PCB Prototyping

PCB is an abbreviation of printed circuit boards. Engineers will design a prototype board before it is manufactured therefore having the ability to detect flaws early on and quickly pinpoint which components need adjusting. Without prototyping, uncovering errors and flaws can cause inadequate performance which is time consuming and could extend a projects time frame, leading to lost revenue and unhappy customers.

PCBs are an integral part of many electronic devices and if there is inadequate performance after production it can be costly. Prototyping PCBs before production can help avoid this as the circuit board prototype can be tested to make sure it is working properly before moving on to a more complex design and eventually full quantity production. Prototype assembly and test gives you feedback on the strength of your circuit, PCB layout design and whether the design meets all the requirements for which it is intended e.g. functional, performance, physical requirements.

Why use a PCB Prototype?

Using a PCB prototype service over a standard PCB manufacturing production run can save time, money and also produce a more superior product at the end. When a new PCB design is being developed it will go through a number of tests which need to happen quickly otherwise this could result in lost revenue. Engineers also use prototype PCBs to test single functions of a more complex product that contains multiple PCBs. If these test functions are not looked at individually and there is a performance issue later on, the engineer will not be able to easily identify which board is causing the problem. Finding this out could take time and resources that could have been saved by prototyping the individual functions. Prototyping is worth considering if the following conditions apply:

  • New products
  • Quality and design testing
  • Complex components
  • Modeling purposes

PCB Prototype Applications

PCBs connect components through various related circuits and come in different variations allowing them to perform under a wide range of circumstances. Areas include:

  • Consumer electronics
  • Medical devices
  • Automotive components
  • Industrial equipment
  • Lighting technologies
  • Aerospace instrumentation

RS Components PCB Prototyping area covers the following areas:

  • EMI and RFI Shielding Materials
  • PCB Cleaning
  • Metal fabrication, cutting, punching, forming and drilling
  • PCB etching and developing
  • PCB handling
  • PCB spacers, pillars and supports
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