How Does Prototyping Help?

Rush PCB recommends that OEMs ensure a printed circuit board is functioning properly before starting a full production run. Although designers are careful when working on a project, invisible problems and small mistakes can pose a threat to the functioning of the PCB. If these problems are not sorted out before starting a full production run, the project as a whole may run into extra expenses, making it essential for designers to order prototype boards before giving the go-ahead for full-scale manufacturing.

At Rush PCB, we offer prototyping as an essential service. Designers refer to the prototype as an early sample of a product. They build the prototype with the purpose of testing the design idea to ensure if the idea works properly. Although designers make prototypes of their products to test its basis functionality, they make PCB prototypes with the aim it will be fully functional, as the PCB prototype allows testing the total functionality of the product.


OEMs use different types of prototypes to test different stages of their design over the course of a project. The process may require multiple PCB prototypes at various stages. Usually the prototypes include:

Base Visual Models: These prototypes illustrate the physical aspects of the PCB related to the overall shape and component structure. As the first prototypes in the design process, designers use them to review the design to make it easy and affordable.

Proof-of-Concept: These prototypes demonstrate the primary functioning of the board and most often do not possess the complete capabilities of the final product. Designers use these prototypes to primarily demonstrate the viability of the design.

Working Prototypes: Designers use working prototypes to ensure the board functions as per plan with all features and functions of the final product. Testing these prototypes identifies weaknesses or problems in the design, allowing designers to rectify them before they build the functional prototype.

Functional Prototypes: These prototypes are meant to be as close to the final product as is possible. Designers use functional prototypes to demonstrate the working of the final product. The prototype PCB at this stage is usually fully functional.

Rush PCB recommends using prototype PCBs through the entire design cycle. Repeatedly testing prototypes along the design cycle helps designers confirm the viability and functionality of every new addition or change. Although making prototypes and testing them may seem to add time and expense to the design process, it offers several advantages to the OEMs and their clients, such as:

  • Reducing the Timeline
  • Review and Assistance during Manufacturing
  • Solving Design Issues before Production Starts
  • Testing Components Individually
  • Reducing Project Costs

Reducing the Timeline

Designers usually go through several iterations before deciding on a final product. In this process, prototypes help to consolidate the different steps that designers take—they can test the prototype and fix the problems before the final production run. Solving problems that crop up later in the design cycle usually takes longer.

Rush PCB specializes in quick PCB prototype turnarounds—visit our website today.

Review and Assistance during Manufacturing

OEMs using a third-party PCB prototyping service benefit from the assistance they provide. Third parties usually have experienced personnel helping in design rule checking (DRC), design for manufacturing (DFM), and design for assembly (DFA). Unless designers review and sort out these problems, they can lead to inefficiencies, design flaws, and other issues during production.

Working closely with the PCB contract manufacturer during the prototyping phase can help OEMs make the most of the expertise the contract manufacturer provides. This also helps to align the design to the capabilities of the contract manufacturer, ultimately allowing the production run to go through smoothly.

Rush PCB is a renowned contract manufacturer for PCBs—visit our website today.

Solving Design Issues before Production Start

A prototype PCB makes it much easier for designers to solve their design issues before production start. The more accurate the design and the prototype, the better they can identify the flaw. Accurate boards help designers assess whether the practical performance of the PCB matches its theoretical predictions, check for the differences, update them, and to reevaluate their potentiality.

Designers need to appropriately test their PCBs to make sure they can survive the environment conditions the product must endure. The best way to do this is to verify that the prototype can survive the conditions. Designers usually subject their prototypes to undergo power variation testing, temperature variation testing, shock resistance testing and more.

Use the expertise of Rush PCB to get accurate prototypes—visit our website today.

Testing Components Individually

For large systems, engineers use prototype PCBs for testing singular components and functions, before integrating them into the system. Such individual testing helps in proof-of-concept runs, and allows an engineer to test and verify a design idea. It also helps them to break down a complex idea into smaller basic parts, thereby ensuring each of these parts function on their own before the designer can integrate them.

Reducing Project Costs

Solving PCB problems during production runs can be expensive and cause unnecessary delays, leading to longer time to market. By periodically testing with prototypes and solving the issues early on, the OEM is actually reducing a cost buildup and saving money by reducing wastage.

Depending on the specific design, prototypes help a designer try out different combinations of material and components. This allows the design teams to work out the best and most economical combination to use for their project.

Rush PCB is a leader in PCB prototype services, and serves over 400 clients in the United Kingdom. Our commitment to quality and attention to details is what makes us stand out from the rest in the industry.

For all your prototype purposes, call us today or visit our website.