Flexible, even ‘free’ bespoke electronic design

DSL ProductionHere I discuss how DSL’s design flexibility arrangements can permit zero upfront costs with amortisation for low/medium quantities, even potentially completely free of NRE charge when coupled with up front commitment to quantity production units.

Historically even the word ‘custom’ struck fear in the wallet of the individual specifying an embedded computing platform. A plethora of engineers have been pushed down the off-the-shelf route by those holding the purse strings, over-zealously reacting purely to a long held perception about price involving anything ‘custom’.

The danger of perceptions is they are very hard to shake and you’ll still find those specifying hardware platforms already know their requirement is best served by an off-the-shelf (OTS) platform and approach meeting it entirely with that mindset – oblivious to the cornucopia of advantages deviating from ‘off the peg’ would offer, plus not even enquiring about pricing.

System-On-Modules (SoM) bridged that gap, offering a halfway house between a purely custom solution and a purely OTS platform. SoM’s permitted an OTS computing core, mass produced to bring pricing down, yet sitting on a ‘custom’ baseboard enabling the solution to hoover up all manner of the client’s proprietary IP, without the need to resort to secondary PCBs and/or messy cabling. For the purposes of this article, I hereby refer to any solution not entirely OTS as ‘custom’ – as the following applies equally to both approaches. The selection between, as always with DSL, is the route most suited to the job at hand.

We pride ourselves on having no preconceptions or favoured solutions; we approach each need with an open mind and a determined heart.

Many find the problem with the custom route is up front cost, by this I mean the cost outlay before a customer has even seen the product, let alone bought it, been shipped it, and been invoiced for it. You know your market wants it desperately, but don’t want to blow your entire development budget before you can recoup a penny.

Actually you’d probably also concede that the advantages a designed for purpose product offer are immense, you can include both required and desired functionality, it can be the exact shape/size you want, meet the precise environmental conditions you want, in fact it can be the perfect product – but the above still regrettably and restrictively applies, rendering it a no go – or is it.


DSL recognizes this dilemma engineers face, we’ve seen it repeated year after year, unfortunately for the client with far too many choosing the ‘wrong’ route, finding out when it’s too late that their product simply isn’t good enough in an ever competitive market. Yes they saved up front cost, but has it been worth it? – A resounding no!

For this reason DSL now offers a range of custom design flexibility options, designed to help those facing this dilemma from SME’s right up to multi-nationals, make the right choice – and in turn make their product more successful than they’d ever dare dream of.

Firstly, I should remind readers, DSL is not purely a design house. Our manufacturing management capabilities via rigorously approved partners have enabled us to satisfy production requirements in excess of 10,000 per annum. This doesn’t stop at manufacturing the PCB, we are able to assemble and test all products up to any point you desire, often fully assembling and sometimes delivering straight to the end user!

Of course this all sounds far easier than it is, undoubtedly issues such as obsolete components arise during the life-cycle of a product, and where DSL shines is its ability to seamless manage this, identifying, implementing and testing alternative parts without affecting production, a seamless endeavor, allowing many a Production Manager to sleep easy at night.

So convinced we are of both our design and manufacturing success, we have the confidence to enable us to be financially flexible between the two. For example…

For low volumes, based on commitment to an upfront production quantity, DSL is able to amortise all associated design costs over the initial production batch. This of course foregoes any budget heavy upfront payments before you begin receiving the revenue stream from your own sales of the product. For the second (and beyond) production run the unit price will drop substantially, really kick starting the take up of your product.

For larger companies able to commit to higher volumes, based on that production unit commitment, DSL is willing to absorb all associated design costs, effectively providing a fully custom design free of charge! Providing all the benefits of OTS but getting exactly what you want, how you want it and when you want it is revolutionary.

DSL’s pride in its relationships with its customers and its (of course vested) interest in the success of its valued client’s products mean we do all the hard work today, to let you reap the benefits tomorrow.

Speak to DSL’s Technical Sales team today to see what flexibility arrangements are accessible to your current project. You won’t find another design company offering such a radical approach, and it’s this innovation that has made DSL and its customers what they are, a success…