If you are new to the world of manufacturing and you need a PCB prototype for your Kickstarter project or new business venture, you might have some very important questions. Asking them can be a bit intimidating because, well, you don’t know what you don’t know. You also might be afraid that you won’t like the answers. We’re here to help. Here are some of the most common PCB prototyping questions that you might be reluctant to ask.
Does it have to be done overseas?
Not anymore. It was once difficult to find a US manufacturer who could handle PCB prototyping at a reasonable price, but that is no longer the case. In response to the growing need for printed circuit boards that end up in crowdfunded projects or electronics created by small businesses, the US manufacturing community has stepped up to the plate. There are now plenty of PCB services right here at home.
Will it cost me an arm and a leg?
We’re not going to lie; prototype projects are not the most lucrative engagements for manufacturers. Some respond by jacking up the price. However, we have good news, there are turnkey PCB assembly providers that have figured out how to leverage sophisticated software to combine prototype orders into larger runs. This makes it possible to keep prices down even for one-at-a-time orders.
How long will it take?
This is another question that depends on the PCB prototyping partner that you select. Those that are keeping up with the most modern approach can turn your order around in days, not the weeks or months that traditional vendors required. What’s more, with the right partner, you can get your quote immediately after uploading your design documents and BOM.
How is sourcing handled?
If you select an on-demand or cloud manufacturer, they will handle all of the parts sourcing for you. They use long-standing relationships with suppliers to get the best prices. Some even buy popular parts in bulk at discounted rates and pass those savings on to you through a program called House Parts.
Can I track the progress of my project?
Absolutely. Your PCB prototyping service provider should have an online portal for management and tracking of your project. You should be able to make changes, and run reports 24×7.
What is “Concept to Customer” Manufacturing?
Vendors that practice Concept to Customer manufacturing offer services for every part of the product lifecycle. They will handle your PCB prototype order, assemble your production circuit boards, manufacture your electronic devices, manage your inventory, and ship products to customers all under one roof. It is an excellent way to go if you want to focus on your innovations and your business while your partner takes care of everything else.
We hope this has answered a few of your burning questions. Got more? Just drop us a line. We’re happy to help.