Why Prototyping Your Next PCB Assembly Just Makes Sense

Surprisingly, there are still OEMs out there who feel that prototyping is a waste of time and money. Their argument is that if the design is good and the manufacturing is sound, the product should work. Why add an extra step? In fact, this is a risky assertion. Prototyping tells you whether or not your design is truly ready to move forward into large scale production, and it is a step that should absolutely not be eliminated.Close up photo of a printed circuit board sitting on a black table

Avoid Risk of Failure

Things can go wrong. More than likely, things will go wrong. Having a dud run in a prototyping situation is much less catastrophic than a full run of a product that isn’t what you hoped for. In the prototyping phase, you can go back and fix the issues, then run it again. A small prototype run that fails won’t break your budget, but a full scale run of a product that isn’t right might. If your product hits the market and then fails, you’ll not only lose money on the production run of a worthless product, but your reputation will be significantly damaged.

Proof that Your Design Works

You need proof of concept. Obviously you are confident in your concept, and that’s why you want to manufacture. But in reality, you can’t be certain your design will perform as expected until you prove it in real life. With all the new and innovative designs, you can’t know what the outcome will be until you put the pieces together in a working prototype. In addition, prototyping allows you to optimize your design for manufacturing success. Your design might work, but doing a prototyping run may show you an even easier, better, or faster way to get your product to market.

More Than Design

See Your Product in Action

Is this the product you envisioned? Is it as user friendly as you planned for it to be? Your product may look great on paper, but when you prototype, you’ll get a chance to see if the real-life version is just as good. Something can look great in CAD software, but might in fact struggle with battery life, components fitting just right, or overheating. Prototyping lets you see the design in action before you manufacture a large run. Is it the right size or too bulky? Does it work as you expect? How easy was it to manufacture? Was the manufacturing so expensive that the product is doomed to fail on the market? With a prototyping run, you can avoid any of the design-for-manufacturing issues.

Prototyping Doesn’t Have to Cost a Fortune

It’s hard to say exactly how much prototyping will cost. The amount of work depends on the complexity of your project. The more complex, the more costly. However, the cost of prototyping is a drop in the bucket compared to having to repeat a full production run, and will pay off when you get a successful product to market efficiently on budget and on time

Finding an ECM who encourages the prototyping phase of the PCB manufacturing process is the best way to get a high-quality product to market quickly. When you partner with an innovative ECM with turnkey capabilities including prototyping, your device will be a success. If you have questions about prototyping, contact Levison Enterprises. We can help you make an informed decision on how best to get your next successful project to market quickly and efficiently.

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