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Development

By Kitron

Kitron had up to recently a large design/development department inhouse, but has made the strategic decision to outsource this part of the value chain. Kitron has established a network of highly qualified design/development partners in our local markets enabling us  to offer  the full scope of development services needed for our total customer portfolio.

Kitron focuses on industrialisation, test development and new product introduction while outsourcing pure design/development tasks to our  third  party development partners. The objective is to improve the complete offering to our customers by combining the strengths of Kitron with dedicated development environments.

Below are examples of expertise some of our partners offer.

Product development


Kitron and its partners have the expertise to take care of every step in the development process, from early concept design to volume manufacturing.

The expertise and services offered throughout the value chain gives Kitron and its partners a unique competitive advantage in product development. Manufacturability and testability are ensured through close collaboration between our product development, test development and new product introduction (NPI) departments. Kitron's sourcing department ensures the procurement of competitively priced materials of the appropriate quality and delivery capability, while the component technology department addresses issues relating to material lifetimes. At the same time our manufacturing facilities will ensure quality is maintained from initial production of prototypes through to volume manufacturing. 

Kitron's well-integrated value chain not only ensures profitability throughout the product lifetime, but also optimizes each project's execution timetable and keeps time-to-market to a minimum.

Industrial design


Our industrial designers and mechanical engineers work closely together to ensure a smooth transition from design concept to mechanical design implementation.

3D design tools allow the rapid production of concept sketches and visual presentation materials at an early stage of the development process.

To develop aesthetically pleasing and user-friendly products, our industrial designers focus on user requirements and product lifecycles.

Main areas of expertise include:

  • Usability studies and market analysis
  • Creative and innovative processes
  • Concept and design studies
  • Shape, color, texture and tactile sense
  • Visualization and physical modelling
  • Ergonomics and interaction design (MMI, GUI)
  • Manufacturability

Mechanical engineering


Our partners product design group is made up of talented and creative industrial designers and mechanical engineers. Interaction between designers and engineers has given the engineers a flair for design, while the designers have an unusual level of technical knowledge. Combined with the best 3D design tools on the market, this results in a seamless transition from concept to detail design, enabling us to produce excellent design concepts that can be quickly realized and put into commercial production.
 The product design group's close proximity to our volume production facilities has encouraged the development of particular skills in designing products that are cost-effective to produce and assemble. We also have broad experience of low volume production, which requires alternative production methods, materials and design solutions.

An integral part of our product development process involves the construction of prototypes. To achieve rapid prototyping and complex machining we use well known subcontractors, allowing us to select the best technology for the particular task at hand. We also have our own workshop, equipped for, among other things, plate fabrication, machining, welding and painting.

Main areas of expertise include:

  • Selection of appropriate materials and manufacturing technologies
  • Detail design of injection-moulded plastic components
  • Metal design
  • Advanced surface and solid modelling
  • Design for Manufacturing and Assembly
  • Design for harsh environments
  • FEM analysis
  • Prototyping

Electronics development


Our electronic design group is highly skilled in both hardware  and firmware development. Close cooperation between our designers and production facilities ensures both time-to-market and production costs are kept to a minimum.

Main areas of expertise:

Design for EMC and Manufacturability
Design of complex embedded systems (8/16/32-bit microcontrollers with peripherals). Authorized Atmel AVR consultant since 2007
High-speed communication based on differential signalling (SATA, LVDS).
Wireless communication (RFID, Bluetooth, ZigBee GSM / GPRS, GPS, and proprietary radio solutions for various ISM bands)
RF and antenna design and verification for frequencies up to 6GHz
Construction of battery-powered systems with stringent requirements for high efficiency power conversion and compact design.
Analogue design (amplifier and filter design)
We use OrCad CIS as a schematic design tool. Orcad is linked with Kitron's component library, enabling automatic generation of production documentation.We also provide services using other schematic capture tools

Embedded software

An embedded system may be designed to perform one or more tasks, often with real-time functionality. Since embedded systems are custom designed to perform specific tasks, optimization is possible with regard to size, production and cost. Power saving and communication are important considerations.

Kitron's partners have decades of experience in embedded software development and have developed firmware for a multitude of applications.

Knowledge of different processor types is necessary in order to make the right choices with regard to development, power saving and speed. If software is not fast enough, FPGAs are used to achieve the necessary performance. 

  • We have extensive experience with Atmel circuits, both 8-bit and 32-bit
  • We have customized operating systems for both Windows CE and Linux for various ARM cores
  • We are Microsoft embedded partners and use Windows CE and XP Embedded
  • We have extensive experience with the IAR environment and, since we also sell IAR licenses, excellent relations with IAR support


FPGA development


The FPGA group has extensive experience from a wide range of FPGA projects, ranging from the simplest CPLD to large SoC designs. All our team members  previously worked on ASIC development and have transferred this methodology and knowledge to FPGA. Manufacturers we have worked with include Actel, Altera, Lattice and Xilinx. In 2008, Kitron became an authorized 'Xilinx Alliance Partner'.
 
Our design services include:

  • Design based on your existing implementation or from ground up
  • Specification and documentation
  • VHDL coding based on a documented coding standard
  • VHDL simulation to catch and correct bugs before testing in HW
  • Implementation in the selected technology
  • System-level integration and verification

Project management


One of Kitron's partners was rated 5 out of 5 by DNV (Det Norske Veritas) when the product development department underwent recertification to ISO 9001:2000 in autumn 2008. According to DNV the department exhibited: 'overall a level of project management that is very rarely seen in a business'.
 
All product development projects are managed by a dedicated project manager and carried out in accordance with a quality system that focuses on design control - through risk analysis, design review and product verification - in order to ensure that products developed meet the agreed requirements and each project is completed in accordance with contractual stipulations.
 
This means that the customers have predictability with regard to quality, cost and the time taken to complete the project.

Product management

Kitron and its partners perform complete Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) for customers and for its own set of proprietary platforms.

PLM on behalf of the customer involves:

  • Development, industrialization and manufacturing
  • Service and repairs
  • Product upgrades
  • Complete redesign of products

 

Development of our own proprietary product platforms provides major benefits to our customers:

  • Reduced development costs, since projects only involve adaptation to customers' requirements
  • Reduced development time and faster time-to-market
  • Reduced risk through the use of tried and tested platform solutions

 
By allowing Kitron and its partners to take care of complete PLM, customers free up resources to focus on marketing, product ownership, core competencies and IPR.

Re-engineering

The close integration of Kitron's development partners and Kitron's manufacturing sites means we are well placed to perform successful product re-designs.

A typical Kitron initiative will draw on our well-integrated value chain and focus on improving margins and quality. This is achieved through the introduction of new, lower-cost components, improvements in production practices and reductions in waste through increased robustness. An extended product lifetime is ensured through a "Life Cycle Analysis", an upgrade to new technologies, improved features and increased functionality. 

By allowing Kitron to carry out re-engineering, customers free up internal resources to focus on new products.