Custom Development Projects
Piezo.com has a large number of standard products, and a product builder which allows for custom configuration of a 1 or 2 layer piezo assembly. But our strength and passion lie with working with you to design a custom solution for your application. This article explains both the capabilities we offer and process for initiating a custom design and production effort.
In this Article
Rob Carter and our team of engineers have over 100 years of experience designing piezoelectric systems. As part of the Mide family, we have a firm understanding of many engineering applications and teams. We love working with our customers to find new and exciting ways to apply piezoelectric technology to solve engineering problems!
Our design capabilities regarding piezos include the following:
- Performance estimates
- Commentaries on design
- Tolerance analysis
- Piezo forensics
- "Weak Link" identification
- Power consumption estimates
- Finite Element Modeling
But many projects require not only a thorough piezo component design, but also a finished system design. This includes mechanical fixtures and enclosures, electronics design, as well as firmware and software support. These efforts can range in complexity from single day to 6+ month projects. But no matter the complexity, we pride ourselves in our ability to work hand-in-hand with our customer to ensure the highest opportunity for a successful transition into a finished product.
To this end, these projects are most successful when customers have a firm understanding of the specifications needed which ideally include:
- Motion requirement (for actuators) or voltage requirement (for sensors)
- Force requirement (for actuators) or current requirement ( for sensors)
- Response time
- Operating frequency range
- Space available for actuator
- Voltage available
- Operating temperature range
At Piezo.com we have two primary production processes for piezo assemblies as a result of the merging of Piezo Systems and Mide in 2017.
- Bonding & Dicing - Ideal for prototyping, this process is utilized in the piezo product builder to bond piezo layers and then dice to size.
- Sealing / Lamination - The lamination process seals piezo ceramics within layers of flex circuits to provide electrical connection, mechanical mounting features, and hermetically sealing the ceramic from the environment.
Both of these processes result in a once brittle piezo ceramic being incredibly robust and ease the assembly process. Our experience allows the elimination of potential design flaws which plague those unfamiliar with piezoceramic technology, especially in the areas of lamination bonding, flexure design, ceramic stress and fatigue criteria, thermal stability, and mounting.
In addition to making the piezoelectric component, our production capabilities extend into machining mechanical mounting components, assembling finished systems, wiring, potting, and electronics assembly. We want to not just deliver you a piezo, but instead, design, produce and deliver fully assembled piezo-based systems.
Our production team and capabilities support a capacity of tens of thousands units annually.
If cost is a significant concern, we have a wide range of standard products for under $250 and offer a custom product builder that allows customization orders for less than $1,000. We strongly recommend that you consider first evaluating a standard product and/or using the custom product builder.
For more complex customization designs and prototyping beyond the product builder, please be advised that these projects have a minimum of $2,000. There are several tiers of projects:
- $2,000 to $5,000 - A custom piezo component production that does not require lamination, but still needs shapes and configurations outside of the simpler piezo product builder (curved shapes, mounting fixtures, etc.).
- $5,000 to $10,000 - Custom piezo component production utilizing the lamination and sealing process. The higher costs are required for the more complex design needs by our engineers and minimum quantities of our suppliers.
- $10,000 to $50,000 - Projects that require extensive design, modeling, and analysis to meet the performance needs of the customer in a typically harsh environment.
Typically these projects are broken down into the following phases. Not every project needs all these phases, however. Sometimes a customer may have a design they already know they need and we can skip ahead to prototyping. And other opportunities don't require an initial production phase, the prototype
- Analysis & Design Phase: Communication of specifications, analysis, & optimized design of the piezo-based system. Piezo.com performs a detailed design that meets the performance specifications of the user. This will also typically encompass finite element analysis to model and predict behavior before proceeding to the production of prototypes.
- Prototype Phase: Samples are built to validate models and analysis. These samples will tend to be at a lower quantity than the initial production run and may not have all design elements in place such as packaging/lamination, mechanical mounting accessories etc.
- Initial Production Phase: Production samples are delivered for exhaustive testing. These samples differ to the prototypes in that they represent the full system design expectation but will need the customer to evaluate in their end application.
We understand that the typical engineer expects to fully understand the costs of a project before proceeding. This is why we quote a fixed price with payments at each milestone discussed above. In order to prioritize our full attention to your project and allocate appropriate resources, we require pre-payment at each milestone before proceeding. This payment can be in the form of an invoice and net 30 payment terms after approving credit.
At the completion of the full project, we will also include with delivery a detailed volume quote for making the system in production if/when the design transitions. This ultimately is both our goal and that of our customers, to deliver and utilize piezoelectric systems in a fully vetted and fielded product.