Donald Labriola P.E.
Design reviews vary greatly by industry and regulatory requirements. We typically define them as Guidelines rather than Procedures, as this allows flexibility in their execution — both to skip over non-relevant sections and to dig deeper for those areas that go beyond the typical design and require closer examination. Having them as a “Procedure” can interfere with both of these variations. Our designs are mostly electro-mechanical- and motion control-oriented, so some of our checkoff list may not be needed in your application, while other whole areas may be required for your design reviews!
Here are what we cover in our typical design reviews. Some are trivial — did the title block get updated on all the sheets after a revision? Some are housekeeping — make sure the parts lists and fab drawings are updated from the final pass. Others pass on tribal wisdom, like asymmetric mounting of boards (see 4.5 below). Try to gain as much advantage when you do design reviews; they can result in greatly improved designs and can cut multiple iterations out of the process!
Mechanical enclosure design
Standard mechanical materials & machined parts
Donald Labriola P.E. is president at QuickSilver Controls, Inc. He has been working with step motors since high school, and has had these motors operating fieldoriented closed loop control since 1984.
Use both informal and formal design reviews. Early informal design reviews can set the tone early and save much work by helping with the philosophy and practicality. Formal reviews are needed to document and are another stage to eliminate issues before they surface in the field. If you find issues that slip through or were caught by careful attention in a design review, add them to the checklist you are using, i.e. — keep improving!
Know what the requirements are — even if you are specifying them yourself. Document these early; it is much faster to document as you are making these decisions than trying to reverse-engineer what you did! Make sure these created requirements are reviewed with the customer early in the design.
I would love to hear your suggestions for both electromechanical design and other areas of design!