Developing a product is an art in itself, but getting the design out of the concept phase and ready for manufacturing requires a hefty amount of testing. Engineers and creators usually work together to create clear steps during product development so problems aren’t discovered down the line. These tests are classed as the Design Verification and Design Validation process, or V&V for short.
Whilst different companies use slightly different approaches, in general the steps are defined as: Engineering Verification/Validation Tests (EVT), Design Verification/Validation Tests (DVT) and Product Verification/Validation Tests (PVT). Both are done before full manufacturing begins, with Verification simply being classed as testing done on paper and validation being physical testing.
This introduction aims to outline the approach used by experts, so you are fully prepared to get your product off to a flying start!
Is it possible to build several different units that can function as expected?
This is the earliest stage in the product development cycle, allowing engineers to take on the most amount of feedback needed to modify the product. It’s usually concerned with making sure all the bugs are ironed out as best as possible by verifying all CAD drawings, schematics, gerbers, and BOM files. A lot of effort is put into the physical development of preliminary working design that can pass as many tests as possible, either physically or using computer aided simulation.
Is it possible to build a large number of units that can look and work the part?
This part of testing mostly deals with mechanical engineering (ME), the materials and design of product enclosures. We are close to the final stage of testing and we have make sure that the any problems are ironed out. For this, test batches of the product are made and any required modifications of tooling are conducted (known as Tooling 1, Tooling 2, etc.)
This stage is also the point where designers can use their design to obtain electrical and structural certificates such as CE and FCC (this can also be done in the EVT stage depending on conditions). Sometimes it can take up to 30-40 days to get through the certification process, so you need to plan it ahead in your schedule. In a perfect schedule, you should start mass production (MP) right after you receive the certifications.
Are we ready for mass production?
The final stage of testing is to manufacture the working design and is intended to only really create reports that are needed for mass production. All functions, including cosmetic appearance and user requirements should be finalised by this stage and PVT is only used for minor debugging.
All mechanical and electrical design documents should be ready and handed over to the factories for mold creation and electronics development.
PVT is also known as “product processing” stage. As we are getting the product ready for MP, you need to check that every production line station is ready to do the job correctly. Material preparation management is handled at this stage as well.
V&V plans are sometimes classed as internally focused testing, with an overview schedule provided to the creator team. However we like to encourage creators to get involved and use the testing as a way of exchanging detailed feedback. The outcomes can also be tricky and subjective, so Creator feedback is essential in making sure there are no misunderstandings.
A good testing plan will form a strong link between the requirements and the testing needed to get the product ready, so it’s a very important process.
A lot of benefit is obtained by simply creating the plan itself, so always try to get involved with the process. HWTrek HUB is a management tool designed specifically for hardware creation and can help you manage the documentation, communication with the team (especially if the team is global) and the factory, and keep everyone on the same page.
It forces designers and experts to discuss the development cycle and allows you to physically see any defects during development and the fixes needed to get it working.
Look at the verification and validation process as a chance to keep up with the schedules set by expert manufacturers.
Try to make sure that all modifications are finalized as early as possible, preferably during EVT or by the end of the DVT phase. During PVT there is no real reason to have any major modifications, so always check the schedule to see if any time is allocated. If it is given, at least make sure it is a small buffer in case of emergency work.
From experience, the heavier the involvement in the testing processes the smoother and quicker the final product becomes. So make sure to get involved!