High quality system design is important to ensure a cost effectiveness, proper operation and safety. Here are some of the keys to a high quality system design:
Technical Specifications allow all requirements, preferences and non-requirements to be determined with support from key stakeholders. Technical specifications can be written with support of experts or consultants in the industry. At times, when equipment will be provided by a sole provider, it can be advisable for that supplier to assist with preparation of the technical specification. Technical Specifications may not always be required, but are recommended when purchasing complex systems or software with custom or adjustable features.
Cable Block Diagrams
Cable Block Diagrams are the most important drawings in an electronic system. Physical components are shown on the cable block diagram with connections shown between them. Connections include the type of wiring used. Wireless connections can also be represented on cable block diagrams.
Connection Wiring Diagram
Connection wiring diagrams show detailed connection nomenclature to help the installers and maintainers see how the cables and wires are connected to the system. Equipment ports are labelled to match the nomenclature on the drawings.
Bill of Materials (BOM)
The BOM is often the most necessary document for the project once the design is approved, because the BOM allows the parts to be purchased. BOMs specify the requirement, quantity, description and unique internal item# (for nuclear designs) for each individual part. Unit of measure is also provided. For cables, quantities would be in a measure of meters or feet. For liquids (e.g. epoxy or paint), the unit of measure would be in volume (e.g. mL or L).
Physical Layout (Plan) Drawings
Physical Layouts, historically referred to as “plan” drawings show where the equipment is to be installed in the plant setting. Grid markers are often provided to align with those grid markings of the plans of the buildings or properties. For outdoor designs, GPS coordinates can also be provided to indicate the location, or multiple locations.
Parts Purchasability Review
Purchasability reviews are becoming increasingly important in a post-COVID world, where supply chain breakdowns can cause certain parts to be unavailable for months.
Also, part selection is where many amateur designers unknowingly demonstrate that they are indeed amateurs. Often enough, customers find out that the parts specified in a new design have been obsolete for years, and the designer copied a design done in prior years. We perform a parts purchasability review on all parts as part of the BOM process to ensure that our BOMs only contain parts that are currently purchasable. In fact, part purchasability is the 2nd most important attribute of a part (the first being that it meets the requirements).