John Deere Electronic Solutions is an extremely technologically focused company, always seeking new ways to improve our processes and products. These ongoing efforts yield dramatic results in terms of new product advancements and capabilities, as well as process improvements that result in increased design and production efficiencies that result in lower costs to our customers.
John Deere Electronic Solutions R&D efforts are focused on emerging technologies involving embedded-systems, vehicle communications networks, material science, vehicle electrification, and intelligent systems. We are also achieving breakthrough developments in the product areas of displays, controls, sensors, components, and power electronics.
John Deere Electronic Solutions has a team of engineers dedicated to improving product reliability through fundamental manufacturing research. Reliability improvements can be driven through process or component research. Engineers focus on developing or implementing new technologies and materials in our production process, such as lead-free production. We thoroughly analyzed how our production processes needed to change to implement lead-free solder and components, and the required advancements we made to ensure comparable or increased reliability.
John Deere Electronic Solutions engineers meet with the customer to create a Product Requirements Document (PRD) that enables us to understand their systems, and to develop the most efficient way to meet their requirements. This formal document identifies the initial parameters that will dictate how we approach design and development. Then, we complete additional design components as outlined in the tabs below.
Product Requirements Document
User-Level, Functional, and Non-Functional Requirements
John Deere Electronic Solutions design engineers complete an electronic design analysis to establish how we will create a circuit topology, define the component values to be used, and determine the range of performance expected. This guarantees a thorough circuit design and validates that components are compatible. It also enables us to conduct simulations and sub-circuit verifications to ensure the electronics will perform as expected, identifying and limiting potential problems prior to prototype development.
The engineering team creates schematics that tie all the validated sub-circuits together. Each design undergoes several reviews, analyses and verifications from groups of engineers representing multiple competencies, including up-front interaction with our design validation testing group. This integration of teams identifies potential problems, and feedback results in constantly improving design advancements.
Core Tools Include:
PCB designers work with electronic design engineers to establish placement of parts, critical trace sizes for current, and any modifications that might need to be made to enhance the board manufacturing process. Mechanical engineers collaborate with the PCB engineers concerning panelization and building processes.
The mechanical design department at John Deere Electronic Solutions is particularly adept at designing housings and enclosures that protect the PCB assemblies and electronic components from the extreme temperatures, shock and vibration under which they are required to operate. Mechanical design is a cross-functional effort to ensure designs meet all functional requirements and any required vehicle, user and harnessing interfaces. All parts and assemblies are created and virtually verified using PTC Creo CAD software.
Designs are subjected to material selection, thermal, vibration and tolerance analyses to meet product requirements. Mechanical design has extensive experience in selecting and verifying materials and has significant material analysis capabilities available. Thermal analysis is conducted with the Fluent IcePak CFD analysis package at the component, PCBA and system levels. ANSYS finite element analysis tools are used to virtually simulate vibration, deflection and structural stresses on both the PCBA and complete assembly. Tolerance analyses utilizing worst case and statistical methods are employed to verify a proper fit and appropriate clearances. Finally, designs are documented and verified to meet any industry standards required including, but not limited to:
John Deere Electronic Solutions implements an integrated approach to product design and development, with clear evidence shown in the interaction of our PCB and mechanical design teams. PCB design is the integration of the mechanical and electronic disciplines. Utilizing design tools that are integrated electronically, the mechanical engineers design the outside enclosures of the structures using the PCB design team layouts. And the PCB designers use computer models created by the mechanical engineers to design the circuit boards. In addition, both teams work closely with on-site manufacturing engineers, process engineers, and manufacturing test engineers. This collaboration ensures an efficient, reliable design that can be cost-effectively manufactured on the equipment we have available. Once the PCB is designed, validated, and tested, design information is downloaded directly into the manufacturing equipment, which saves time, money, and reduces the chances for error.
It is also at this stage of design that our teams meet with our mechanical custom parts and component suppliers to ensure viability and availability of the quality parts we need to proceed with manufacturing the PCB. Once designs are finalized, they are subject to an intensive cross-functional design review before initiating the prototype build.
Our software engineers design for quality using proven, ruggedized processes and applying Statistical Quality Techniques to identify and remove defects earlier in the software lifecycle. We have experience in developing product software for integrated or distributed systems, and use automated tools such as Software verification and Hardware in the Loop Simulations to ensure that our software functions efficiently, while seamlessly integrating into your existing systems. Code is written in C, and we are proficient with numerous operating systems, including RTXC, Nucleus and JD/OS; Standard OSEK; and Advanced WinCE, VxWorks and Embedded Linux.
A key component of John Deere Electronic Solutions ruggedized design is our dedication to Design For Manufacturability (DFM). Key design criteria are captured in a lessons learned database and design notes. Throughout the Product Delivery Process, engineering works closely with manufacturing, requiring phase gate reviews and process reviews to provide the best design for manufacturability and lowest cost solution for our customers. Having the process and manufacturing engineers involved in the product development process at John Deere Electronic Solutions enables a more efficient transition from product development to production.
After prototypes are built, they are subjected to an extensive Complete Verification Plan to verify circuit assumptions and ensure the design meets the designated requirements in the Product Requirements Document. Tests are customized to the specific project, and include a Bench Test and Electrical and Environmental Test, which are conducted by our Product Test Department.
Once prototypes have passed verification, they are provided to the customer for validation testing on the vehicle to confirm end-user performance. Once validation testing is confirmed as successful, the customer gives approval and production begins.
At John Deere Electronic Solutions, our processes are highly automated to manage costs for our customers and for consistent operation with the highest reliability.
n keeping with our philosophy of being a complete electronics supplier, we offer both batch and continuous-flow capabilities to support high- and low-volume production. We support through-hole and surface-mount designs, and have a full range of test and burn-in capabilities at both PCB and final assembly levels.
John Deere Electronic Solutions continually works to improve the efficiency of its processes. Our continuous improvement activities are the keystone of our manufacturing quality program. Daily, continuous improvement teams work with the operators on the floor to drive increases in our productivity, safety, quality, and delivery metrics.
Eliminating Waste, Increasing Profitability
John Deere Electronic Solutions strives for further efficiency and process improvements throughout the company by embracing a "lean manufacturing" philosophy that promotes better production controls to eliminate waste and increase profitability. Our manufacturing organization is a very metric-driven organization. We have manufacturing floor systems designed to monitor and track quality, so early detection of potential quality issues is an important part of the process. We have systems in place to monitor product yields and trends on the manufacturing equipment, tying it all together so that we know we are building a quality product every day based on the product monitoring metrics that we've developed.
We also offer a range of services designed to meet our customers’ needs at every level. These include:
Our testing processes begin with the design & development phase. Components and circuits are tested and retested at every step until the successful prototypes are built, tested, and validated.
In addition, the product test group at John Deere Electronic Solutions can provide comprehensive testing for numerous industry standards for products ranging from circuit boards to complete electrical systems.
Proper testing is essential to ensure that products will perform in extreme environments. Because of this, John Deere Electronic Solutions Test Labs is accredited by the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA) to perform testing in compliance with ISO/17025. We realize the importance of maintaining quality throughout all of our processes.
To gain accreditation, A2LA assessors rigorously verify the technical competence of our people, equipment, and methods based on ISO/IEC 17025. These are some of the industry's most thorough and stringent on-site assessments. Then, we are fully reassessed on a regular basis to make sure our capabilities continue to meet world-class standards.
A2LA accreditation also insures acceptance of test and calibration data through mutual recognition agreements with multiple international governing bodies including the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC), Asia Pacific Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (APLAC), European cooperation for Accreditation (EA), and the Inter-American Accreditation Cooperation (IAA C).
John Deere Electronic Solutions Test Lab customers create test plans, access test reports, and review current test progress.