The Benefits of Rapid Prototyping in PCB Manufacturing

The Benefits of Rapid Prototyping in PCB Manufacturing

Technology has brought many new inventions and ideas. However, every new invention needs to be well-designed and tested to ensure there are no significant errors or faults.

Even though prototyping is a good strategy for PCB manufacturers, it is a long process that can take a long time to complete. Hence, the best solution to the problem is rapid PCB prototyping. 

What is Rapid PCB Prototyping? 

Before mass production of printed circuit boards, a trial production known as PCB prototyping is conducted. The main aim of PCB prototyping is to test and ensure that the PCB design meets the project’s functional needs. However, the process may take a long time.

Hence, the best option is Rapid prototyping. Similar to rapid prototyping metal parts, Rapid prototyping also can be used in PCB production. It helps to speed up design and testing processes. Rapid PCB prototyping produces smaller quantities of PCBs, between five and a hundred units.

Rapid prototyping only takes 8 hours for a double-sided prototype and 36 hours for a multilayer prototype. And with the maturity of the printed circuit board manufacturing process, the speed of rapid PCB prototyping is getting faster. 

The benefits of Rapid Prototyping in PCB Manufacturing

Since rapid PCB prototyping remains the fastest and most accurate method of realizing the potential of a circuit board, more and more firms are adopting the technology. Below are the main benefits of rapid prototyping in PCB manufacturing. 

Accurate results

One significant benefit of rapid PCB prototyping is getting accurate results. PCB prototypes help designers observe and test every circuit design to ensure it functions accurately. 

Since prototypes offer a functional replica of the PCB design, the designers can accurately represent what the final board will look like. They can change the layout before the final production if there are faults. 

Quick turnaround

Another main advantage of rapid PCB prototyping is the speed. Unlike other technologies, rapid prototyping offers a quick turnaround. It also reduces the fabrication time from weeks to hours. 

The speed of fabrication helps the designers to be creative by eliminating wait times. This means the designers can manage to try several designs before running a total production. 

Small volumes

Rapid prototypes produce small quantities of prototype PCBs for testing. Hence, you do not waste much money on dozens of prototype boards you may not need. 

Cost reduction

With rapid prototyping, companies can reduce their costs. The designers can find and solve problems before an entire production run. Moreover, it reduces production costs by quickening the testing and verification processes. 


Another benefit of rapid PCB prototyping is that designers can be flexible. This means they can make several modifications to the board. By getting prototypes faster, they can spend time verifying and assessing all areas and making adjustments. 

Small volumes

Since rapid prototyping produces small volumes of prototypes, your company does not need to spend much money on large volumes of prototype circuit boards. 

Near-instant feedback

The quicker turnaround means that when something goes wrong in the design or some areas need changes; it can be done faster without interfering with the project timeline. 

Smarter testing

Throughout the prototyping process, it is possible to modify and redesign the product at a rapid pace. This enhances the final product by allowing more innovative testing and a more informed improvement process.

Rapid PCB prototyping applications 

Rapid PCB prototyping is vital to almost every electronic design application. Nevertheless, some industries benefit more from rapid prototyping than others. 

Some of the applications that benefit from rapid prototyping are:

Automotive Printed Circuit Boards

Almost all cars are equipped with intelligent systems run by circuit boards. Hence, they must work properly. Therefore, prototypes ensure that PCBs used in cars meet all functional requirements before full production. 

Medical industry printed circuit boards.

Developers in the medical sector use rapid prototyping in their development cycle. Printed circuit boards in the medical field are used in implants, lab equipment, and imaging devices. 

Hence, rapid prototypes help the designers test every PCB’s functionality before the full production run. Also, rapid prototyping enhances results within the medical sector by allowing quicker PCB testing. 

Things to Consider when Looking for a Rapid PCB Prototype Manufacturer

If you are searching for a rapid PCB prototyping manufacturer, you must ensure you pick the best. You do not want to waste your time and money on an inexperienced partner. 

Below are the key things to look into when looking for a rapid PCB partner

The ability of rapid manufacturing

It is important to note that not all partners are into rapid manufacturing. Therefore, you need to engage a company with the ability to offer rapid manufacturing. 

A reliable rapid PCB prototype manufacturer should have advanced PCB prototype production equipment, skilled and experienced personnel, and a fast PCB prototype manufacturing process. 

Instant quotes

Also, look for a rapid PCB supplier who can offer instant quotes. This is because they should demonstrate they can produce prototypes within the shortest time possible. 

Therefore, if their quotation process is not fast, you do not expect them to offer quick PCB prototyping services. 

Experienced rapid PCB prototyping manufacturer

Since this process requires a lot of skills and experience, it is important to research the manufacturer before engaging them. One key area you need to look into is experience. 

It would help if you involved a manufacturer in the rapid PCB prototyping industry for several years. This is because an experienced prototyping company knows what you require, and they will offer you advice on your project. 

Final thoughts

Printed circuit board prototypes are essential in the PCB manufacturing process. They ensure there are no faults before the full production run and help companies save time and money. 

However, working with a rapid PCB prototyping company that understands the process correctly is essential. Whether you need single-sided, double-sided, or multilayer PCB prototypes, research more about the company before hiring them. 

About the author


Steven Ly

Steven Ly is the Startup Program and Events Manager at TheNextHint Inc. She recruits rockstar startups for all TC events including Disrupt, meetups, Sessions, and more both domestically and internationally. Previously, she helped produce Dreamforce with Salesforce and Next '17 with Google. Prior to that, she was on the advertising teams at both Facebook and AdRoll, helping support advertisers in North America and helped grow those brands globally. Outside of work, Priya enjoys Flywheel, tacos, the 49ers, and adventuring around the globe.

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