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Help suppliers help you by posting complete project details to Industrial Interface

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The first time engineers post a design project to Industrial Interface,  they usually don’t write a book about their application.  We get it.  First time on some weird website… why would you waste your time filling out a long form?  When we see these vague projects we reach out to get the details and welcome you to the community.  It’s during that conversation that you really open up. You tell us all about your application, what you’re trying to do, what the big project is, problems you are having, things you’ve tried, etc.

This is the same conversation you have with a new supplier on the phone, we’re just making it more efficient through our website. So take a minute to read through all the sections below and learn how you can best complete a project posting to get the maximum value out of your time, and hopefully, find the exact supplier of the exact solution you are looking for.  Each section below corresponds to a form field on our site when you post your sourcing need.  I’ve included some real examples from our users in some sections that should help you out.  First, I’ll let you see a great example of a complete project.

Descriptive Title

Type a few words (no more than one sentence) that clearly states what you are looking for or what you are trying to do.  Suppliers are just as busy as you are and they need a high level picture of what your application is from this one line.  Use important keywords and action terms.  Here are some great examples of descriptive titles.

1) PCB Fabrication for small prototype runs
2) Miniature ultrasonic oven / heater
3) Adhesive to bond nylon 66 to PVC

Design Problem or Sourcing Need

What is your application and how are you trying to solve it?  Sometimes you’ll be able to clearly articulate what you are looking for, like in the project above (Adhesive to bond nylon 66 to PVC) but other times, you may only know what you are trying to accomplish, and you won’t have a specific solution yet.  Be clear about this and don’t guess.

If you know you need to seal electronic components from corrosive plant conditions, but don’t know what the best method is, then describe the size of your control box, the materials, the closing mechanism, how the box seals, the temperatures it will see and the corrosive agents involved.  Suppliers have helped solve dozens of problems just like this one and will be able to quickly tell you what you need.

This is the meat of your posting.  Be as detailed as you can and explain every detail no matter how mundane you think it is.  All of this information helps suppliers understand your application and find the right product from their inventory.  If you are vague, you may miss out on a solution that you will never find on your own, and you’ll end up talking to a bunch of suppliers who don’t sell what you need.  Remember, posting your project in detail helps eliminate suppliers who aren’t relevant to your project, and saves everyone a lot of time.

Here is a great example from the project titled “Miniature ultrasonic oven / heater,” in the screenshot above:

I am looking for an “oven” or “heater” that can heat equivalently to 150C-200C. Similar to the product described on www.soniwave.com, however I need one where the oven is very small, approx. 1cm x 1cm x 1cm, which should mean that the ultrasonic delivery mechanism is small. This may need a custom engineered solution. Oven will be powered via external power supply. There is some flexibility in terms of size. I would prefer a COTS solution, but can not find anything this small.

Required Specifications

This section allows you to list technical details about your application that a supplier or product must meet to be acceptable and useful for your design. If the parts you are trying to glue together will see temperatures of 350 degrees C, then you need the adhesive to hold up to those temperatures.  Put that information here.  See another example below from the same heater project.

-Heating target material 150C-200C (oven is small 1cm x 1cm x 1cm)
-Temperature shall be controllable
-Overall unit size must be small, approximately hand-size

Ideal Specifications

Here you can list details that you would really like to have, but that aren’t absolutely necessary.  If you’d like the adhesive above to still hold at 500 degrees C, put that here, but make sure to list the absolute minimum requirement (350C) under Required Specifications.

Required Volumes

This section gives a supplier an idea of how big your application is. Make sure to list both the current volumes you are looking to purchase right away, as well as the eventual volumes you might see in a production run. This helps suppliers of the right size find applications that are good fit for their capabilities. (eg. 100 for prototype, 1000/day in production) Some suppliers might have a great part at a great price for prototyping, but won’t be able to meet your production needs.

Project Stage

Select Research & Design if you are simply planning.  Select Prototype if you are looking for low quantities for test runs. Select Manufacture if you have reached the final stage of your design and need your full volume of parts. Selecting this stage properly helps suppliers know whether you want direction and insight into your application or simply need quotes on parts for production.

Solution Needed By

When do you absolutely need this solution by?  Remember that most applications will take a minimum of a few weeks to work out even with the most responsive and knowledgable suppliers.

Delivery Outside U.S.

Select Yes only if the products or services you are looking for need to be sent outside the US.  Some suppliers may sell exactly what you need, but may not have the proper licences or infrastructure to send your parts where you need them.  Let them know before they waste everyone’s time contacting you about an application they ultimately can’t help with.

Required Supplier Certifications

If you need your supplier to meet any specific criteria like ISO9001, list those criteria here.  This helps eliminate suppliers who sell what you need but don’t meet your company’s requirements.

Known Solutions or Alternatives

What parts or solutions have you already investigated that work? Why are you trying to replace them? These details can save time by eliminating duplicate suppliers. This also gives suppliers a good sense of what you are not trying to do for this specific design application.  If you have a solution from another supplier that just isn’t right, list that part or information and supplier name. Lots of suppliers know their competitors product lines and know the exact substitute for what you are trying to do.

Stuff You’ve Tried That Doesn’t Work

If you’ve already tried things that don’t work, you don’t want a supplier contacting you with the same broken solution.  List everything here that you’ve tried.  Be specific about what it was, how you implemented it, and why it didn’t work.

Attach Files

Here is your chance to provide a visual aid to augment all your explanations above.  Whenever possible, attach pictures and drawings of your application.  Date sheets, notes, pdfs, powerpoints, and sketches are all great additions to make your project complete for anyone reviewing it.

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Category: Online Resources, Technical Search, Tips and Tutorials for our Users

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