Embedded firmware costs – but why?

If you run an electrical or mechanical engineering company, you will probably have noticed increasingly complex system software and manufacturing BOM creeping in.

The whole world is becoming more technologically complex. Even the simplest kitchen gadget is designed using complicated tools like 3d Max rendering or OrCAD PCB. But it’s firmware development where the fun begins. It’s the easiest thing in the world to jazz up a design by adding some embedded firmware. Building the embedded code to support it, however, can be a nightmare; not least when costing the project out.

Many mechanical engineering graduates have added FPGA design and firmware development to their list of skills in order to win more contracts. Others stick to the more simple stuff and outsource the advanced work to other people. Whichever is the case for your company, you have to start with an accurately priced quote, reflecting the complexity of the work to be done. This alone can take time, especially if it’s a new field you’ve entered.

Firmware development is generally costed per line. The more complex the firmware, the more it will cost. In the US, the average commercial firmware costs $20 to $30 a line, from start to finish. It sounds expensive, but compared with the Space Shuttle code, which costs around $1,000 a line, it doesn’t seem so bad. Where between them does your project fall?

If you have a hardware project that involves complex firmware development you could spend days puzzling it all out, or you could turn it over to us at Enventure Technologies. We offer a range of high value engineering services, including complex system software and FPGA design.

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