Designing a Superior Lineup of Computer Peripherals using Limited Suppliers
Comprehensive USB Type-C® Lineup Provides Perfect Solution for Every Application
The computer peripheral manufacturer, Company X - the subject of this case study, had decided to complement its product range with a new series of auxiliary devices aimed at the leading PCs on the market. When defining the development concept, the manufacturer agreed that all input/output ports should support the USB Type-C standard. However, the manufacturer envisaged that the process of selecting appropriate connectors would be challenging due to the need to satisfy demands from its marketing , design, manufacturing, quality control, and procurement divisions, within a short development timeframe.
Ensuring Compatibility with Latest Standards without Sacrificing Design
To satisfy the various demands, the product development team had to rush the specification definition process so they could make a start on selecting connectors as soon as possible. In the process of finalizing the specifications, the team decided that in addition to guaranteeing data transmission performance, there was also a need to better harmonize with the design of the target PCs, which led the designers to specify precise connector positions down to the nearest 10th of a millimeter. In regard to data transmission characteristics, the USB-C® ports needed to support the latest USB4™ standard and Thunderbolt™ 4 interface.
The product development division employee in charge of the project recalls the project’s early days:
“Many of those who use our products are particular about design and branding. On this project, the designers were more careful than usual because of the need to position connectors on the printed circuit boards inside the devices so that they satisfied height and depth requirements,” he says.
The manufacturing, quality control, and procurement divisions also demanded that a reputable component brand be used to ensure quality (in particular strength and ease of assembly) and reliability of supply.
To keep ahead of the competition, the selection of a connector vendor was a matter of urgency. While the employee had established that many vendors manufactured and sold USB-C connectors, finding a manufacturer whose components he could use with confidence for his team’s project was more difficult than he initially thought.