The use of PCBs has become ubiquitous with the number of electronic devices growing. What is extremely important is that the PCB needs to function properly for each of these devices to work seamlessly. This calls for prototyping the PCB before getting into a full production run. In fact, prototype PCB is the order of the day when it comes to test a particular PCB design or a function. This ensures that any mistakes caught early can be corrected before they turn costly.
With the use of PCB Prototyping services becoming widespread, it is extremely important to be able to shortlist the right partner who could offer PCB Prototyping services. Here is a handy guide of factors to consider before making the choice.
The most important criteria, of course, needs to be the quality being offered. After all, the prototype needs to be fully functional and customized to your bespoke needs. Errors can turn out to be costly especially since time-to-market is an extremely important aspect of success. Similarly if you are a start-up and are using the PCB Prototyping service to showcase a Minimum Viable Product to potential investors, you know for sure how costly a mistake can be. To check for the quality aspect of the manufacturer ensure that you undertake a thorough research including but not limited to the fact that whether the manufacturer has a dedicated team for prototypes. Also what are the industries it caters to, what the client experiences have been and more. You could check the client testimonials and even reach out to them directly to discuss their experience.
Minimum Order Quantity
Since it is a prototype, odds are that there isn’t a very high quantity that you want to order. After all the initial prototype is susceptible to changes. However if the manufacturer has the requirement of a large minimum order quantity, it may not work well for you. It is best to clarify this early on so that you do not land up spending a lot of time and energy back and forth without having discussed this aspect. Professional PCB Prototype companies are able to offer you small quantities at reasonable prices that work for your business.
Cost of course continues to be an extremely important aspect of business and it is no different in case of PCB Prototyping services. The only other aspect that you need to keep in mind is the fact that cost alone should not be a deciding factor. Typically manufacturers who offer high quality could also offer higher cost. Therefore making the decision purely on cost may mean that you could land up with a low quality product, which will mean added cost and time. It is therefore prudent to do a thorough analysis of the product and the price point before coming to any decision.
Again quick turn around time in today’s dynamic world is an important requirement. It is crucial, therefore, to check the kind of turnaround time the manufacturer is offering. It is also equally important to figure out what his previous track record has been and whether his clients stand testimony to his commitments.
You may need a host of customizations in the prototype for it to meet your bespoke needs. Ensure that you choose a manufacturer who can offer these customizations and not one who is offering a one-shoe-fits-all product.
Ensure that you check that the manufacturer you have chosen delivers to your country you are based in so that you do not struggle with delivery issues or do not face unnecessary delays that can have a domino’s effect on a host of other areas.
You sure want to choose a manufacturer who is agile and offers quick quotations at different order levels. This in turn allows you to plan aspects such as product pricing easily.
If the manufacturer has prior industry experience in your industry, the experience is certain to come in handy. In fact the manufacturer can make suggestions at the design stage itself of any issues that may crop up later, basis his experience of handling other clients. Now that would turn out to be invaluable, as you need not repeat any costly mistakes.
Ever so often, you may need services such as PCB Assembly outsourced as well. It may, make sense, therefore to go with a manufacturer, who offers a range of services so you do not have to deal with multiple vendors.
Packaging & Shipping
This aspect may not make it to your list of issues to be checked, but the fact is safe packaging is a very important area as the finest prototype damaged during shipping can have all your plans go awry. It is, therefore, important to check that the manufacturer adheres to safe packaging practices, as also has express shipping facility, in case you need to use it.
Mermar Electronics is a California based company, specialized in customized low volume PCB prototyping services as quick as 24 hours to 1 week for standard deliveries. We have a team of experienced personal’s offering low volume, high volume, multi-layer & complex, rigid and rigid flex PCB prototyping services.
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