Before getting into production quantities it is highly recommended to do a prototype run of your project. There are many advantages to do so and below we have listed the top 10 advantages of prototype PCB Assembly.
1. Finding a good supplier.
While going through the cycles of prototyping and testing different revisions of your design this is the best time to also explore suppliers for your PCB Fabrication and Assembly needs.
Trying new suppliers with smaller quantity orders can help you pick the correct one suited for needs at minimal expense to you.
At Bittele Electronics we focus on being flexible as possible while still maintaining our high quality of PCB Fabrication, Assembly, and personable services.
2. Design inspection.
Discovering issues with your design in the prototype stages is much less expensive than discovering issues when you have production quantities of thousands of units.
At Bittele Electronics we have DFM/DFA/Engineering review services in which your design is scrutinized for any inconsistences such as footprint not matching a component, part to part spacing, stack up and impedance control adjustments. Any issues discovered during these reviews are brought up to you for your input.
3. PCBA Testing.
Testing your prototypes is another great way to discover issues before getting to production quantities and thus taking minimal loses in case an issue arises.
At Bittele Electronics we offer NETLIST Testing, Functional Testing, and First Article Sampling services in order to aid you in the testing of your prototypes.
4. Final Product inspection.
Once you have your prototype PCBAs in hand you can now use them construct prototypes of your final product as well and conduct tests and reviews on those as well.
At Bittele Electronics the First Article Sample service can be used to get a portion of an order completed and sent out to you beforehand so that you can conduct tests as a final prototype product and make change to your PCB and PCBA designs without having to place a new order.
5. Troubleshooting of production process.
Having a supplier first do a prototype run allows you to get familiar with their processes before proceeding to a larger volume run. It will give an idea as to how issues like part shortages, and DFM/DFA/Engineering Review questions are handled.
You can view Bittele Electronics turnkey process here.
6. Production quantity estimate.
After completing a prototype run both you and your supplier will have a clearer picture of what a high volume run will look like in terms of lead time, price, and potential component stock issues.
7. Reduce Production Costs.
Doing multiple prototype runs allows you to experiment with different designs and components, thus allowing you to also reduce the cost of your project if that is your aim.
At Bittele Electronics we are always willing to help you meet your budgets for your projects. We have many articles available on the subject at our website, one of which can be seen here.
8. Proof of concept.
A prototype PCBA can be used as a proof of concept and to test various theories that can lead to an improved and more efficient production PCB design.
9. Visual Model.
A prototype PCBA can be used as a model to help plan and construct the enclosure of the finished product. It can also be used to test the durability and design of the final product.
A prototype run will give both you and the supplier a good idea of what to expect from a production run. It will also allow the supplier to prepare for the production run properly in the case of equipment that may be needed for your specific project. For example test jigs and assembly jigs for unique assembly procedures.