Do you have a great idea for a new product with electronics? Want to materialize your idea into a real product and take it to the market? Well, the first thing to do is to develop a working prototype. Prototype development of products with electronics is essential in order to test and try the products before introducing them to the actual consumers. So, where should you begin when it comes to prototype development of products with electronics?
Prototype development of products with electronics is, no doubt, challenging and expensive. You also would not get the desired results immediately without a prototype. If you, however, break down the product prototype development process into manageable steps, it is possible to succeed with the working prototype.
Prototype development of most products with electronics can be divided into two segments – the electronics segment and the plastic case segment. Let us have a look at each of these segments.
The Electronics Segment
Developing a prototype of the electronics segment of your conceived product can be divided into four steps.
If you are well-versed with electronics or if you are a do-it-yourselfer, you can skip the first two steps. Else, you will need to team up with a product prototype development company that is experienced in the development of prototypes for products with electronics.
Step 1. Create the Schematic
The first step in the development of the electronics segment is the creation of the electronics blueprint or schematic for your product. This blueprint states all the important details to build the electronics segment, including how the necessary components and modules are connected together.
Which components are needed will also be specified in the schematic. A bill of materials (BOM) or associated list will be prepared, itemizing every electronic item.
Step 2. Develop a Basic Prototype
Depending on your project and your budget, you may or may not want to develop a basic prototype of the electronics segment.
In order to create basic prototypes for the electronics segment, you can use breadboards. Utilizing breadboards, you can somewhat crudely, but fairly quickly connect various electronic components. If your project requires advanced electronics, you may also use ready-to-use modules like the Raspberry Pi and Arduino.
Step 3. Design a PCB Layout
You will, at some point, require a production-quality prototype of your conceived product. And in order to create a production-quality prototype, you will require the design and creation of a PCB (printed circuit board).
A printed circuit board is a custom-designed board that holds and connects all the necessary electronic components. Utilizing a special computer application, electronic engineers can turn the schematic of the electronics segment of the conceived product into a virtual layout. Designing a PCB layout is challenging because anything out-of-place can have a big impact on the performance of the final product.
Step 4. Fabrication of the PCBs & Assembly of the Electronic Components
After having a definitive PCB layout, you will need to send the layout to an electronics prototype development company for construction. Such a prototype development company will first fabricate empty PCBs.
After the fabrication of the PCBs, the next step is to assemble the various components on the PCBs through soldering. Most of the modern electronic components are minute and compact, making it very difficult to solder them manually. Therefore, a product prototype development company might employ automated machines to solder the compact and minute electronic components.
The Plastic Case Segment
Most products with electronics need some enclosure, and plastic cases are often the best choice. In order to create a custom-shaped plastic case for your prototype, you will need to utilize 3D printing or CNC machining.
Step 1. Create a 3D Model
You need to first design a 3D computer model of the required plastic parts. Unless you are proficient at creating 3D computer models, you will need someone expert for this step.
Even if you are capable of creating 3D computer models yourself, the computer software required to create definitive 3D models is very expensive; hence, it may be in your best interest to hire a 3D modeling expert.
Step 2. 3D Printing
Once you have the 3D model of the plastic case or other plastic parts, you can send the design files to a 3D printer for effortless and rapid prototyping. If you do not have a 3D printer, you can approach a prototype shop that offers a 3D printing service.
On the other hand, you can also procure your own 3D printer. In the past several years, 3D printers have become cheap enough for personal use.
For the large-scale production of certain plastic cases and parts, however, a completely different technology is utilized. It is called high-pressure injection molding. Shifting a plastic design from a mere prototype to full-scale production is a complex as well as an expensive process. Therefore, teaming up with a plastic product manufacturer, that specializes in plastic product manufacturing with different techniques, will be a wise move on your part.
Product prototype development is vital. Once you have a working prototype of your electronic product, you can proceed to get potential stakeholders, customer feedback, and a mass manufacturing partner. The path to success of a product with electronics is long, but it all begins with a product prototype.
If you need help with prototype development for products with electronics, then get in touch with GID Development Corporation. A new product prototype development company in California, USA, GID Development Corporation utilizes state-of-the-art technologies in order to develop precise product prototypes quickly and economically.
Aside from product prototype development, GID Development Corporation also provides product design, product development, and other product fulfillment services. GID also possesses the skills and knowledge of a plastic product manufacturer that help them develop various plastic parts, components, and cases using different injection molding techniques.
Whether it is design, development or prototyping of products with electronics, products with imbedded software, mechanical products, electromechanical products, medical device products, or any generic or special-purpose products, GID Development Corporation will certainly “GET IT DONE!”
To learn more about GID Development Corporation, visit http://www.gidcompany.com/.
If you have any question regarding product design, product development or product prototype development, simply give GID a call. Currently, GID is offering a free 15-minute telephonic conference. So, just call Jim Grimes at 714-323-1052 between 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM PST.