Life ain't always easy for today’s design engineers. Pressured by the ever-shorter cycle turnarounds for new products, engineers who once had months of multiple attempts to get a design right are finding their window for test opportunities squeezed. But that doesn’t mean they can simply cut corners.
That’s why it was interesting to sit down with Littelfuse’s Thane Parker recently to get his take as a salesman on how his firm tries to help engineers overcome those tight product deadlines without risking faulty designs, or electronics that go "bang."
Parker, sales director for the North America region, said it was vital to most of Littelfuse’s clients to get answers at a lightning quick pace, which is what inspired the fuse maker’s whole Speed2Design campaign.
Parker said he often encouraged clients to tell him about their designs, their needs, and their regulatory requirements so that Littelfuse could figure out all the options available -- fast.
The best part of the job, Parker told us, was “being able to take those challenges that you think, ‘Oh, jeez, this design engineer is crazy, there’s no way we can meet that requirement,’ and then watching our team succeed and excel in exceeding that customer’s expectations.”
Check out more of our interview with Thane Parker below.
Littlefuse closed their massive manufacturing facility in Mount Prospect, Il. and moved to China, so executives could continue to maintain enormous salaries. Now they are squeezing the remaining design engineers before all their work goes to China as well.
There was a post last week about a poorly chosen fuse type or value. Some of the posters had mentioned that correctly specifying a protection device can be a little difficult. Having a vendor for a partner will certainly make the selection easier and this is an excellent follow-up story to the previous posts.
Parker is right: Compressed design times are making life more difficult for all design engineers and that shows up in in areas like circuit protection, which end up being thought of as an afterthought.
Part of the trend you highlight is the importance of a vendor as a partner. This type of value add is both useful and necessary in the high speed world of design outlined in the article. When I have been involved as a field engineer in the past I found that briefing customers on new features was a great way to get new ideas. Often, while working with customers in these situations, and hearing their challenges, we were able to come up with ways to use features and functions that were not necessarily envisioned by the developers of the product, but which were valuable to the customer.
During a teardown of the iPad Air and Microsoft Surface Pro 3 at the Medical Design & Manufacturing Show in Schaumburg, Ill., an engineer showed this "inflammatory" video about the dangers of maliciously mishandling lithium-ion batteries.
Science fiction author Isaac Asimov may have the best rules for effective brainstorming and creativity. His never-before-published essay, "On Creativity," recently made it to the Web pages of MIT Technology Review.
Much has been made over the potentially dangerous flammability of lithium-ion batteries after major companies like Boeing, Sony, and Tesla have grappled with well-publicized battery fires. Researchers at Stanford University may have come up with a solution to this problem with a smart sensor for lithium-ion batteries that provides a warning if the battery is about to overheat or catch fire.
In this new Design News feature, "How it Works," we’re starting off by examining the inner workings of the electronic cigarette. While e-cigarettes seemed like a gimmick just two or three years ago, they’re catching fire -- so to speak. Sales topped $1 billion last year and are set to hit $10 billion by 2017. Cigarette companies are fighting back by buying up e-cigarette manufacturers.
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