A PCB Prototype refers to the trial production of printed circuit boards before mass production, even a small batch run. A PCB Prototype is used to verify whether the design scheme of the product meets the design targets both on the physical and diagram level and to evaluate whether the product can move to the next stage like DVT, PVT, or MP. Usually, according to the complexity of the product, at least one or more rounds of PCB prototypes are required. The prototypes’ rounds rely on the product’s complexity, the project’s emergency, the product’s gate stage, and the technical maturity. The quantity varies from a few pieces to several thousand pieces. Usually, the more early design stage products require more rounds of PCB prototypes. The quantity of industrial products is normally less than the number of consumer goods.
A PCB prototype is one of the fundamental processes in electronic product designing and manufacturing. Usually, achieve the following purposes
– Validate product designs with limited cost
PCB Prototype means spending a small price to verify the quality of mass-produced PCB, product debugging, etc., avoiding volume scarp due to design failures
– Save Project Cycle time
Quickly and efficiently complete the PCB production process to meet a project’s cadence requirements.
– Other Advantages
Customers can apply for free samples from long-time partners.
It is necessary to provide complete GERBER data, and it is recommended to use the ODB++ format. Respond to EQ as quickly as possible to avoid repeated data changes. Avoid public holidays during request samples during weekends and holidays. Try to use common materials. For example, ordinary FR4 materials do not need to specify the plate manufacturer; only the TG or TD value is specified.
Prepare engineering documents Gerber File
Gerber File is the basis for any PCB prototype. If customers don’t have Gerber File, that means that the customer is looking for an ODM solution. We suggest that customers first clarify whether their needs are OEM or ODM. Eashub can offer an ODM solution, but the customer needs inputs like product specs, techinical requirements, etc.
NDA sign-off and RFQ
If the customer wants to send RFQ to a new candidate PCB supplier, NDA must be signed off to protect the design. If the supplier is selected from the approved vendor list, the customer can ignore the NDA process and step into the RFQ process.
EQ problems usually exist on the confirmation of PCB materials, copper thickness, silk screen, imposition, and other issues, the more standardized the RFQ documents, the fewer EQ problems.
We recommend that customers have a simple evaluation matrix to evaluate the supplier’s bid. Price is only one of the key factors. but not all. Quality is the most important factor to be considered and should own a higher weight. Product experience and cooperation history are also favorable factors.
Before order release, commercial terms like incoterms and payment terms also need to be confirmed back. Usually, the payment terms are default TT or prepay, and the intercom is EXW factory.
The PCB factory will trigger production after receiving the order. The production cycle time varies from a few days to several weeks, depending on the complexity of the PCB prototype.
The challenges of a PCB prototype come from various aspects that affect manufacturing. The main challenges are as below:
Design Unlock Down. Frequent change in customer’s design scheme is a top unfavorable risk. PCB is a fully customized product, and the factory usually does not cut material for production until the design is confirmed.
Late EQ Response. Late EQ response should top all the delay factors. EQ confirmation is highly related to the process parameters of the factory. Without these EQ confirmations, the PCB factory cannot input the production parameters and confirm the corresponding process. For the EQ that the customer cannot confirm timely, EASHUB usually will recommend some broad industry experience. But we may miss the specialty of the customer’s design. We also strongly need the customer to confirm the EQ before we can start production.
Lack of materials or insufficient capacity PCB manufacturing also has a certain periodicity. Usually, the first quarter, the fourth quarter, and some public holidays are periods of tight capacity. Traditionally, we will set up a material bank for general-purpose boards, but we must start preparing material after the order is confirmed.
Quality Assurance The biggest challenge of a PCB prototype is to meet customer quality requirements in a short time. Many small PCB factories do not have the required management capabilities and quality certification for some complex PCBs. However, they may offer very low prices. But customers need to bear the risk both of batch quality issues and waste of cycle time.
Short Lead Time One of the most critical needs of a PCB prototype is a short time request, usually 24 hours for urgent needs. PCB plant must react in an extremely lead time.
Eashub has many years of rapid PCB prototype and volume delivery capabilities for variant PCBs. We provide competitive services in these areas:
Dedicate PCB Prototype Team
Eashub has a dedicated PCB prototype team to deal with EQ, and the team will assign dedicated staff for each project to track the board condition 24 hours a day. Ensure the most unfavorable influence on EQ response can be fixed with priority. Eashub also has a dedicated PCB prototype line, dividend from the volume production line.
Eashub owns high-level quality certification in the automotive and medical industries. Eashub’s PCB factory not only owns the experience of PCB manufacturing for leading global customers like BMW, BOSHI, and global customers. And we also offer a large number of cost-effective consumer electronics PCBs by following enough quality standards.
Short Cycle time
Depending on your request, we can prototype your PCB at a minimum of 24 hours to -7 days.
Eashub offers rapid PCB prototyping services for quick-turn PCB at high quality and low price. So if you have demand like the one below, you can choose Eashub as your start-up partner.
Boards for Design Gate Review
Small quantity testing or verification
Quick PCB Turnaround
Boards with Eight or Fewer Layers
Quality Standard IPC2 or below
Eashub provides a one-stop PCB service to customers from different industries, and you can find Eashub’s capability on PCB Prototype in below the table:
|PCB Category||Sub Category||PCB Type||Application|
|Standard Single Side PCB||Small Home Appliance, Remote Controller, Fax Machine, Iots|
|Standard Double Side PCB||Computer, Home Appliance, Iots|
|Multi-layers||Standard Multi-layers PCB||Consumer Electronics, Telecom, Automotive, Industrial Control, Data Center|
|Back-plane PCB||Telecom, Security Monitor, Medical|
|High Frequency PCB||Telecom, Data Center, Security Monitor|
|Metal PCB||Base Station, Microwave, Satellite|
|Thick Copper PCB||Power Supply for most industries, New Energy Automotive|
|High Tg PCB||Telecom, Base Station, Microwave, Satellite|
|HDI PCB||Smart Phone, Wearable Devices, Digital Camera, Tablet, Industrial Control, Telecom,Aerospace|
|Flexible PCB||Flexible||Flexible PCB||Smart Phone,Tablet, Wearable Devices, Medical|
|Rigid – Flex PCB||Rigid-Flex||Rigid- Flex PCB||Telecom, Computer, Industrial Control, Medical, Consumer Electronics, Aerospace|