In today’s market, becoming a hardware startup is actually very easy to do. You have fewer limitations to worry about, and there are no more entry barriers to overcome when you are getting started. In fact, more hardware startups are entering the market today than ever before.
That said, there are still challenges to solve before you can bring your hardware product idea to the market. Among those challenges is figuring out how to best design and manufacture the circuit board. Is a custom board really your best option? Here are 3 things you need to know before answering that question.
Optimized Design Is Important
Designing a custom board is easy. You don’t have to be an experienced engineer to experiment with your own routing and configuration. In fact, there are tools like this printed circuit board design software from Altium ready and easy to use. The best tools make designing a custom board easy.
Designing the board alone, however, isn’t enough. You also have to invest in optimizing the board for several purposes, starting with manufacturing purposes. You want the board to be easy and affordable to manufacture. This means making sure that the design is optimized for rapid manufacturing and that components added to the board can be sourced easily.
Optimizing for function is also important. The last thing you want is a custom board that cannot fulfill its primary functions because the components on it overheat all the time for example. While you are at it, make sure the board can fit in a compact, but still functional, case that looks good in the eyes of potential customers.
You Don’t Have to Do Everything
The next thing to understand about designing a custom board for your product is that you don’t need to do everything on your own. There are third-party service providers, manufacturing partners, and companies like Altium we mentioned earlier. These see custom board design and manufacture as their business focus points.
Also, instead of investing in your own manufacturing line, for instance, you can find a reliable partner to work with. Your manufacturing partner can provide inputs on the design of the circuit board, which means you can optimize the board itself in the process.
Lastly, work with solutions providers and developers of PCB design software to streamline your processes even further. When you can design, source components, and plan the entire manufacturing process in a streamlined sweep, you are more likely to solve potential problems before they materialize into real issues.
Last but certainly not least, it is worth noting that getting started with designing your own board is not easy. You will run into problems with the design itself. At the very least, the first version of your board will not be perfect.
That is part of the process. You can work on refining the design of the board or choose to go with a pre-built board altogether as you go along. The sooner you realize this, the easier it will be to start bringing your hardware product ideas to reality.