Manufacturing Process

Alexa Connect Kit (ACK)-based devices require a specific manufacturing process that's different then building non-connected devices. Meaning you must add ACK-specific steps into your line to handle the ACK module, such as verifying the firmware and provisioning the ACK module.

Make sure you complete the steps in Prepare for Manufacturing before you customize your manufacturing line.

ACK manufacturing overview

A typical manufacturing process is split into the following three categories:

  1. Printed circuit board (PCB) manufacturing and programming
  2. Final assembly, testing, and packaging (FATP)
  3. Quality Control (QC)

The following diagram shows common differences between an ACK-based device manufacturing line and a non-connected device manufacturing line.

Components of an ACK-based smart device

PCB manufacturing and programming for ACK

Perform the following procedures for each ACK module during your PCB manufacturing and programming process.

  • Verify ACK module firmware version
  • Test module Wi-Fi connection
  • Provision ACK modules to product provisioned
  • Lock ACK modules
  • Generate Wi-Fi Simple Setup (WSS) barcodes

Verify ACK module firmware version

Verify that each individual ACK module on your production lines is running the correct version of firmware. Each module should run the same version of firmware that you used to develop and test your HMCU application, built with the ACK Device SDK. If your module isn't running the correct firmware, update it with an over-the-wire (OTW) firmware update.

Test module Wi-Fi connection

Validate and test that each individual ACK module on your production line can connect to a Wi-Fi access point. Typically, wireless radios on your ACK Modules are pre-calibrated by the module vendor.

Provision ACK modules to product provisioned

Provision each individual ACK module on your production line to the product provisioned state. In this state, your product receives its unique product certificate signed by the appropriate certifying authority (CA). If your product isn't transferred to this state, your customers aren't able to register the device with Alexa.

Lock ACK modules

Lock each ACK individual module on your production line before you assemble it into an end product and ship it to customers. Locking your modules provides a layer of security by restricting the supported module activities over the debug port. For more details about locking your ACK module, see Module lifecycle state descriptions.

Generate Wi-Fi Simple Setup (WSS) barcodes

Generate Amazon Wi-Fi Simple Setup (WSS) barcodes for each individual ACK module on your production line. For each device, generate both the product barcode and the package barcode; users need these barcodes to register their devices with Alexa. Only use a single generated barcode-pair for each ACK-based device. Each barcode contains authentication material that's extracted from the corresponding ACK module during the barcode generation process. These barcodes are unique the device they're generated from.

For more details about generating barcodes, see Generate a Barcode for Product Registration.

Final assembly, testing, and packaging for ACK

To facilitate the use of WSS, you must follow specific packaging requirements for your barcodes. For each barcode pair that you generate:

  • Attach the product barcode to the outer packaging of your device in a location that your customers can reach and scan using a phone. Also include it in your device quick start guide.
  • Place the package barcode inside the package. Don't place it on the outside of the box; users can register your device by scanning this barcode. This barcode must also contain your device UPC/EAN.

The product and package barcodes contain different content. Make sure your assembly line technician can differentiate between each barcode when attaching them to the device and the outer packaging. For example, to help with this process, you can make the product and package barcodes a different size. It's a common practice to generate the barcodes on the PCB manufacturing line, where a wired connection is available to program and provision the ACK Module.

For more details about specific barcode specifications, such as dimension and quality requirements, see the following pages:

Quality control for ACK

Run quality control checks on your ACK-based devices before shipping them as a final product. For example, you can use a an out-of-box audit (OBA) process to examine sample devices. In this process, you should power the devices on, register them with the Alexa app, test sample commands from the app, and then factory reset the device.

You should also run the following tests in your product quality control process:

Test your Device interactions. Verify the following:

Test your WSS barcodes. Verify the following:

  • The Product barcode is valid and scans successfully.
  • The Package barcode is valid and scans successfully.
  • The barcodes you place on each individual package corresponds to the device inside the box. Each barcode you generate is unique to the device they're generated from. If an incorrect barcode is shipped with a device, it can't be registered with WSS. For example, if you scan a barcode with the Alexa app, make sure the information that appears in the app matches the information of the device that's in the box.
  • The UPC and EAN encoded into the packaging barcode matches the UPC and EAN printed on the device packaging.

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Last updated: Nov 27, 2023