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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
One way to keep a Formula One racing team moving at breakneck speed in the pit and at the test facility is to bring CAD drawings of the racing vehicle’s parts down to the test facility and even out to the track.
Most of us would just as soon step on a cockroach rather than study it, but that’s just what researchers at UC Berkeley did in the pursuit of building small, nimble robots suitable for disaster-recovery and search-and-rescue missions.
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