In all likeliness, you probably know about the relevance and need for printed circuit boards, also known as PCBs. The design of printed circuit boards is largely determined by a set of requirements, which are usually offered to the manufacturer by the client.
The requirements are decided on many factors, mostly based on the functionalities and features of the end product. A PCB prototype is designed to meet these requirements, which can further facilitate mass production, as required by the client.
Getting PCB Prototypes
Before production of printed circuit boards can start, the concerned client contacts one of the experienced manufacturers in the field with their set of requirements. At this stage, the first concern is to get the prototype ready. For obvious reasons, some manufacturers are better than others, and they can get the prototype ready in a shorter time.
Some Printed Circuit Boards need more time, especially because the requirements are extensive. At the same time, some boards can be designed with just two layers, while other prototypes may need as many as 30 or more. Also, it is essential to focus on the size and functionality of the prototype, because it must also fit the design and box requirements. Every layer and copper trace are extremely important and must be designed under high tolerance. Also, the testing is done at more than one level to check if all the requirements and functionalities have been met.
Things to Note
Designing the PCB prototype is a step that largely determines the final use of PCBs, and therefore, the design and manufacturing process should be as accurate as possible.
The concerned manufacturer needs to have a team that can keep the integrity of the PCB prototype while tracking the client demands. In general, Printed Circuit Boards are tested for a number of times, and it takes more than a few independent tests to ensure that all functionalities are working as expected. The concerned manufacturer will make a note of the results and will address all the possible concerns in a documented manner.
Finding a Manufacturer
When it comes to PCB prototyping, most clients don’t want to know what goes into the manufacturing process, because all they want is a functional PCB prototype that can be used for mass production. If that’s the case with you, check for companies that are well-known and have a good name in the market.
They should be able to offer assistance on your requirements and must be reputed with regards to PCB prototyping. They should also have the required investments and infrastructure to facilitate comprehensive production, and their team should be accessible, available and open to new ideas and challenges.
Of course, you need to get a deadline for the concerned PCB prototype, and the concerned company should also offer a detailed review of their production process with an estimate.
Ask for a detailed estimate, because the costs are meant to be scalable. To know their work better, inquire about their references.