Product-based startupstake big risks in today’s market. Launching an innovative company is like a double-edged sword: there are more investors than ever who are looking for the next groundbreaking technology and willing to throw thousands, or even millions; yet, with so many companies launching on lean budgets and the startup culture thriving, there’s plenty of competition.
If you’ve designed a new piece of technology, chances are you want to get it tested and demonstrate it as soon as possible. And like most technology, your product likely requires a printed circuit board. By now, you’ve added a PCB download to your computer and created a board of your own. But what’s next? If you’ve got the groundwork in place, here’s why you should use a prototype PCB manufacturer:
During early stages, a prototype has many roles in the progression of your product and business as a whole. Without a working prototype, it’s nearly impossible to get product validation. An idea or concept—even when the sketches and mockups are completely logical—can only take you so far. Investors want to see a working product, and you’ll need a prototype to file for a patent and protect your intellectual property.
Work Out the Kinks
Prototypes allow you to work out the kinks in the product. The last thing you want to do is ramp up production volume for your technology, only to discover design errors or ineffective component placements during testing. Additionally, when you have a prototype that is similar to the final product, you can better understand the manufacturing process and can smooth out fine details that allow you to streamline mass production when the time comes. For many growing startups, the goal is being able to discern whether your product and design meets your quality and performance standards.
When you work with a company that provides PCB prototyping, you have the opportunity to engage in a partnership with a business that offers a very niche service and has plenty of experience in that segment. These companies are well-versed in the latest market developments, understand compliance and trend regulations, and can help you improve the quality of your product.
Overhead costs are crucial when it comes to PCB manufacturing, and niche companies can reduce your upfront investment costs significantly. When you use PCB prototyping services, you aren’t paying for hundreds of boards at once, because it isn’t necessary. Instead, many manufacturers offer specialized services particularly for startup companies looking for early prototypes. This level of flexibility is ideal for a limited startup budget, and oftentimes necessary.
Startups that attempt to manufacture their own prototype circuit boards will require certified labor and advanced technology and equipment—resources that are difficult to come by when you should be adopting a lean approach to market. And lastly, with a prototype PCB company, you’ll be able to continuously refine your design at a highly affordable cost, too.
Specialty companies understand how to meet demands and deadlines—especially when startup businesses rely on their prototypes to take their business to the next level. With a prototype service, you can go from concept to prototype at record speed.
Anytime you have a new product unlike anything on the market, you need to be able to quickly go through iterations and test various versions of your product. Making major engineering alterations is best done when the product is still fresh, and there’s plenty of wiggle room for mistakes. Pinpointing and executing necessary changes early in the development cycle will save you time, headache, and money later down the line. Some companies can manufacture prototype boards within three business days.
Understand the Disadvantages
Like most things, there are advantages and disadvantages you need to consider. While the advantages are clearly outlined here, it’s important to know more about the disadvantages, too. For instance, printed prototype boards do not have tolerances as high as those found on standard, mass-produced boards.
Although great services offer you nearly identical product compared to a high volume standard production run, the manufacturing tolerance does take a bit of a hit. Some boards require higher tolerances than others, so lower tolerances may not be as big of a problem for you depending on the complexity of your design.