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Manufacturing Overview

Developing an imp-enabled product is the first step toward putting it into volume production. You use the Electric Imp Connected Factory Process to prepare each newly assembled device for end-use

The Integrated IoT Production Process

Electric Imp‘s Connected Factory Process simply involves connecting each newly assembled device to the Internet in order to receive the code that tests the device and then binds it to the application that it will run in the field. The device is now ready for sale.

The Connected Factory Process is straightforward. You can even run it as-is in the lab to check it before you set up in the factory. It is highly suited to automation and to integration into an existing assembly line, whatever its size. All you need are one or more imp-based stations dedicated to supplying newly assembled devices with the token which identifies it to the Electric Imp impCloud™ and, if required, local WiFi access credentials (for example, Ethernet- or cellular-oriented devices may not require WiFi access in the factory).

Electric Imp Factory Process

Connected Configuration

Device registration in the factory uses BlinkUp™, Electric Imp’s patented optical data transmission process. The units performing the configuration are called BlinkUp Fixtures. They are themselves imp enabled, so they can take full advantage of all the device and agent capabilities that the Platform has to offer.

For example, a device under test (ie. a newly assembled unit on the line) can send its unique ID and MAC address to its agent, which relays the data to your server. It also tells the BlinkUp Fixture’s agent, which passes the data to the fixture itself. The fixture has been set up to drive a laser etching station that now writes the original device’s ID and MAC address onto the device’s casing.

Factory Code

The code that the BlinkUp Fixtures and DUTs run is called factory firmware. You develop factory firmware for each of these hardware types; it is delivered by deploying it to the appropiate Device Group types: Fixture and DUT, respectively. Electric Imp has complete off-the-shelf factory firmware for you to customize for your fixtures, product and factory flow.

Bless Is More

The final stage of the Connected Factory Process takes place when the DUT factory firmware blesses the newly assembled device. It is now formally a product and by default receives its application code so that it’s ready when an end-user powers it up. It will not run factory firmware again.

Where Next?

Expand your knowledge of the ideas covered in this overview with the following documentation.