Methodology for manufacturing electronic prototypes.
In the case of electronic prototypes, we identified that one of the main concerns of inventors is being able to contact manufacturers in China capable of mass-producing thousands of printed circuit boards (PCB). While this step is probably very relevant and essential for the health of the future business, prioritizing this contact and hiring process before developing electronic working prototypes is tantamount to dooming your project to failure.
Remember that the objective of a working prototype isn’t just to demonstrate technical feasibility, in the design and manufacturing process it’s key to iterate and learn enough to be able to ascertain the best operating and future manufacturing approach.
When it comes to electronic prototypes, at Let's Prototype the first thing we do is analyze the electronics required for the prototype, in order to subsequently develop the circuits on paper and in digital format. Yes, you read that right: we draw the different logics or circuit diagrams on paper. That way, the entire team of experts in the field can give their opinions on the optimal ways to arrive at a solution. This phase includes selecting electronic components, as it’s important that the engineering team identify any components that are widely available in the marketplace, fulfill your prototype’s needs and ensure that the options be economically feasible. It’s a difficult balancing act, but it’s what we do.
Before manufacturing the first board, experiments are conducted with cables and components on a protoboard to detect any possible failures or incompatibilities among the components selected. In this phase, we achieve the electronic functionality of the prototype, polishing all the details so it behaves as expected.
Once the finished circuits are ready, we devote ourselves to designing the printed circuit board, minimizing the size of the electronics. At this point, we can manufacture the first unit by engraving the circuit on a copper board, applying the anti-weld resin and welding the components.
After completing the manufacturing process of the first unit, we go on to the prototype testing phase. This stage usually leads to the aesthetic redesign of the prototype, allowing its parts to be smaller and more compact.
You’ll find thousands of options for mass-producing your board or PCB. You could go to China or other industries where prices for mass-produced products are very competitive. On the other hand, it is highly likely that, before this step, you’ll need short or pre-production runs that allow you to validate the product in the marketplace, show it to interested investors or potential industrial partners. In this case, Let's Prototype continues to be your ideal ally. If you need to make between 10 and 100 electronic boards, we can make them in our lab with full warranty. Should you need more than 100 and up to 10,000 units, we can order them from Let's Prototype strategic partners.
Now, then, should a large quantity of units be needed, the PCB can be produced in mass quantities with an outside partner.
Remember that, when selecting a company to manufacture your prototype, it is important that the areas intervening in the design and manufacturing be members of the company’s staff, thus guaranteeing that they will work together to achieve more efficient, functional and aesthetically-pleasing prototypes.
If you’re interested in learning more about our methodologies for manufacturing electronic prototypes and other working prototype typologies, you can schedule a call or continue reading our Tips.