Prototyping Service Preparation
Both the PCB Designer and the Prototyping Service Provider (Manufacturer) must make necessary preparations for a successful prototyping service. In most cases, the PCB Designer is not the PCB Manufacturer. Even if the Designer is still the Manufacturer, the two tasks must be performed in a way that they do not conflict. The PCB Designer must have the knowledge of the Manufacturer’s capacity and capabilities. To make it easy, the PCB Manufacturer provides the details to the Designer inform of PCB Design Rules. This ensures a smooth prototyping service since the Designer comes up with just the right PCB for the available PCB prototyping machines. The PCB Designer should use separate PCB Visualizer other than the main software visualizer. A good option is the available Online PCB Visualizers. This confirms that the design is completed as per the expectation.
This starts off by accepting the PCB Gerber files among other PCB Files that make up the PCB. The Designer fills an additional form that provides more PCB details such as maximum size and the type of the finish. The prototyping service provider performs a final check for the submitted files and responds with a quotation for the whole price of manufacturing the specified PCB and also the estimated time to complete the job. If everything is okay, the service is paid for, and the manufacturing process is commenced. It is a good practice for the prototyping service to test all the PCB Prototypes after they have been produced. This facilitates detection and elimination of all the possible manufacturing flaws. A prototyping service should also include shipping services to where the PCB is needed.
A PCB Batch is the size of the PCB Order with similar characteristics. One PCB Batch may consist of, say, 5cm square green PCBs with double sided parts. When providing a PCB Prototyping Service, one must be ready to handle both Small PCB Batches and Large PCB Batches. A large PCB Batch is the most preferable since it is the most economical; especially if it is from the same customer. However, in a real world scenario, most PCB orders have mixed and rather distinct features that cannot easily make a batch. For best results, PCB order pooling techniques are employed for fast and quality prototyping services. In order pooling, PCBs with similar characteristics are grouped and produced together. These PCBs may be pooled form many different customer orders requiring just a few prototype boards. This makes a large PCB Batch which makes the prototyping service economical to handle. As a result, the PCB service becomes affordable and of good quality.