What is the Cost to Develop an Electronic Product?

13 May 2024

When people inquire about the expenses involved in creating an electronic product, the response is typically, “It depends.” Zeus Design has brought numerous electronic products to market in recent years, ranging from hardware hacking tools costing under $20,000 to advanced industrial equipment priced above $300,000. This demonstrates a substantial cost spectrum, with the majority of our projects falling between $20,000 and $120,000. This article aims to delve into how these costs are determined, starting with a primer on the stages of electronic product development.

Electronic Shoe Development

Cost of Product Design

The initial phase of developing an electronic product involves several critical steps, each contributing uniquely to the project’s overall feasibility and success. Here’s a deeper dive into the various stages:

Project Management ($2,000 – $20,000)

This stage is fundamental for orchestrating the development process and safeguarding the quality of outputs. Effective project management involves overseeing the project timeline, resources, and technical decisions, which is crucial for non-technical project leads. Experienced project managers not only facilitate technical decisions but also ensure that all team members are aligned with the project goals, from inception to final handoff.

System Design ($1,000 – $10,000)

System design lays the groundwork for product architecture, balancing factors such as cost, performance, and reliability. This stage involves conceptualising the high-level structure of the product and making strategic decisions about the integration of various subsystems, including software, mechanical parts, and electrical components. It’s a collaborative effort typically led by a senior engineer who maps out the essential pathways for turning concepts into viable product features.

Industrial Design ($0 – $20,000)

The focus here is on crafting products that are not only functional but also aesthetically pleasing. Industrial designers strive to create an appealing look that resonates with the target market, enhancing user interaction and satisfaction. This step is vital for consumer-facing products where the first impression can significantly impact market success.

Mechanical Design ($3,000 – $40,000)

Mechanical design translates industrial design inputs into detailed plans for manufacturing. It involves meticulous planning of the product’s physical components, including their dimensions, materials, and assembly requirements. Mechanical engineers use advanced CAD tools to simulate and test various design aspects before finalising the specifications for manufacturable parts.

Electronics Hardware Design ($4,000 – $50,000)

At the core of any electronic product is its circuit board, which needs to be carefully designed to integrate smoothly with both the mechanical casing and software functionalities. This process includes selecting appropriate electronic components, designing the circuit layout, and ensuring that all parts communicate effectively without interference.

Firmware Development ($4,000 – $100,000)

Firmware brings hardware to life, enabling the basic functions of the electronic product and allowing for more complex software interactions. Firmware engineers program the microcontrollers and processors to manage tasks like sensor readings, device behaviour, and energy consumption efficiently.

Web App Development ($0 – $50,000)

For products connected to the Internet of Things (IoT), web app development is often essential. This process involves the design and creation of web applications that run on web servers and are accessed through browsers. It’s a field that combines expertise in web development, graphic design, user experience design, and web security. Typically, this requires a full-stack software engineer or a collaborative effort between front-end and back-end engineers to ensure a robust and user-friendly application.

Mobile App Development ($0 – $100,000)

If your electronic product requires interaction via mobile devices, mobile app development becomes crucial. This involves crafting applications for smartphones and tablets and spans the entire process from design to deployment on platforms like iOS and Android. Achieving this usually requires the specialised skills of cross-platform app developers who can tailor your app to operate seamlessly across different mobile ecosystems.

Prototyping ($1,000 – $10,000)

The culmination of previous design efforts is the prototype, a working model used to evaluate the design’s practicality. This phase involves assembling the designed components into a fully operational unit, testing its functionality, and making necessary adjustments. It’s a critical step for identifying unforeseen challenges and ensuring the product can be manufactured at scale.

Cost of Product Industrialisation

Transitioning from a prototype to mass production involves meticulous planning and multiple phases of testing. This phase ensures that the prototype is not only functional but also scalable for mass production.

Validation Test ($2,000 – $20,000)

This includes a series of rigorous testing phases: Engineering Validation Test (EVT), Design Validation Test (DVT), and Production Validation Test (PVT) to refine the prototype and prepare it for the final product stage. Typically, EVT is conducted in-house, while DVT and PVT might be outsourced to a contract manufacturer.

Injection Moulding ($2,000 – $40,000)

This is a prevalent method for producing plastic parts at a large scale. It involves creating custom moulds to mass-produce the product’s enclosures economically and efficiently, transitioning from 3D-printed prototypes to something suitable for high-volume production.

Certification & Approval ($0 – $50,000)

Depending on your target market and the nature of the product, certain certifications and approvals may be required to legally sell your product. These might include standards such as FCC, UL, CE, RoHS, RCM, CCC, etc. Consulting with a certified testing laboratory can help determine the specific requirements for your product.

Product Package Design ($0 – $10,000)

The packaging of a product plays a significant role in differentiating it from competitors and attracting customers. Whether you hire a specialized packaging designer, collaborate with a box manufacturer, or consult with your industrial design team, creating an attractive and functional package is crucial for market success.

Conclusion

Each of these stages involves distinct skills and tools, making them integral to the successful development of an electronic product. These steps not only ensure that the product is functional and market-ready but also help in maintaining cost efficiency and operational feasibility throughout the project lifecycle.

If you’re considering developing an electronic product and need expert guidance through these complex stages, contact us at Zeus Design. We’re ready to help you turn your innovative ideas into successful market-ready products. Let’s discuss how we can support your project’s specific needs and bring your vision to life.

Michael Crapis

About The Author

Michael Crapis, with a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering (Honours) from UTS, is an expert in embedded electronics and mobile app development. He is the founder of Zeutek 3D Printing and Zeus Design, where he applies his passion for technology to innovate technological solutions. Michael’s leadership is defined by a commitment to creating technologies that enhance and simplify the needs of modern systems and products.

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