The Importance of Prototype PCB Manufacturing
If you have ever worked in the PCB manufacturing industry, then you have definitely heard the term prototype PCBs. Everyone understands that prototyping as a process is generally used to provide a basic idea of the design and function of the PCB. It can also be used to find the root cause of bugs and other issues, reducing chances of having them in the final product design. However, have you ever given any thought to the various steps that are actually used to create the prototype? Let’s find out.
The Process of Creating a Prototype PCB
The following steps are performed in the PCB prototyping process.
- Speed and flexibility are key factors in developing a new prototype. For this reason, plastic is generally the material of choice in prototyping. It can be cut and bent into the desired shape and size of the PCB. Plastic also allows for rapid prototyping to take place.
- An initial model of the PCB is created using basic materials. This basic type has been created using the specifications agreed upon with the client.
- The initial design is then tested to see if it meets expectations. In case it does not, then the prototype is redesigned and rebuilt. Then it is tested once again to meet specific parameters.
- Once the tests show that the design is reliable, a final prototype PCB is designed with the help of CAD software. Conducting paths and circuits are also finalized here.
- A laser system is used to create the PCB. The artwork is etched onto the plastic, and the circuitry is also created for defect testing.
- The result is a functioning circuit board that works according to the design requirements.
The greatest advantage of prototyping is that new ideas can be tested without any expensive investment in material or components. The level of intricacy that goes into the PCB prototyping phase allows for the manufacture of an error-free PCB that will provide optimum performance in an application.