Value Engineering for the Perfect Prototype

Written by Mozma Ahmed

09 March 2022

The design and layout of a printed circuit board (PCB) is a key part of the PCB product life cycle and crucial in achieving the objectives of any electrical product design. Not only does it test the functionality of the product, but it also ensures that it complies to specific certifications, physical size constraints, product cost, and quality goals.


What is a PCB prototype?

A prototype is an early sample of a product, built with the sole purpose of testing the functionality and feasibility of the proposed design.

While it may seem like prototypes add extra steps and costs to the process, prototyping allows the design team to test the functionality of the product during the early stages of the design process, redesigning it and making improvements where necessary before a full production run.

Creating an electronic prototype allows customers to visualise how the board will function in real-time. For example, the design may work in theory but in practice it may not perform to all the key functional design parameters. Therefore, prototyping is a crucial step to evaluate the feasibility of the design.

However, the sole purpose of prototyping should not be focussing entirely on the critical functionality of the proposed design. Instead, partnering with an Electronics Manufacturing Service provider who utilises DFX in the early design process, the designer can deliver design efficiencies and quality improvements, reducing costs and time to market.


Value-Added Value Engineering (VAVE)

CB Technology implements a value-added value engineering (VAVE) service. We provide early life cycle support and evaluate three critical aspects of the product through implementing Design for Materials, Design for Manufacturing, and Design for Test – more commonly known as DF(X).


Material Value Add

Material lifecycle analysis, obsolescence evaluation, and approved manufacturer list provides designers an insight of the product life cycle, removing supply chain risks.

In addition, by working closely with its qualified preferred network of suppliers, this results in reduced costs and time to market, creating higher reliability and build repeatability.


Engineering Value Add

CB Technology’s expert team of engineers can provide feedback on all aspects of the design. This includes physical layout improvements, raising awareness of potential quality risks, cost reduction opportunities, and alternative process design proposals, delivering design efficiencies and quality improvements.


Test Value Add

Testing the functionality of the prototype design is often overlooked and can result in increased cost, significant redesigns, and create lengthy timeline before a full production run. However, it is important to address the test requirements, including board access to critical test points, functional control lines, and embedding test code in the product firmware where applicable – resulting in reduced time to market and ensuring product quality and reliability.

In addition to volume testing, CB Technology supports Design Verification Testing and life cycle reliability testing using x-ray for solder joint and product integrity analysis, and extended temperature cycling and soaking testing.


Finding the right EMS for your project

At CB Technology, we have supported the development of several product designs providing prototyping, preproduction, and ramp to volume manufacturing services across multiple industry sectors.

CB Technology offers both surface-mount technology and through-hole technology, providing the complete PCB manufacturing and assembly solution you require.

We manufacture high-quality prototypes, giving customers the complete confidence. By providing the VAVE service, we enhance the product design and quality which results in reduced costs and time to market.

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the CB Technology team on 01506 497288 or if you would like to discuss a project or have any questions about our services and capabilities.