Testing the Waters
When Schonstedt Instrument Company decided to introduce its GA-92XTd magnetic locator, it didn’t know if the radical mechanical design would be a big success or not. To minimize their development costs they repackaged an existing design for the electronics component. Shortly after its introduction, it was clear that Schonstedt had a hit on their hands, and so they turned their attention to the manufacturing cost of the unit. RMB was asked to redesign the electronics with the express intent of eliminating cost. By delegating this task to RMB, they freed up their own engineers for other tasks and could easily quantify the cost of the redesign project.
Passing the Test
The first step was to analyze the existing analog circuit using a combination of SPICE simulation and in-circuit testing. Once this was complete, the bulk of the analog circuitry was removed and replaced with a microcontroller. Final verification of the design involved a series of blind tests with experienced users of the device. Only once the testers were unable to differentiate between the original and new designs was the redesign complete.
Good Engineering Saves Money
The redesigned main board featured only 4 layers (down from 6), less than half the number of components, and a cost reduction of 40%. The cost of the redesign was recouped by Schonstedt within just 6 months.