When to Use PCB Prototype Service and When to Switch to Standard Production Service

Developing a new PCB based solution can be a time consuming and laborious process. Reducing the time and cost associated with the development process can greatly improve your next project's chance of success. In this article we will discuss the advantages of beginning your design verification with prototype PCBs and then the advantages of shifting to standard grade PCBs once you have validated your design.

Get Your Next PCB Design off the Ground with PCB Prototype Service

When you are just starting the development of a new product our rapid PCB prototyping service can help you get your new design from concept to production in record time. When developing a new product, quickly iterating through new versions of your design is of the utmost importance. Rapidly testing and correcting designs is what will allow you to hone in on a finish product as quickly as possible. Additionally, it is also well known that making large engineering changes to a design is best done in the early phases of product development. PCB Prototyping service can allow you to locate just such design change requirements early in the development cycle. Spot design errors in low quantity prototype production runs of your PCB board before ramping up production volume. Hence, it allows you to refine your next design quickly at an affordable cost.


As the saying goes, "time is money" and waiting on long lead time PCBs can doom a project to failure. That is why we offer quick-turn PCB prototype service, which builds your proto boards in as little as 2 working days. Additionally, this service is well suited to low volume production runs with a minimum order quantity of only five boards.


Although our prototype PCBs do not have as high of production tolerances as standard circuit boards, they allow you to get a very good idea of how well your final production version work. Having an accurate view of how your final design will turn out is of great importance to ensuring that your design is successful. Our prototyping service provides you with a nearly identical product to that of a high volume standard production run, albeit at slightly lower manufacturing tolerances. Despite the lower production tolerances, we support track widths down to 4mils and track spacing down to 4mils, 5mils minimum annular rings and minimum drill sizes down to 0.2mm (8mils). Additionally, we can manufacture PCB up to 16 layers and 500x500 mm in size, covering most PCB applications. Reviewing these capabilities, it is apparent that our prototyping service will allow you to test and verify demanding tight tolerance designs at a lower cost, with shorter turnaround times than what you would encounter with standard PCB services.


When developing surface mount based solutions, it's also of great utility to order solder stencils for prototype assembly purposes. You need to test your circuit design and make sure it is good for huge production.

Transitioning to Standard PCB Service Once You Have a Finalized Design

Once you have an optimized prototype design in hand, we can help you take the next step with a high volume production run of standard PCBs using our Standard PCB service, which has tighter production tolerances than the prototype service. It supports track widths down to 3mils and track spacing down to 3mils, 3mils minimum annular rings and minimum drill sizes down to 6mils and even includes free DFM analysis. We're capable to print advanced circuit boards in dimensions up to 600x700 mm, allowing you to implement even the largest PCB designs. In the event that you have a very demanding design or large design, our Standard PCB service will allow you to meet the challenge.


Included in the standard PCB service is our Design for Manufacture analysis of all standard PCBs to insure that your PCB design will turn out as expected. We will look for all issues that could potentially side track your PCB, including potential acid traps, missing solder mask between fine pitch device pins and other design rule violations. This value-added service is applied to insure the success of your PCB projects.


When you are ready to transition a design from the prototype phase to the production phase our Standard PCBs are the solution. We can provide you with greater costs savings when ordering in higher volumes and provide you with a tighter tolerance product. Our standard PCB service is your solution for PCB production order. We list detailed PCB manufacturing capabilities comparision of PCB prototype service and standard production service in our blog, feel free to read it before deciding which option to use.

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