Manufacturing in the United States of America (USA) allows Anchor Audio, Inc. to have a hands-on, in-depth approach to engineering new products. The key to success as a manufacturing company is coming up with new ideas and reinventing old ideas to always produce the latest and greatest products for our customers. Anchor Audio’s Engineering Department is the team of individuals behind the designing and creating of all of the new and exciting Intelligible, Reliable, and Simple-to-use products offered by Anchor Audio. They are our special group of people that bring your ideas to life. Therefore, we thought it would be fun to sit down and get some insight from our Engineering Department themselves!
Here is what they had to say:
How long have you been an engineer?
Mario: 23+ years
Ruben: Since 2004!
Matthew: 5 years (2 years with Anchor Audio)
Vittorio: I have been studying mechanical engineering for almost 5 years and I am now a senior student at San Diego State University. My interest in working with electronic devices was sparked by a fun group project in a class that I took a few years ago. The goal of the project was to build a robot capable of harvesting, washing and packaging small fruits and vegetables. My group’s final product turned out to be quite a disaster (the machine’s claw just loved to squish out all the juice from the fruits instead of gently picking them from the plants), but the experience was crucial for making me understand what area of the mechanical engineering field I wanted to focus on.
What was your first engineering product/job?
Mario: Before working at Anchor, I worked for a company that designs home audio speakers (in-ceiling and in-wall) and monitor speakers. The design center was in Corona, CA and all the products were assembled in Mexico. One of my first products was a low profile in-ceiling speaker for small areas in the attic.
Ruben: The Beacon Sound System.
Matthew: My first engineering job was a Baseband Hardware Engineer at Nokia, and the first project I completed was the Nokia Lumia 810.
What is your role within the Anchor Audio Engineering team?
Mario: I am the Director of Engineering, so I am responsible for managing engineering resources, helping to develop new products, and providing support to our in-house manufacturing.
Ruben: I primarily provide engineering support including Bill of Materials and Bill of Operations, Testing and Prototyping, Conformity and R&D.
Matthew: Electrical Engineer
Vittorio: As a mechanical engineering intern, my main role is to help the engineers create the designs of our products, document the technical aspects, and test them. This includes everything from selecting every little component to testing the performance of assembled prototypes. The attention to detail is essential to guarantee that when the final product is assembled and tested, it will satisfy our standards of high quality and reliability.
How many projects are you currently working on?
Mario: At this moment, the Anchor Audio Engineering Team is working on three exciting new projects that will be released over the next year. Stay tuned, they are all exciting new releases.
Matthew: All things electrical at Anchor Audio (but if I had to put a number on them, three specific “projects”).
Vittorio: My main focus right now is taking care of the mechanical aspects of a new exciting project that will affect almost the entire line of Anchor Audio’s products. It involves lots of fun tasks such as creative designing, rapid prototyping with our 3D printer, computer-generated simulations, and much more. My secondary focus is in helping to optimize efficiency in production by simplifying the manufacturing and assembly processes. This includes creating jigs, upgrading tools and eliminating unnecessary steps in order to reduce errors and time.
How does the Research and Development at Anchor Audio work?
Ruben: Everything starts with a basic research on what the customer wants and needs—marketing helps with that. We have daily meetings as well as a yearly planning meeting from where the new designs ideas convert into a firm shape in our minds. After the idea is established, we focus on researching specifics regarding the new products and processes. We develop several prototypes, perform materials research, and then perform testing from concept to design.
Matthew: After the company decides which projects on which we will be working, we then use our experience (including referring to old college textbooks) along with information from chip manufacturers, vendors, internet resources, and consultants (when necessary) to achieve what is possible.
Vittorio: For testing our prototypes, we follow a very scientific and rigorous method. First, whether we are testing indoors or outdoors, we record all necessary measurements concerning the environment to ensure that no “outside factors” will affect our readings and calculations. Then we perform our tests, anything from drop tests of the plastic enclosures to wireless transmission range tests. The data collected is then compared to theoretical calculations or computer-simulated predictions. Overall, this method allows us to make better decisions about our products and to constantly improve them.
What is your favorite thing about being an Engineer at Anchor Audio?
Ruben: At Anchor Audio, I am constantly learning. You never get bored!
Matthew: Working on more than one project and/or working on more than one product at a time keeps it interesting.
Vittorio: My favorite thing is being able to actively interact with people from all departments of the company instead of just being constrained to my own field of work. Every change I make in the design of a back panel, for example, requires lots of communication with other people: The electrical engineers need to review their circuit board designs. The graphic designer has to update the panel artwork. The marketing team needs to approve any changes in the user controls. Overall, it’s a challenging activity, but it is very stimulating and rewarding.
Tell us a little bit about the testing process at Anchor.
Mario: Testing is one of the main priorities under the engineering department at Anchor Audio, because we offer an industry leading warranty of six years—which we fully stand behind. When we design our products, we put our systems under Design Validations to see how the product will behave and see if the end product will fulfill our level of quality. This way, we can eliminate issues before the product even enters the market.
Ruben: Testing at early stages of the design is crucial to ensure delivering a reliable product. We continue testing during and after the hand-off to production.
Matthew: In my area, we test for power consumption, battery life, audio quality, range (in the context of wireless communications), as well as safety tests to observe what may happen, either in assembly or customer use, if anything electrical in nature were to be connected incorrectly or otherwise abused so that we may prevent problems.
What do you expect to be the ‘Next Big Thing’ in the world of Portable PA Systems?
Ruben: The “Next Big Thing” has to be simple, easy-to-use, and something that delivers value to the end user. I am envisioning a simple PA system that provides intelligent wireless and sound that is able to self-tune in order to avoid interference, able to self-tune according to the crowd, and able to self-tune to cancel unwanted noises.
Matthew: If latencies can be reduced to unobservable levels, then maybe more smartphone-based public-address apps—possibly including things like real-time language translation.
What is one quirky or unique thing about you that we wouldn’t have guessed?
Mario: Most people are surprised when they find out that I enjoy gardening, and I have my own orchard! My garden even includes multiple elevated beds that grow different flavored herbal teas.
Ruben: In addition to being an engineer at Anchor Audio, I own my own Artisan coffee roastery business.
Matthew: Before becoming an engineer, I had a career in the banking industry. Also, when having in-depth conversations over food I often eat very slowly, leaving the other person to finish their meal while I still have two-thirds of my food left to eat on my plate.
Vittorio: I am an international student from Florence, Italy.
We would like to thank our Engineering team for all of the hard work and dedication they have displayed throughout the exciting process of envisioning, and then creating wonderful products. Anchor Audio engineers are the secret ingredient in our recipe for success in the portable sound system industry—cheers to the Engineers!