Engineering

Philosophy

Engineering excellence is the core strength of X-ES. Engineering is not a department within the company – the company is engineering. X-ES has a flat and lean organization structure with very low overhead. All of the managers continue to be actively involved in design and development activities.

To keep the company staffed with quality engineering talent, X-ES has a very successful, long-standing relationship with the University of Wisconsin-Madison College of Engineering. A mentoring program allows students to work part-time to gain practical experience, while allowing X-ES to evaluate engineers prior to making a commitment to hiring full-time.

Most of the engineers at X-ES have gone through the university co-op program or an internship. The ones with the right qualities are hired after their internship. Engineers at X-ES are self-motivated, adaptable, diverse, and willing and able to interact with customers and provide customer support. They have a desire to learn and are able to wear multiple hats.

Assembly Line Process

One of the key strengths of X-ES engineering is the commitment to re-use. At X-ES, this is referred to as the Assembly Line Process. X-ES has perfected hardware design re-use at the schematic and board layout level. A strongly adhered to rule of the Assembly Line Process is that engineers will not make design changes when moving a processor technology from one form factor to another. This allows X-ES to re-use large areas of a product design and only add or remove functionality based on the form factor (e.g., adding a VME interface on a VME form factor design).

Benefits to our customers include:

  • New processor technologies available on eight form factors:
  • Ability to create derivative products and full-custom products quickly
  • Higher quality hardware – lower chance of injecting new design flaws into the design
  • Higher quality software – lower chance of injecting new bugs into the software
  • Better and quicker software support – most of the BSP is identical between form factors
  • Streamlined manufacturing – fewer manufacturing defects, higher yields, and quicker delivery

Process & Methodology

When X-ES was formed, the founders understood the need for and benefits of engineering and manufacturing processes, as well as tools to support and automate the processes. At the onset, the company developed a set of processes and associated tools that have evolved to support the growth within engineering and manufacturing.

The engineering and manufacturing processes, tools, and capabilities within X-ES are very scalable which allow X-ES to stay focused on developing products and providing world-class support. Because of this scalability, X-ES has grown, and will continue to grow, without the growing pains that many other companies experience.

Engineering has a very structured, yet lightweight design process that has been rated “best-in-class” by the ISO auditing body. The engineering design process is gated by the following reviews:

  • The planning phase is gated by the Preliminary Design Review (PDR)
  • The implementation phase is gated by the Critical Design Review (CDR)
  • The verification phase is gated by the Release Review (RR)

Each review requires formal approval by the following individuals:

  • Project Manager
  • VP of Engineering
  • Director of Engineering
  • Quality Manager

The same process is followed for standard products, as well as derivative and custom designs.

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