Are you looking to develop electronics but are getting confused about where to start with electronics manufacturing? Don’t worry. A custom electronics manufacturer will take care of the technical side of the production process. This article will learn the process and how to choose the cheapest manufacturer.
How Does a Custom Electronics Manufacturer Work?
Developing any electronics requires attention to many aspects such as product assembly, internal and external design, packaging, and arranging mass production. Let’s have a clear picture.
Develop a Concept
The manufacturer comes up with different ideas to make a product commercially successful during this step. And a team of experts decides the technical and functional aspects of the future development.
Following this, industry specialists and technical experts create a document specifying details of the new product and its concept design. The specification details include all the products required during the production process.
At this stage, experts also conduct detailed product research and create a business plan after selecting a business model.
To summarize, this stage comprises all the documentation work related to the product concept.
Create CAD files
Once the concept is ready, technicians need to create a custom design using computer-aided design software. This software is unique for electronics manufacturing. You can select different objects to make a model of your design. Creating a CAD file helps a lot in electronics manufacturing, such as:
- This model is purely mathematical and has all the dimensional data of the parts.
- The manufacturer gets an idea of the physical volume and the different parts’ geometry.
- It also allows manufacturers to get an idea of the raw material needed.
- The raw data of the CAD file helps generate the cutting program of the raw material.
- Finally, it helps the maker understand whether this design will fit with other parts.
Overall, the design teams generally create a 3D design so that experts can analyze the model from any angle at this stage.
Design the printed circuit board
Designing a PCB or printed circuit board is the backbone of all electronic devices. It is a laminated layer that holds and connects all the device’s electrical components. And it routes the electrical signals and brings your electronic devices to life.
First of all, PCB design software creates a PCB layout.
Then, the output of PCB software comes in the form of a PCB schematic Gerber file. A PCB design must match the schematic design of the product.
The PCB design generally takes more time as components have to be packed more tightly. Further, if some products need more power or work on Wi-fi, PCB layout and design become more critical and time-consuming.
Once the PCB design is ready, it goes for a DFM check. This step helps avoid any discrepancies that can fail the PCB before prototyping.
Image: blue circuit board
Create a product prototype
This prototype is functional and looks very close to the final product based on the above steps. Manufacturers will test this prototype on all parameters before mass production starts. These tests include product validation tests, design validation tests, and engineering validation tests. Once the prototypes pass all the tests, it helps the custom electronics manufacturer to finalize the cost of your Bill of materials.
In addition, the prototypes help in overcoming any shortcomings in the product.
Image: production line
Finalize the Bill of materials
After completing the prototype, the manufacturer generates all the numbers, quantities, and specifications of electronic components, parts, and raw materials needed during production. This list refers to the Bill of materials (BOM).
Once the manufacturer finalizes the BOM, he arranges for mass production, and gets all the related assemblies, certifications, and packaging aspects ready.
Arrange Mass production with quality control
Now the product will undergo full-scale industrial manufacturing that is ready for sale to the end customers. During mass production, several experts and a team of engineers help in:
- Technological process control.
- Quality control, so that the first and last product manufactured comes up with the same quality and standards.
- Assessing component availability.
- Determine and deal with the production defects (if any).
- Increase the test coverage and improve the procedures for detected bottlenecks in production.
- Optimize the production process to save time and money to deliver affordable custom electronics.
Image: industrial workers with notebooks and teamwork
The cheapest way to get a custom electronics manufacturer
Undoubtedly custom electronics design and manufacturing are pretty expensive, and you have to think smartly to make your plans affordable and reduce the manufacturing cost.
Look for a manufacturer in China.
China is the best place to manufacture electronic products because they have a complete supply chain globally. China has many thousands of factories, making any part imaginable. They are exceptionally unmatched in any amount that needs custom-made: housings, batteries, PCBs, motors, LCDs, cables, and so on.
Find a team with excellent language skills.
Product development is a highly interactive experience from a design perspective, especially if engaging with an external team. Therefore whoever you hire needs to have EXCEPTIONAL communication skills, both in language and general ability to communicate with you. If they don’t, the process will take months, if not years longer than it needs to, and cost a lot more as well.
Don’t send your design to everyone.
Ask manufacturers for a design; it takes a lot of time. If they do not get it, you may feel frustrated. They can misuse or use your plan without your permission. Beware of such scams and share your designs wisely to protect your wealth.
Design for low production cost
Your designers should not go overboard with the design. Design should conform to components already available in the market, or manufacturers can easily procure them. Too complex a scenario leads to higher quotes from manufacturers.
We at Bloom are experts in making affordable custom electronics. Whether you want to create a design or look to manufacture an already designed product, our electronics production experts will help you with all the relevant expert advice and solutions.