Optimize Your PCB Electronics With A Prototype

April 30 2019

Optimize Your PCB Electronics With A Prototype

Prototyping is an important stage of PCB electronics design. Why leave it to chance? Your staff already has enough to do. They do not need to take on duties typically handled by an electronic engineer. Your product deserves better, too. Don't just dabble in prototyping. Retain the services on an ECM who has an engineering staff to support you and your product.

Key Factors in Your Electronic PrototypeParts Obsolescence Problems - Levison Enterprises

You don't want to trust your prototype to just anyone. You need an ECM with high quality standards and a proven track record to trust with your PCB electronics prototyping. Look for an ECM with quality certifications. Look for a company that is AS91100 certified, ISO 9001 certified, as well as IPC and J Standard certified. Taking the time to earn these certifications shows a company cares about quality and takes the time to make sure standards are met each and every time. This is a clear sign your prototype won't just be a one and done.

You also want to make sure your ECM has a vetted supplier network for parts. Make sure your partner can get high quality parts for your high quality product. Unfortunately, counterfeit and sub-standard parts can be a real problem. You do not want knockoffs being used in your build.

In addition, look for an ECM who can create a usable prototype that will allow for testing at an affordable price. It’s always important to keep your budget in check.

Prototype Considerations

As your prototype is being created, there are design decisions to be considered. First and foremost, make sure your ECM includes a Design for Manufacturability (DFM) assessment. The DFM will determine if there are ways to save time and money while manufacturing your product. This evaluation will help determine the time and effort required to produce a working prototype, the ability to create usable prototypes for testing, and the price of your project.

It will come in handy if your ECM has engineering in-house. On-site engineers are readily available to troubleshoot any potential problems that crop up. They will be able to identify and correct issues before you even know there is an issue. This saves valuable time.

In-house testing also comes in handy. Tests performed throughout the entire prototyping process will better detect potential problems. This allows them to be identified earlier in the process when it is easier and cheaper to make changes.

Usable prototypes for testing can be created with most hardware options. However, hardware selection should always be made with price in mind. Your ECM will also be able to offer cost saving options on parts, design, and assembly. They will help you determine if it is better to use through-hole technology or SMT. Through-hole is typically cheaper, but keep in mind, some ECMs don’t offer it.

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What Comes Next

Once the prototyping process is complete, there are more decisions to be made. After all, the entire purpose of creating a prototype is to evaluate an idea while enabling development of the final implementation. Can they swap out current parts for more standard parts? Are there design changes to be made in order to streamline production? Your ECM should be able to guide you in determining if there are cost-effective changes that can be made while keeping the final application in mind.

You will also need to decide if your electronic prototype manufacturer can handle your production. Will they successfully handle assembly? Do they have the ability to flex up if needed? If possible, it is advisable to stick with your prototyping partner for production. After all, they are already quite familiar with and invested in your product. They will want to see it succeed as much as you do.

If done right, prototyping will flag any potential problems and allow your PCB design to be optimized before large-scale production. Levison Enterprises encourages prototyping as a standard measure of success. We have the experience and staff to build and test your prototype in order to get your product where it needs to be. Contact Levison Enterprises today to see how we can assist you with your PCB electronics prototype.

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Tags: Electronic Contract Manufacturing, Efficiency, Quality, Electronic Manufacturing Service, Reverse Engineering, Design For Manufacturability