Faster, Chug-a-Chug … Faster, Chug-a-Chug …

Ever long for the days when you could lazily send out your files to get boards fabbed and a prototype assembled and then have a leisurely couple of weeks waiting for it all to completed and returned? Well, we’re not going to help you get back to that. In fact, we try to do the opposite. Let’s make everything speedier and speedier. I hope that’s okay.

Screaming Circuits’ PCB fab partner, Sunstone Circuits just added in a bit more to that end. Back in the old days, if you needed PCBs fabbed in 24 hours, you had to stick with two-layer boards. Not any more. They recently started offering four-layer PCBs fabbed in 24 hours in their PCBexpress quick-turn service. No rest for the weary. That’s especially cool if you’re having signal integrity problems and need to add in a ground and/or power plane layer.

Duane Benson
If by approaching the speed of light, time speeds up for you,
does time slow down for you as you approach “stopped”?

One thought on “Faster, Chug-a-Chug … Faster, Chug-a-Chug …

  1. Duane,
    Thanks for update…

    The speed of pcb fabrication today … regardless of layers …and from numerous sources can be VERY fast…
    Kinda kills most of the need/value of having in-house board making for prototypes…
    (there are a few exceptions – generally related to RF characterization on new substrates)

    Schematic capture, pcb design / pcb fab / pcb assembly / preliminary functional test of completed pcb assembly/ and shipping time to customer in another state?
    We have done ALL of this on designs with: 8 layers , hundreds of different components (if we have them in stock) .. within one week! ( including 3 day turn on pcb )…
    Speed to produce prototype pcb assemblies? not a problem.

    What I find to be the biggest issues in quickly creating a new product prototype?
    – customer’s bureaucracy (approval processes)
    – lead times for components ( Can be mitigated with careful planning/design.. most of the time)
    – and oddly enough.. custom sheet metal pieces. I have a hard time finding a supplier that can consistently ….cut/bend the part, get it anodized, get silkscreened (labeling) in less than 3 weeks.
    I can (yea, with more money) design and prototype custom molded parts much quicker!

    Of course… some of this is outside the scope of “pcb design and prototyping”.
    but if you are truly interested in improving your customer experience or changing design paradigms.. you need to address the entire process.

    Screaming Circuits, Digikey, others… are trying to address many of the related issues (example: design libraries) .. based on what has been reported during the last few months… this is good.

    When complete design times are consistently reduced to a few weeks (total)… everything changes..

    – if the product’s prototype takes more than 3 months…. it’s definition/specifications will likely change before it is complete.
    – if a product’s specifications change before it’s complete .. the project will be delayed by more than a revision cycle… a lot of manager’s don’t realize this… it is not obvious.
    – the faster a prototype can be put into the hands of the customer (internal or external).. the more likely the product will be finalized with minimal revisions… and the more likely to hit it’s “window of opportunity” in the market place (obvious).

    I have seen Foxconn design a pcb layout, Fab the pcb and assemble a prototype for a large customer (no schematic capture/design included) with significant complexity (300 parts, 10 layers, tight component placement )… in 3 days.
    However, with all of that.. they(and their customer) still waste many months in the definition of the product.

    Clearly … a “disconnect” between processes ….

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