Avoid Delays in Your Next PCB Prototype

October 28 2019

Avoid Delays in Your Next PCB Prototype

Mistakes happen. It’s a fact of life. But many are avoidable, especially when it comes to your PCB prototype.

A simple oversight can delay your whole project. If you get behind while building a circuit board, the issue can quickly snowball, and your entire project timeline can become derailed. The problems can continue to compound. So, it’s best to stay on track from the get-go. To do this, you need to avoid the most common pitfalls that cause PCB prototype delays.

Incorrect File FormatsLegacy Electronic Products

File issues are one of the biggest factors that slow down PCB prototyping. Incomplete, missing or incorrectly formatted files can lead to a faulty prototype circuit board. Avoiding this problem comes down to communication. You must know what format your contract manufacturer uses if it’s anything other than Gerber files. You can also include a text document that clarifies any details which might not be readily explained by the files.

BOM Not Included

The list of components required can make or break your prototype PCB. An accurate bill of materials (BOM) is absolutely necessary for building a circuit board. It’s a list of every single part needed to build your prototype circuit board. If a part is omitted in the BOM, your project will stall while the component is sourced, purchased, and shipped. To avoid this, make sure your BOM contains every bit of pertinent information. This includes all items to be purchased, processed, or inventoried in order to build your PCB. Before passing it on to your ECM, make sure that your list is up-to-date and contains all the relevant information.

Complex Design

An extremely complex design is another reason the prototyping process for your PCB can be slowed down. An overly complicated PCB layout takes much more time to build. It also may not be within the tolerances of your ECM's equipment and processes. The good news is, this can easily be solved by having your contract manufacturer's design engineers take a look at the plans for your prototype PCB. The engineers will be able to simplify the design. Their suggestions may not just save you time by avoiding delays in building your circuit board, but they could save you money by streamlining the design and improving the functionality of your PCB too.

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Requirements Not Disclosed Ahead of Time

Failing to disclose requirements of your prototype circuit board up front could have a big impact on the prototyping process. Your ECM must know all the regulations and standards your prototype PCB must meet in advance. This affects what processes are used and considerations that must be made, including special quality certifications. Not knowing this in advance will cause delays. To avoid down time, communication is key. Be sure to tell your contract manufacturer up front about absolutely everything they must know about any regulatory standards your prototype PCB must meet.

Getting a DFM Will Save You Time and Money

There are many issues that can go wrong when working on a prototype PCB. All of it adds up to wasted time and additional costs for both the designer and manufacturer. The entire process will be delayed as you go back to the drawing board if you’ve already begun building your circuit board. An easy way to combat these common delays in building prototype circuit boards is by getting a Design for Manufacturability (DFM) analysis.

A DFM will carefully examine your printed circuit board's design and layout to minimize any problems that could occur during fabrication. The DFM will not only look at how the board will work, but how it could potentially break. Any errors and oversights that are detected can then be corrected before moving ahead with your PCB prototype. A DFM will ensure your design will result in a prototype circuit board that performs as expected.

Our knowledgeable team can take a look at your PCB files and run complete DFM checks on them. With more than 100 years of combined experience covering the last several decades of electronic technology and testing protocols, we are confident we can build you the best PCB prototype without delay. Contact Levison Enterprises today to learn more about our prototyping services.

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Tags: Electronic Contract Manufacturing, Efficiency, Quality, Through-Hole, Certifications, Electronic Design, Electronic Manufacturing Service, Reverse Engineering, Design For Manufacturability