Research and Development - CBM of America, LLC

Research & Development

CBM of America's Research and Development laboratory designs, prototypes, manufactures and supports products to serve the needs of telecommunications providers. Combining the disciplines of electrical, mechanical, and software engineering, this team has developed terminal servers, patch panels, protocol converters, adapters, cables, mounting hardware, cooling solutions and more, with the flexibility to take on projects ranging from one-off prototypes to productions runs in the tens of thousands. With decades of experience facing the unique challenges of regulatory compliance (NEBS, FCC electromagnetic compatibility, UL safety, etc.) in the telecommunications industry, CBM R&D delivers products with a proven record of success operating in the central office and data center environments.

The following case study explores the R&D process step-by-step for a typical product.

ADP-CIS-AI-MRV-DB25 Case Study

CBM's ADP-CIS-AI-MRV-DB25 is an adapter designed to carry serial RS-232 traffic from DB-25 to RJ-45 ports, with one of three switchable pinouts as needed to support Cisco, AI, and MRV equipment.

As with many of the products designed by our R&D team, development of this adapter was motivated by the needs of one of our clients, who came to us with a special request. We start by asking questions and collecting information; this might require site visits, for instance to central offices or data centers, to take measurements or test prototypes.

In-process view of PCB layout

Schematic Design

After confirming the schematic with our customer we designed a printed circuit board to carry the connectors and switch. Minimizing the width of the adapter was very important in this case as this product is intended to be used with one of CBM's other products, a patch panel that fits 16 DB-25s into a one rack unit, 19 inch faceplate. For that reason it was necessary to leave the DB-25 connector overhanging the PCB edges slightly.

Enclosure Design

For this design a plastic injection-molded enclosure is most suitable. Using CAD software, CBM R&D designed a two-part ABS plastic case secured with fasteners and using snap-fits to attach the PCB. The snap-fit design was confirmed with finite-element analysis to ensure it would survive assembly and provide the right retention force.

Exploded view of CAD model with PCB and enclosure halves
A series of renders of an earlier version of the adapter

Model Rendering

With the complete assembly modeled in 3D, we generated a set of photorealistic renders to communicate our design to the customer.

Machined Enclosure

To confirm function and fit and to house the first prototypes of the completed adapter we ordered a set of enclosures machined from solid ABS plastic. Once these proved correct we committed to having molds machined and getting the first injection molded parts made.

Machined prototype (left) vs. final injection-molded parts (right)
Front and back labels under development

Product Labeling

Most CBM-developed products require graphics applied with silkscreening, engraving, or, in this case, custom labels, which are designed in-house by R&lD according to our own graphic standards or to customer's request.

Assembly Documentation

Final assembly procedures are always documented visually to whatever level of detail is necessary to ensure clear communication with vendors and technicians.

Front and back labels under development
Standard CBM datasheet format

Datasheet Documentation

CBM R&D prepares different forms of user documentation for each of our products. Datasheets like this one are the most common document and help to convey critical information such as pinouts and mechanical dimensions.

Completed Product

And of course, before anything leaves CBM's R&D labs, its proud creators have to take photographs—in this case a series of overall and detail views using our in-house macro-photography capability.

Photos of the completed product