Especially in the entrepreneurial field, making a PCB Board means adding new features and new benefits to your products: this increases their competitiveness on the market and, consequently, creates a new source of income for the company.
This is why the development phase of PCB Boards can prove to be a long and tiring process: each element must be taken care of in detail to offer added value to the company and to the final consumer. In this article, we will about the ideal process for developing a new PCB Board or proceeding with the revision of an existing board.
The starting point for the development of the PCB Board is always an in – depth consultation. In fact, to be able to carry out a winning project, it is essential to understand what the customer needs is: it can be a company that wants to put a new product on the market; or, it can be a company that wants to innovate the functionality of its products.
It is starting from this initial information that a feasibility study is carried out: the possibility of creating the PCB Board is evaluated based on the complexity of the project, the availability of components, the choice of materials, … Furthermore, the project must obviously fall within the budget that the customer makes available to his supplier.
Once the feasibility study has been carried out and understood that the customer’s idea is feasible, we proceed with the design of the PCB Board. This is a delicate step: it is starting from the project that you can then proceed with a smoother production, without incurring significant problems that could alter the characteristics of the product, require an increase in costs and increase processing times.
During the design, the attention of the technicians must always be oriented to the User Experience. The goal is to put yourself in the shoes of the final consumer: which functions could you appreciate most? What elements could you consider irrelevant?
What difficulties might you encounter in using the product? Starting from the answer to all these questions, a complete project is created, which takes into account the needs of the company but also those of its customers, who in fact are those who will use the product. We see it in more detail in the article dedicated to software interfaces for machines.
Before proceeding with the sampling and construction of the PCB Board, the production department interfaces directly with the customer. The goal is to offer him support to further improve the initial project.
Advice is then given regarding the materials and the type of components to be adopted. Starting from this consultancy, a prototype of the PCB Board is created, an indispensable step especially if production in large batches is planned.
With the prototyping phase, a limited number of PCB Boards are produced, which will then be thoroughly analyzed by means of technical tools to assess whether the result is satisfactory: in this case, the actual production proceeds; otherwise, elements and components are analyzed to understand where the anomalies are.
It is possible to identify errors even when the design phase has been carried out accurately, because each PCB Board can hide pitfalls that are only visible in practice. What matters is to go and correct them promptly.
It may happen that it is necessary to proceed with the revision of an existing PCB Board. This generally happens because:
You want to replace its components or innovate the board to offer the product new functions;
The components have entered into obsolescence and therefore become unavailable.
The final customer, who wants to improve the performance of the product, may request the revision; in some circumstances, it is the supplier who recommends this operation, if he has taken care of the design of the PCB Board. In both cases, we proceed to assess what type of revision is necessary: it may be some minor modification or change one or more codes of the bill of materials.
This last phase may involve the remaking of the Pick & Place machine program, the creation of new documents and so on: therefore, these are decidedly more invasive changes. Also in these cases it is necessary to proceed step by step, from design to prototyping, to avoid making mistakes that could later cause limitations in the performance of the board.
Proceeding with the development of PCB Boards is never a process that the provider of this service faces in complete autonomy. To give life to a winning project, it is necessary that there is an active collaboration between customer and supplier, who will always have the focus on guaranteeing a perfect user experience for the final consumer.