Prototype PCB Assembly is the process of designing, creating, and testing PCBs for mass production. The term ‘Prototype’ refers to the idea that the product produced does not represent the final (end-product) design. In production terms, the term describes the model or prototype. The prototype assembly process is also known as the proof-of-concept (COC). This is because a working prototype allows manufacturers to validate the idea of the end product design and, therefore, faster development of finished goods.
There are two methods used in prototyping PCB assembly service. The first method is known as automated wire routing. This is done using machines that cut, route, and solder joints as needed. This automated process requires manual support, so it is not used in mass-produced items. The other method is by direct routing, which makes use of manual computer-aided soldering equipment. It is widely used in large-scale projects.
You will often see a prototype soldered on an SMT machine during a mass production run. SMT stands for small form factor device and is a common tool for testing parts. SMT is often part of the standard equipment that you would find in an electronics lab. If you want to see an SMT prototype, you should visit a manufacturer who specializes in fastener setups such as SMT quick-turn PCB assembly.
Assembling prototypes using SMT is much faster than routing with a manual soldering machine. It also tends to be more consistent. However, there are some pitfalls involved with using SMT in production equipment. Because the equipment is so expensive, it is usually reserved for large-scale products or highly intricate projects where a production run number of several hundred may be required.
You can develop and use an already existing software solution for creating prototype PCB assembly. A PCB manufacturer can give you PCB software that is specifically designed for designing and printing full-color PCBs. This source can be very helpful, but it can be expensive. It is still cheaper than sourcing from a well-known manufacturer, though.
A great alternative to making prototype PCB assembly services your own is to work with one of the many prototype PCB manufacturer service providers in the market today. These service providers can ship the boards to your business address in one piece for only a modest fee. The PCB manufacturer can then return your completed PCB to you in another. If you want to save even more money, you can buy your PCB materials from these service providers as well. This way, you won’t need to rent or buy materials from a supplier.