How to speed up your PCB prototypes from weeks to minutes!

By | Date posted: | Last updated: June 4, 2018
rapid pcb prototypes

If there is one thing that is crucial to the success of an idea, it is reduced time to market. To achieve that objective, fabricating a prototype fast and with elasticity, is a key requirement. When designers need to spend days waiting for a prototype, they are wasting valuable manhours in evaluating their design and finally getting the product out in the market. Rapid prototyping is thus the need of the hour, which can convert an idea into a circuit panel, which in turn will determine the success of the final product.

 

The reality however is that so often the time lag between thinking of an idea and having a prototype ready is humungous. It takes forever to first get a quote and finally to have a prototype in your hands. If you need to make further changes in the design that in turn means another significant chunk of time lost.

Fortunately for innovators, there is a way to significantly reduce this time and to ensure that this entire approach to manufacturing is significantly revolutionized. With cloud manufacturing technology, you can simply upload your design and bill of materials. You can thereafter receive an instant quote and once you give your go ahead you can even monitor the production cycle. From the vendor’s perspective what it means is that he can combine several small orders into a large batch, thereby lowering costs as well as reducing turnaround time significantly. This is a huge advantage especially for small organizations, which need low quantities and are typically inundated with costs such as a set up charge or a minimum lot charge for example. Often times when you need only one board you land up paying for as many as 10.

In selecting a partner who can offer you rapid prototyping, you however need to keep in mind the following:

  1. The vendor should be able to give you quotes for your prototype nearly instantly.
  2. Ensure that the vendor is technologically equipped so you can monitor your project as also make any changes.
  3. Ensure that the vendor is able to keep costs low by combining orders and passing on the savings made on account of bulk buys to all customers.
  4. Another aspect to watch out for is to choose a vendor who designs the prototypes onshore as that will ensure that the time lags on account of overseas shipments are significantly reduced.
  5. It is also preferable to have a vendor that has an in-house assembly as that will ensure that there aren’t additional delays or probability of failure that may accrue on account of a third-party service. This will also help in maintaining security as in a highly competitive and proprietary industry you would not want your design to go to multiple vendors and result in any kind of leakage.
  6. Ensure also that you choose a vendor who is able to provide a wide range of PCB Prototypes from single and double sided PCBs to the more complex, multi layered ones.
  7. Be sure to check that there are no hidden costs for specific requests as these hidden charges can often throw your budget off gear.

With the use of a CAD software, the specific layout for the circuit board prototype can be laid. Once the material for the circuit board is selected, the circuit board can then be easily fabricated. The next step is then to test the circuit board. If any faults are noticed or changes are required, it is then easy to modify the layout.

With the right partner there is little need to deal with multiple vendors, there by significantly adding to ease of dealing and peace of mind. In turn this will help you test your ideas with ease. On choosing the right vendor the many PCB nightmares can be laid to rest. You need not worry about:

  1. Prototyping being an extremely expensive process typically for small prototyping runs.
  2. Not getting a customized product to suit your bespoke needs.
  3. Long time lags between placing the prototype order and receiving it.
  4. Not being able to monitor your project and hence wastage of time if the final product does not meet your requirements.

An accurate, reliable PCB prototype will also go a long way in being able to solve complex and varied design. With seamless communication between people and computing systems, it is now easy for even new startups to get their products made and ensure that they reach into the hands of their customers without any hassle and importantly without any time lags. With rapid prototyping it is also far easier to quickly explore an idea with minimal cost and time lag. Rapid prototyping, therefore, makes it convenient to progress with your breakthrough idea.

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