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Interface Masters Embedded System Design Process: End-to-End Solutions for OEMs

Interface Masters Embedded System Design Process: End-to-End Solutions for OEMs

At Interface Masters, we design, engineer and manufacture embedded systems and sophisticated embedded network hardware appliances for top-tier companies as well as for our own brand. Across a diverse range of CPUs (x86, ARM, MIPs and PowerPC) and applications, our teams undergo a rigorous end-to-end development process that covers a product’s lifecycle from conceptualization to fulfillment. In this article, we take a closer look at this process.. 

Turnkey Development Process

We understand that every company is different, with divergent needs and specific requirements for the products that they look to develop with us. Our extensive experience with a diverse range of customers with exacting requirements have allowed us to hone a development process that is turnkey yet flexible when project requirements demand unique approaches. In the following sections, we describe our general process that we follow on the majority of our projects though we are ready to pivot to account for the specific needs and nuances for each of our partners. 

Concept creation and architecture definition

Our process begins with the all-important conceptualization stage where we partner closely with our clients to take their ideas and concepts and put an architectural framework and definition to the product. We listen closely to our partners to ensure their needs, wants and requirements are translated into the timely design of their product. If our clients come to us with a blank sheet, we propose design and architectural directions after close consultation and consideration based on the desired end functionality of the product. Through a thorough analysis of requirements, we are able to construct a framework and architecture of what the system should be. We keep up to date with all advanced technologies (Processors, FPGAs, Switch Fabrics, Memory, Storage and Power Components), and we will typically prepare/provide a block diagram architecture, then confirm that our proposed architecture meets the performance and certification objectives.

Project management: formal project plans/design reviews and risk registration 

Once the conceptual framework and the direction that the design and development will take are agreed upon, our product managers develop a detailed project plan including architectural definition, front and rear panel aesthetic definitions, a complete project schedule (starting with the architectural definition and ending with certification closure), and risk registration.

Hardware specification creation 

Our hardware specifications define every major design aspect including block diagram, major components, power sequencing, management interface, LED control, CPLD interface, master serial management interfaces, fan controls,  temperature monitoring, mechanical design, mechanical features certifications and software.

Schematic generation and creation of change-controlled BOM

Layout is tightly synchronized between our hardware, layout, mechanical and simulation engineers. This allows us to quickly optimize signal integrity, power integrity and ensure that the design is optimized for assembly.   


Thermal Analysis Simulation

Thermal Simulation
Air Velocity Simulation.
IR Drop Analysis
DDR Time Domain
Eye Diagram

Mechanical Design, Thermal Validations & Layout 

Mechanical design is closely integrated with thermal validations. Thermal simulations are conducted using ANSYS advanced simulations software and determine thermal risk and identify optimizations if needed. Our model accuracy is industry leading, with greater than 98% accuracy.

Signal and power integrity validations are typically conducted using ANSYS HFSS, ANSYS Nexxim, and Sigrity Power SI, Sigrity PowerDC and Optimize PI.  

Packaging design (ISTA-3A) 

With our proximity to the design and manufacturing process, we have the ability to design the packaging that is optimized for the product both from form and function POVs, taking care to translate your company’s DNA into the design. We aim to optimize the packaging design in order for you to maximize costs, eliminate shipping related damage, and efficiency as part of fulfillment. 

Design verification and prototype unit delivery 

Our design verification process validates all aspects of the design including, device setup, programming method for all programmable components, validation of voltage rails, clocks, power sequencing, temperature sensors, USB, JTAG, I2C, clock distribution, CPU,  clock validation, power sequencing, all buttons, EEPROM, BMC, BIOS, NVMe, fan controller, temperature sensors, fail safe functions, power consumption, circuit breakers,EYE diagrams, and thermal review.

Compliance management 

Interface Masters supports a full range of compliance, as required by customers.

World-class design fulfillment using production 'travelers' and automated testing. 

Interface Masters documents each step of the assembly test process including unit handling instructions, device assembly, screw torque settings, semi-automated testing (bring up, burn in, configuration), packaging, shipment and label placement.

We welcome the opportunity to work with you to design a customized solution that are specific to your requirements, no matter how big or small. Please contact us for a free consultation and let's talk about your project.