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Treetop Circuits

Design Services

Besides designing our own products, we undertake custom design. Our expertise is in analog and mixed-signal design, prototyping, and small production runs.

Design projects inevitably involve technological, financial, scheduling, and management challenges. Our approach, based on experience with large and small organizations, is to work with the client at each stage of the process so that these challenges are properly understood and risks are controlled.

Before undertaking a project, we must have a clear understanding of the requirements that the end product must meet. We must then assess the technical feasibility and probable cost, and reach an agreement with the customer before proceeding. There is no fee or obligation for initial assessment.

If we believe that significant work is required to establish feasibility, we will ask that the client authorize a design study at our usual rates. This will normally result in a design proposal, with estimates of design costs, production costs, and schedule. If we conclude that the project is not feasible, or that technological, financial, or other risks are too high, we will advise the client. In either event, all results of this work are the property of the client, and there is no further obligation beyond payment of the agreed-upon fees.

The next stage is normally the completion of a producible design and completion of one or more prototypes for testing by the client. Depending on requirements, these may be used for field testing, environmental tests, EMI/RFI testing as required by regulatory authorities, and so on. In general, we do not perform these tests, but can work with government or private labs to expedite this process.

Ideally, the product would be ready for introduction at this stage, but complete success is, in fact, extremely rare. Some redesign and retesting is nearly always required, and it is important that the client understand this at the outset. Involving the production team at this point, or even earlier, can help identify issues and reduce overall time and cost.

Once all performance requirements have been met, the next step is to bring the product to production, either in the client's facility or that of a third party. Because we design with volume production in mind from the outset, there is no prolonged redesign for production. Tolerance analysis has been performed, adequate design margins are already included, and component suppliers have been identified. The major tasks are to finalize documentation and generate factory test procedures, and to review the design with production and factory test personnel.

Minor changes may still be needed to optimize production efficiency, but this will not normally involve significant cost or delay.

The results of all analytical and experimental work paid for by the client belong to the client. If anything in the design appears patentable, we will so advise the client. We will work with the client's patent attorney, and will assign any resulting patents to the client.