Born and raised in Mexico, Herminio Menchaca teaches at the University of
Guadalajara. He had a passion for craft and design from an early age,
something that would grow along with his thirst for knowledge, hunger for
travel and talent for technology. His unique combination of skill and drive
set Herminio on a road that would cover internships and scholarships in South
Korea, India and Japan, before bringing him to NXP, where he works as a design
engineer. We recently caught up with Herminio to get a lowdown on his designs
and work process.
Mechanical Engineer, NXP
NXP: What did you learn in Japan, India and Korea that influenced you the most?
Many things! For instance, in Japan I was exposed to the simple joys of
Mingei, the traditional folk art, which I think is as important as the Bauhaus
movement. It’s about cherishing products that we use every day. It’s for
regular people and the fact that everyone deserves a well-made product. You
don’t have to be royalty to enjoy good products or good design.
NXP: How did this translate into your work with NXP?
MH: People deserve well-designed products, which is one of
the reasons NXP customers come to us, they know that we design with the
end-user in mind. Customers appreciate the work that goes into this, the
thought behind, and they notice straight away that we care about their product
and how their customers interact with it, which is why we put so much detail
into the development.
NXP: What NXP products have you designed or worked on?
Rapid IoT prototyping kit
was one of the first projects that I worked on from the beginning. This went
from sketch to final product, and even though it’s a very small device, it was
challenging. As with all the work I do for NXP, including 5G modems, my
philosophy combines traditional and modern techniques, bridging art and
technology to meet the needs of the customer in the best possible way.
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NXP: Describe your working process.
HM: Depending on the scope of the project, I work from the
beginning, day zero, with the engineers on the product design as part of the
Hardware Solutions team. We develop from the chip to the board, so I also work
with printed circuit boards (PCBs) and test-engineers. My work includes the
housing design, where the cables come in, that sort of thing.
NXP: So, when we look at a pcb or a housing and ask “i wonder who decides where that bit goes,” that’s you?
HM: Well, me and everyone who does what I do, yes. The result
always depends on a range of variables, the aesthetic needs of the product,
the marketing side, the numbers of connectors and antenna and so on. Like, if
there is a need for a touch screen in the product, the PCB will have to change
shape and design to incorporate it, so things can change as the needs evolve.
NXP: How well do industrial design and mechanical engineering mix?
HM: Both functions are similar in that they are about
designing and creating something that meets customer needs. My major was in
industrial design, and in my work I find that sometimes engineering can be a
square, rigid discipline, so sometimes it is important to be able to think
outside the box to tackle certain problems. It’s fun to play with accuracy, to
find routes to solutions in unconventional ways, as long as the result meets
the needs of the customer.
Herminio was recently interviewed by top EE journalist
Junko Yoshida for the ‘Artful Engineer’ series.
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