, gaining the knowledge and a full understanding of the expectations required for UL Standards allows us to help our customers with these challenges.

UL Certification Guidelines and Rules 

“UL Standards encompass UL’s extensive safety research and scientific expertise. With over a century of experience in the development of more than 1,500 Standards, UL is an accredited standards developer in the US and Canada. In addition to extending its global public safety mission, UL Standards partners with national standards bodies in countries around the world to build a safer, more sustainable world.”

Here is a helpful link to the UL Certification, especially for new product developers: “Specific Guidelines and Rules“.

Additionally below is a link to “A Guide to United States Electrical and Electronic Equipment Compliance Requirements”:

https://nvlpubs.nist.gov/nistpubs/ir/2016/NIST.IR.8118.pdf

Furthermore, there  is a video on Accessing UL Standards Documents: UL Standards Certification Customer Library (SCCL):

List of UL Standards at Falconer Electronics 

If you are not experienced with UL Standards, the list below includes the UL Listings that we have obtained over the years for our products. Additionally, you can click on the UL Standards

UL 1363

Portable Outlet Strip-

  • Indoor
  • Cord and plug
  • Movable
  • Less than 3 receptacles
  • Also, provides ground fault

UL 111

Hardwired Outlet strip

  • Multioutlet assembly
  • Raceway
  • Dry locations
  • Also strips without cords/  not permanently wired in

UL 5

Surface metal Raceways and fittings

  • Enclosed circuits operating at no more than 300 volts
  • Can either be metal or non-metal
  • This does not, however, include cover cable trays, wireways or nonmetallic raceways

UL 48

Electric Signs

  • Includes electric signs, art forms and outline lighting for use in accordance with the National Electrical Code, NFPA 70
  • Also, voltage is not a factor
  • Types of lighting included
    • Incandescent
    • Fluorescent
    • High-intensity discharge (HID)
    • Electric discharge tubing including neon tubing
    • Light-emitting diode (LED)
    • Skeleton neon tubing
    • Cold-cathode lamps
    • Also, electroluminescence
  • Furthermore, “Signs” included
    • Signs
    • Outline lighting
    • Art forms
    • Skeleton neon tubing.
    • Awning signs
    • Trailer-mounted signs
    • Electrically or mechanically animated signs
    • Signs supplied by photovoltaic systems in addition to other independent power sources
    • Changing message signs
    • Including scrolling
    • Flipper
    • Tri-view
    • Liquid crystal display (LCD)
    • Light-emitting diode (LED) type
    • Also, there are other electrically operated signs that are not necessarily illuminating.
  • Not included however
    • Illuminated clocks operating at 600 V or less; refer to the Standard for Household Electric Clocks, UL 826 or for commercial use clocks to the Standard for Time-Indicating and -Recording Appliances, UL 863;
    • In addition to, Exit signs; refer to the Standard for Emergency Lighting and Power Equipment, UL 924;
    • The trailer of a trailer mounted sign;
    • Luminaires mounted to function as outline lighting; refer to the Standard for Luminaires, UL 1598;
  • Additionally, Luminaires mounted within an Awning Sign; refer to Standard for Luminaires, UL 1598;
  • Signs that do not use electricity;
  • Luminaires intended for billboard illumination; refer to Standard for Luminaires, UL 1598;
  • Fiber optics or Fiber Optic Illuminators;
  • Also, Signs for use in hazardous (classified) locations as defined in the National Electrical Code, NFPA 70.

UL 183

Manufactured wiring systems includes:

  • Outdoor locations
  • Field-installed wiring assemblies using off-site manufactured subassemblies for branch circuits
  • Remote-control circuits
  • Signaling circuits
  • Also, communication circuits in areas that are accessible

Finally, thank you for reading this blog on UL Standards. Additionally, we will be continuing our series on New Product Development.

Let’s Connect 

To learn more about Ground Straps and the Wire Harness Assembly process, please click on the links below:

Also, please connect with us on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, and LinkedIn.

Wishing you an ELECTRIFYING DAY!

 

 

safety certifications

Safety and Certifications Importance

As we continue our series on New Product Development, the next stage includes obtaining certifications for product safety. Safety and Certifications are an important aspect of any business. Not only to the customers but also to the company itself. Certification of electrical products is crucial to the safety of products. As a result, product certification is a stamp of superior quality. Regulation of electrical products is to ensure not only safety but also environmental obligations as well.

The Three Agencies

In electronics manufacturing, there are three main safety and certification agencies. A close relationship with these independent certification agencies ensures that products and projects comply with rigorous testing requirements. These agencies work with companies to help make products safely. They provide the proper testing procedures in order to qualify for the needed compliance. 

Electronic Safety Certification Agencies 

 CSA marks on products help consumers to know that that specific product has been tested and is meeting all standards and requirements. There are many different types of products that these marks are found on. Some of these include electrical products, gas-fired, plumbing, and personal protection equipment. However, these are not the only products that CSA marks can be found on. There is encouragement to consumers to always check products for certification markings from CSA, UL, or ETL.ETL Listings through Intertek  CSA Certification

UL (Underwriters Laboratory)

  • Began in 1894
  • The standard for testing electrical products
  • The standard for inspecting electrical products
  • Also educates and guides businesses in required safety requirements
  • Global certification possibilities

ETL (Electrical Testing Laboratories)

  • Established in 1896 by Thomas Edison
  • Provider of testing and assurance services
  • Highly regarded for their knowledge and expertise
  • Therefore, ensuring minimization of health, safety, and security risks by reducing cost
  • Also globally accredited and recognized

CSA ( Canadian Standards Association)

  • Established in 1919
  • Official certifications for all electronic products in Canada
  • Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL) for the US
  • Additionally, CSA has authorization in energy efficiency testing
  • Global certification possibilities

UL (Underwriters Laboratories)

UL Certification Lab

In 1894 William Henry Merrill founded Underwriters Laboratories or UL. Since then, Underwriters Laboratories has become the best known and recognized independent testing lab in the world. Businesses recognize UL for their education and guidance on safety requirements. Therefore, they perform testing on a range of products. Their testing procedures assess the quality and safety of the individual product. Also, their procedures are viewed as the standard for the testing and inspecting of electrical products. UL’s experience and rigorous standards are why Falconer Electronics Inc places trust their certification process.

According to their website, “UL certifies, validates, tests, verifies, inspects, audits advises and educates.” They do all of these through the testing services they provide. UL does all of these for companies looking to ensure their products comply with regulations and safety just like FEI and other manufacturers like us.

Products within the United States are not the only ones certified by UL. UL also studies international certification standards and practices. Companies worldwide recognize UL’s certifications. Due to this recognition, there is the same level of safety for products in the U.S.A. as those going outside of the states. UL has made a strong effort to standardize safety requirements, protocol, and certifications around the world.

2016 UL Accomplishments

In 2016 UL was recognized in over 100 countries. There were also over 20 billion products baring a UL mark. The numbers do not end there, however. In addition to their work in the United States UL also has over 1 billion consumers in Asia, Europe, and North America. UL reaches each of these consumers with their safety messages.

UL has had involvement with approximately 96000 product evaluations. There are over 11000 employees at UL. These employees work out of 170 facilities spread across 40 countries. Each employee plays a part in providing services to their large number of customers.  The publication of over 1500 current safety standards is a large part of the UL family’s accomplishments.

Along with the numerous products and services that UL evaluates they have to be adaptable to the ever-changing world of technology. New technology has led to new advancements in safety. In this changing time, UL has had to adjust certain standards while also developing new ones for newly developed products. These adjustments and new standards will help to ensure that the testing UL is performing is of the highest quality and continues to be relevant to current times.

UL is a Testing Lab Not an Approval Lab

Finally, there is an important distinction that UL is adamant about clarifying. Something UL wants well expressed is that they are a testing lab, not an approval lab. Also, they are not a government agency that has the right to approve any product for a consumer. Due to the view that their process is of the highest level, the government takes their certification into account during the approval processes.

 ETL Certification Benefits 

ETL Certifications

Intertek offers many benefits through its ETL certifications. Much like UL, ETL certifications do not just certify products. They also provide “Total Quality Assurance” to the industries that they work with. Through ETL, Intertek certifies products based on energy efficiency, their performance, and also for the safety of the product.

Thomas Edison is the most notable contributor to ETL. In 1896 his company, The Edison Electric Illumination Company were vital in the legacy of high standards that ETL continues to deliver today, well over a century later. Due to these high standards, companies that are obtaining an ETL listing for the first time may find the process daunting. However,  the Intertek team prides themselves on the amount of assistance they are able to offer to companies throughout the certification process. ETL doesn’t just certify a product and wash its hands of that company. They also do follow-ups and continue involvement in changes within that certified product.

World Wide Representation 

Intertek is a global industry. With their global coverage, Intertek has recognition in countries such as Argentina, China, Germany, Italy, and Mexico as well as the United States and Canada. Throughout 100 countries Intertek has 1,000 locations. Each of these locations is there for the convenience of the businesses that need Intertek’s involvement with their products.

Due to their large number of locations, there is also a need for a large number of employees. Within their 1,000 locations, Intertek employs over 40,000 workers. This large number of employees helps to ensure the best work possible for all of the companies that need Intertek’s help in the certification of their products.

Benefits of ETL Certification

There are many benefits to working with Intertek to get a certification. Intertek offers a step by step process to achieve their certifications.

The Steps
  • The assurance that you receive:

Intertek aims to help companies identify any risks that they have before certifying a product. They help evaluate operations, supply chains, and management systems.

  • Testing:

This step helps to see where a product stands in all the standards they uphold. Therefore, if a product does not perform in quality, safety, sustainability, and performance it will have to go through redesigning.

  • Inspection:

This step is very important to the certification process as it not only affects the final product but each individual aspect that creates the final product. All of the individual pieces and products that go into a final product will go through inspection during this step.

  • Certification of the product:

During this step, a product goes through its final confirmation to ensure that it is meeting all standards.

 

Thomas Edison Founder of ETL Certification

Thomas Edison Founder of ETL through Intertek

 

 

CSA Certification

CSA Certification

The Canadian Standards Association (CSA) was founded by Sir John Kennedy in 1919. Sir Kennedy was chairman of the Civil Engineers’ Canadian Advisory Committee. Due to this, CSA had the original name of The Canadian Engineering Standards Association. CSA did not change their name until the 1940s. As CSA’s recognition grew as they became the official agency for any piece of electrical equipment that is for sale or already in use in Canada. CSA became globally recognized in the 1950s. Furthermore, CSA has become accredited by U.S. OSHA as a “Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory”. Since the U.S. OSHA accreditation CSA has gained global recognition for the services they provide.

CSA Certification Goals   

There are many benefits to acquiring a CSA certification. Much like the other two types of certifications, CSA helps to ensure product quality and safety. CSA works with businesses to achieve their certification by helping them reach the following goals:

  • Developing a Strategic Alliance
  • Utilization of Technical Experts
  • Globally Recognized Certifications
  • Fast and Reliable Delivery of Services
  • Customized Support Throughout the Certification Process
  • Product Protection Supported by the CSA Certification

CSA Types of Certification

The Canadian Standards Association has five different types of certification available. Model certification, witnessed manufacturer’s testing for certification, supervised manufacturer’s testing certification, category program for certification, and finally the field certification program. Below are the descriptions of each type as stated by the CSA website:

Certification Types
  • Model Certification

Your product samples are tested at our facilities for safety and performance. If the product meets the applicable standard, a certificate of compliance is issued, and the CSA mark can be displayed.

  • Witnessed Manufacturer’s Testing for Certification: 

Product testing is performed at your facility under the observation of a CSA Group technical expert who documents the results. If our requirements are met, a certificate of compliance is issued along with CSA mark approval.

  • Supervised Manufacturer’s Testing for Certification (SMTC):

Product testing and certification reports are provided to CSA Group experts by the manufacturer. Through data validation and spot-checks, results are confirmed prior to issuing a certificate of compliance. Before qualifying for SMTC, your testing facility and proposed testing process need to be audited.

  • Category Program for Certification (CPC):

This option allows you to conduct your own testing in a product category, once you’ve received a certificate of qualification. Product testing and validation is performed at your facility, then evaluated by CSA Group experts, who issue a certificate of standards compliance to market-ready products.

  • Field Certification Program: 

Our field certification service is intended as a means of “one-time” certification of product to Canadian or U.S. requirements, for a specific number of units and is not meant to be an alternative to regular certification. This service may also be used where a CSA certified product has been shipped without the CSA mark or has been field modified and needs to be labeled. Tests are carried out by CSA Group to the applicable standard and a certificate of compliance is issued for products that meet the requirements (depending on your location, certain regional requirements may also apply). Gas-fired products will receive the CSA Star label and/or CSA Flame label. Electrical and plumbing products will receive the applicable CSA label.

Why is CSA Certification Important?

CSA has the experience of creating standards and certifications for products of all sizes. To date, the CSA mark is on billions of products all around the world. Also, this number is always increasing as CSA is certifying new products constantly.

CSA has recognition from numerous organizations. Some of which include OSHA and the American National Standards Institute. Therefore, CSA certifications give businesses the peace of mind that their products are of the highest quality and will perform their duties safely.

CSA marks on products help consumers to know that that specific product has gone through testing and is meeting all standards and requirements. There are many different types of products that these marks are found on. Some of these include electrical products, gas-fired, plumbing, and personal protection equipment. However, these are not the only products that CSA marks can be found on. There is also an encouragement to consumers to always check products for certification markings from CSA, UL, or ETL.

Certifications are Crucial

Certification of electrical products is crucial. As a result of a product being certified, it is guaranteed to be of superior quality. Therefore, the regulation of electrical products is to ensure safety and environmental obligations. Additionally, there are three main safety certification agencies that are recognized in electronic manufacturing. Each agency has their own specific purpose.

A close relationship with these independent certification agencies ensures that products and projects comply with rigorous testing requirements. Most noteworthy is an in-depth knowledge of how these different agencies work and what they are looking to achieve during the testing process. These agencies work with companies to make products less likely to need adjustment throughout the testing procedures in order to qualify for the needed compliance.

More Information

Want to learn more about these certifications? You can visit each of their websites below!

Underwriters Laboratories (UL)

Intertek (ETL)

The Canadian Standards Association (CSA)

Thank you for reading our blog on Safety Certifications as we continue our series on New Product Development.

Check out our  Shop product page.

Let’s Connect

Also, please connect with us on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, and LinkedIn.

Wishing you an ELECTRIFYING DAY!

 

 

 

 

 

Prototype

Prototype! A well working Prototype!

To continue our series on New Product Development by building “Building a Better Mousetrap”, let’s explore creating a prototype.

When starting out with a brand new product, perfecting a working model is crucial. Yet, establishing a fully functioning prototype does not necessarily guarantee success. Building a sustainable business model is equally as important.

All Products are in the Prototype Stage

Here is an interesting thought to consider: Every product that exists is in the prototype stage. Just some prototypes have already hit the market. Even stayed on the market for an extended period of time. That is until a “Better Mousetrap” came along.

What are you talking about, you ask?

Here is an example to consider. Kodak film was in working prototype stage….for decades. Actually over a century. A massive success. Then digital photography came along and replaced it. The prototype of print film finally succumbed to a new technology, digital photography.

The brutal irony is Kodak invented digital photography in 1973.  By a 24 year old Kodak engineer named Steve Sasson. Kodak didn’t take the new innovation of digital photography serious though.

How could they? Digital photography would slaughter the golden calf. Destroy the cash cow. Or any other bovine reference you prefer. Millions upon millions of annual Kodak profits would be jeopardized had they embraced digital photography.

Fast forward, Kodak no longer rules the photography market. Especially shocking considering Kodak served on the Dow Jones Index over 70 years from 1930-2004. As a matter of fact, anyone under the age of 20 (out side of Rochester NY) has probably never even heard of Kodak.

How About Crackberry?

Another example of a prototype that hit the market with great success, then disappeared was Blackberry. Blackberry initially dominated the market with cutting edge smart phones. It was even compared to one of the highest addictive drugs on the planet being called the “Crackberry”. Customers could not put it down. Until Apple came along with a better prototype. A “better mousetrap”. The iPhone.

There are millions of examples of products that never make it to market. Kodak and Blackberry demonstrate sad examples of working products that once dominated an industry can disappear in a blink of the eye. Product development is a tough business.

Minimal Viable Product = Working Prototype

So what does that mean to an inspiring inventor? An overly confident entrepreneur who has an exciting new product? How can you ensure success?

Start with making sure your product works. Works extremely well. Create a solid working prototype.

As we discussed previously, establish an all-star team to guide you to success. Starting with finding a quality electrical engineer.

A prototype proves your idea and concept. It solidifies the viability of your product. Eric Reis in his blockbuster book, “The Lean Startup” discusses bringing the MVP to market. A Minimal Viable Product.

Before spending tens of thousands of dollars on a patent, make sure that your product works. More importantly, that consumers (outside of immediate friends and family) are willing to part with their hard earned money to pay you for this exciting new product.

Below is an outstanding video from Google on prototyping:

Thank you for reading our blog as we continue our series on new product development.

Also, please connect with us on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, and LinkedIn.

Wishing you an ELECTRIFYING DAY!

 

John Teel at Predictable Designs

WOW! After reading several fantastic blog posts from John Teel at Predictable Designs, we decided to share this extremely valuable information.

Especially for the individual or company that is plunging into designing and developing electronics for the first time.

We strongly recommend that you explore the Predictable Designs website. John’s blog posts deliver a wealth of helpful information.

Also, sign up for John’s email list. He provides a raw perspective on developing electronics hardware.

In particular, you will want to read John Teel’s Ultimate Guide – How to Develop a New Electronic Hardware Product: click here.

As John describes, “Whether you’re an entrepreneur, maker, inventor, start-up, or small company this guide will help you understand the new product development process!”

This post goes into the down and dirty details of launching a new product. John certainly does not sugar coat anything. He does an amazing job providing helpful information and guidance with this daunting process.Predictable Designs

Avoid the 95% Product Fail Rate 

As we discussed in a previous blog post, of the 30,000 new products launched each year, 95% fail. Ouch!

How do you avoid falling into the dreaded 95%? What does it take to join the elite group of 5% successful product launches?

With his years of experience, John Teel explains the many reasons products fail with another incredibly helpful post: 13 Reasons Why Hardware Startups Fail (and How to Make Sure Yours Doesn’t)

Build More Than a Product – Build a Business 

In addition, John brings a strong business-minded approach. Not just with creating amazing products but he also focuses on the profitability of your project as well.

You are not just developing a product.  John explains that it is crucial that you build a company around the product. A sustainable and profitable entity.

Once again, John lays out another outstanding post to help you. This post looks long-term beyond the product itself. Check out his post, Want to Make Millions? Don’t Develop a Product – Do This Instead!

How to Cost Out Your Product Design 

Lastly, John offers a step by step process with costing out your new product development.

Particularly helpful if you are in the infant stages of developing a new product in electronics for the first time. 

John covers every detail. He thoroughly explains the process with his Essential Guide – The Cost to Develop, Scale, and Manufacture a New Electronic Hardware Product.

Here is a video where John goes into a case study explaining product development costs as well as expenses related to obtaining regulatory certification:

We hope you enjoyed this post on Predictable Designs. As a manufacturer of  Wire Harnesses, Ground Straps, and Commercial Power Strips, we find John’s information, tips and advice priceless.

Let’s connect

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Also, for more info on electronics manufacturing, please connect with us on TwitterGoogle+, and LinkedIn.

Electrical Engineer

Searching for an Electrical Engineer 

Last week we discussed “Building the Better Mouse Trap“. So let’s just say that you have a brilliant new product in mind. A solution that customers will love!

It’s now time to move forward with your exciting idea for developing a new product in electronics.

You know exactly how the product should work. This is going to completely disrupt the market.

You will be on Shark Tank soon pitching your new game changing product. You are going to make a fortune.

Electrical Engineer

Yet, one problem though. You lack an electrical engineering background.

Therefore, if you are not an Electrical Engineer, it would certainly help tremendously to connect with a worthy candidate. Especially an electrical engineer that you trust.

Where do you turn if you do not know an electrical engineer? Who are you going to call?

Do you hire a large firm? They may have significant resources but you find them really expensive.

Or would you prefer to find a small firm or even an individual consultant? Limited resources but possibly less expensive and more flexible.

You need someone that is experienced. Excited about your product. Trustworthy. Relentless. Deeply committed to your success.

Let’s explore several options to consider in your quest to find a high quality electrical engineer.

Volt Vision 

We are blessed to work closely with Steve French, LED specialist and President of electrical engineering firm Volt Vision. Steve has a dynamic background particularly working with LED lighting solutions.  It is a huge asset at Falconer Electronics having Steve as part of our team.

Steve is an expert in LED lighting and a fantastic musician as well. So his creative side combined with being an outstanding engineer makes a killer combination with LED lighting projects.

The Friends and Family Plan

Moving forward, if you do not have an existing relationship with an electrical engineer, start with your inner networking circle. Any friends, family, long lost relatives, college fraternity brothers or sorority sisters? Maybe someone from your soccer team 20 years ago? If not, let’s continue our search……..

Linking with an Electrical Engineer on LinkedIn 

Hopefully, you have a LinkedIn account. This is a great place to find professional connections. Especially in a specialized field such as an Electrical Engineer.

Just type “Electrical Engineer” or “Electrical Design Engineer” into the LinkedIn search box. You can search by:

  • People
  • Jobs
  • Content
  • Companies
  • Groups
  • Schools

LinkedIn is a powerful resource. For example, nearly 200,00 LinkedIn members belong to the LinkedIn Group Mechanical Design Engineers. Over 38,000 LinkedIn members have joined the Electrical Engineers Group.

Other Social Media 

If you find yourself still looking, jump on social media. Depending on the demographic or specialty that you are targeting, start with the platform that you are most active on:

Google Search 

Still no luck so far. You can turn to your trustworthy old friend, Google. If you just do a general search for “Electrical Engineer”, you are going to receive broad results. Having just conducted a search, it seems to be mainly job listings that turn up.

If you prefer someone local, type in your city in as well (Ex: Electrical Engineers in Boston).

Furthermore, you could type the specific type of engineer that you are searching. Ex: PCB engineer, energy systems, microelectronics, systems and controls, etc…

Local Business Networking Groups 

Do you belong to a local business networking group?

Chamber of Commerce

Local Networking Groups (Ex: BNI)

Small Business Development Center – The Small Business Development Center is also an excellent resource that can help out with your search.

Online Professional Freelance Websites

Lastly, there are numerous professional matchmaking websites to consider. All of these sites below offer connections to a wide variety of electrical engineers:

Electrical Engineer

 

Wrapping it Up 

Well, we wish you MASSIVE SUCCESS with your exciting new product.

Thank you for taking the time to read our blog on searching for an Electrical Engineer. Also check out our continued blog series on Developing a New Product in Electronics.

If you need information on a Wire Harness with your new product, click here for tips on outsourcing.

Let’s Connect

To learn more about Ground Straps and the Wire Harness Assembly process, please click on the links below:

For more info on electronics manufacturing, please connect with us on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, and LinkedIn.

Building a Better Mousetrap That is Profitable 

“If You Build a Better Mousetrap, the world will beat a path to your door.” American philosopher, Ralph Waldo Emerson is credited with that famous line from the nineteenth century.

Better Mousetrap

However, as legend has it, he never said those exact words. Ralph Waldo Emerson actually stated the following:

“If a man has good corn or wood, or boards, or pigs, to sell, or can make better chairs or knives, crucibles or church organs, than anybody else, you will find a broad hard-beaten road to his house, though it be in the woods.”

“Build a Better Mousetrap” just sounds catchier and flows easier.

Anyway, as the point remains, build a better product above the competition and customers will line up. Profits will pour in. If it were only that easy though.

Building a better mousetrap is a massive accomplishment. Creating a sustainable and profitable business model is a whole other story.

Side note: If you enjoy reading inspirational books and want to go “old school”, check out Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “We Are the Builders of Our Fortunes: Success through Self-Reliance.” Especially if you need a motivational boost with your new product. We strongly recommend it.

95% Fail or 5% Success

Creating and inventing a new product is tough. The process is certainly not for the weary. According to Harvard Business Professor Clayton Christensen, 30,000 new products are launched each year. Of those, 95% of new products fail! That is a crazy statistic.

You may actually face better odds of survival going over Niagara Falls than successfully establishing a new product.

With such a high fail rate, why do inventors and innovators even attempt to fall in the successful 5%?

Ego? Delusion? Determination? Fame and fortune?

Typically everyone thinks they have created the “better mousetrap”. Surely, no one goes into new product development expecting to join the 95% failure club.

To be successful, you need to put the odds in your favor by exhausting due diligence. Gathering every resource in your corner to achieve success.

Persistence and Determination  

Over the years, we have worked closely with a wide variety of companies that have internally engineered new electrical products (better mousetraps).

Areas that our team focuses on include the following: Wire Harness Assemblies. Ground Straps. Commercial Power Strips. Printed Circuit Boards.

We have made lots and lots of prototypes for customers over the years. Throughout our experience, a common phrase heard from engineers, “Going back to the drawing board”.

Yet, this just means that the person or company continues striving for perfection. Making the PERFECT mousetrap.

From our experience, persistence and sheer determination are two ingredients required to launch a successful product.

We thought you might enjoy this quick video explaining the “Build a Better Mousetrap” concept:

Finally, as you strive to bring your “better mousetrap” to market, surround yourself with experts that contribute greatly to your cause. Seasoned veterans who have been there before. Trained guides familiar with the challenging terrain. Individuals committed to your success.

Thank you for reading our post on “Building a Better Mousetrap”. This blog kicks off our series on developing a new product in electronics. Please check back each week for more info.

Let’s Connect

To learn more about Ground Straps and the Wire Harness Assembly process, please click on the links below:

For more info on electronics manufacturing, please connect with us on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, and LinkedIn.