The Method of Improving the Iterative Speed of PCB Design Prototype
How often do you start the PCB development process and are troubLED by time-consuming management tasks? Once ready for production, it will take your time to conduct a design review and correct DFM issues. With the acceleration of product development progress and the shortening of product life cycle, the pressure of increasing PCB Prototype iteration speed without sacrifICing cost or quality is growing.
Then, how can PCB design teams keep their development progress normal without sacrificing quality or taking the risk of prototype development failure? For any project, there are a series of important management tasks and auxiliary design tasks, but they only take up too much time in the development process. In addition, some tasks in the design process make collaboration clumsy and slow down the overall process of the design team. When designers can collaborate more effectively, they can narrow the gap between PCB prototype design and operation, and quickly complete the products of each iteration without reducing the quality.
The process of improving the iteration speed of PCB prototype
Engineering teams working on complex projects may find it difficult to keep everything in order. The design team needs to develop accurate specifications, functional requirements, user experience requirements, and product delivery schedules, and they need to assign tasks to combine manufacturable PCB layouts. Excellent CAD tools are important and will help everyone maintain productivity, but when it comes to putting boards into production, CAD tools will become secondary tools.
Once entering the PCB prototyping stage, things will become cyclical as the prototype production, testing, redesign and process repeats. Send the design to the manufacturer for review, pass the required changes back to the designer, the customer may need to review the proposed changes, and then repeat the process before prototyping. Finally, your prototype is produced and sent back to the site for testing. If you need a new revision, you have just ended the cycle of prototyping, and you will need to order another circuit board.
Whether you use agile methods or other development processes, improving the speed of PCB prototyping should not sacrifice quality. It should also enable everyone involved in the process to have access to the design at the appropriate time, while keeping track of revision history and maintaining the appropriate level of user access.
Designers use their local design tools and cloud based data sharing/project management tools for the normal collaborative process.
After the design is released, the manufacturer will go through the normal design review process and place notes in the design document to MARK changes.
The designer shall make changes and prepare the final version for production. Then, the manufacturer can receive this information and put the circuit board into manufacturing and assembly.
Ideally, test requirements should be developed prior to manufacturing, although they may need to be updated during manufacturing/assembly. If any online testing is planned during the manufacturing process, these data need to be provided to the manufacturer.
After internal testing, the design team can define new requirements and plan any redesign, or start a new revision.
Each step takes its own time. When you need to go back and forth with manufacturers and assemblers, putting the design into production can be very time-consuming. When your team is working remotely, everyone tends to rely on email links, video chats, and even phone calls to make the necessary design changes to put the new prototype into production. Now, with the help of cloud based collaboration tools for hardware development, designers can change this dynamic and quickly complete each prototype iteration.
Change prototype dynamics
What if you can eliminate unnecessary back and forth communication between most PCB design teams and SIMplify the prototype iteration process? If you can bring the manufacturer into the same environment as the design team, you can speed up the design review during each revision and put it into production faster.
When these sharing and collaboration tools are integrated into your PCB design software, this will proceed at the fastest speed without losing quality. Being able to share design data among all stakeholders helps speed up some key tasks that need to be completed before starting PCB prototype iteration:
DFM marking design change. Design changes can be placed as notes in the board area, at specific locations in the design, or on components in the design document. In this way, your team members or manufacturers can easily recall any changes required to comply with DFM.
Parts procurement. The supply chain moves rapidly, and those components selected at the beginning of design may not be available when they are ready for manufacturing. Cloud based collaboration tools in PCB design software ensure that your manufacturer can help you select alternatives and quickly introduce them into the BOM before production.
Revision tracking. No matter who changes the project, if you need to restore the design, you can access the old revisions as needed.
Output file generation. Sometimes your manufacturer needs to take the lead in generating output files from your design. Granting them access through the cloud can speed up this process and eliminate email back and forth between stakeholders. The PCB processing factory explained the method to improve the iteration speed of PCB design prototype and the PCB development process.