Keeping up with the latest electronic components and manufacturing methods is a daunting experience for any design firm that specializes in electronic devices. Likewise, interacting daily with a variety of mechanical and electronic engineers, circuit board makers, fabrication houses, and box and board component assembly companies can be intense. One electronics design firm, Tri-Tec Design, Inc. (www.tritecdesign.com), has assisted these many related companies for 32 years, a task that has always required a heavy dose of perseverance and precision.
“We do a lot of aviation work for the military, airplanes and helicopters, but also have a client for ships and another for vehicles,” according to Michael Burke, vice president at the Little Falls, N.J., company. “And we have a client that we design electronic components for [that are used in] helicopter rescue winches. But we also handle high-tech design work for gyroscopes for satellites, so we’ve also done some aerospace work. And we’re also working on some connector units that are going up into space,” he added. “We handle medical, commercial, and military design work these days for power supplies, RF devices, high-speed digital, and analog types of circuit boards.”
Burke says that his company is basically the center of the electronics design hub, where all of the company’s design work must allow electronics equipment to fit perfectly into its enclosure. This exacting, precision work takes them into the mechanical and electronic worlds of fabrication, assembly, and box building. “I think the new face of manufacturing has a lot to do with the way we communicate,” says Burke. “The biggest change I’ve seen is going from a paper design environment to where we’re now exchanging data from digital design tools that goes directly to CNC production machines. It’s also the same for pick-and-place machines for assembly. It’s all digital data now.”
One application that the design firm was challenged to handle was a military aircraft electronic propulsion device mounted to a wing for releasing ordnance. The company’s designers had to deal with a variety of challenges, such as altitude changes, vibration situations, and the mechanism’s size and weight.
“We had to deal with flight rules for electronics, EMI filtering, ease of assembly, and price,” Burke remembers. “We had to be able to get many different electronic circuit technologies involved in the package, such as power supply circuitry, high-speed digital circuitry, motor control circuitry, EMI filtering circuitry, RF circuitry, and working with a mechanical engineer to keep weight down,” he added. “We followed the design guidelines, and, working along with their engineering people and Tri-Tec designers, we were able to complete all of the requirements.”
Although quite a few of Tri-Tec’s customers are from the military, the design firm still has a good mix of other industries and applications from commercial, medical, and industrial companies. With three large defense contractors in its immediate area, however, the company has found military work to be plentiful.