Poll: Companies are Wanting to Undertake PCB Prototyping From Within

Polling of printed circuit board (PCB) designers and manufacturers, electrical engineers, Original equipment manufacturers and others excited about 3D-printed circuit boards and circuits unveils that there is escalating need for in-house prototyping for research and product development. The desire is primarily keen among the companies that invest as much or more than $100,000 annually for prototyping solutions.

Of the at least 975 respondents – that represent 31 industries and disciplines and 25 nations – involved in the questionnaire operated by Nano Dimension Ltd., 70 percent shell out nearly $50,000 and 14 percent mentioned they spend more than $50,000 on a yearly basis on circuit board prototyping. Moreover, a full 16 percent, or 142 participants, are paying out in excess of $100,000 to outsourced prototyping providers yearly. The vast majority of participants said that the prototyping fees were significant basically because they call for the manufacturing of complicated, multi-layer circuit boards – with 66 % of those surveyed indicating their designs come with multiple layers.

While at least 9 in 10 answerers stated their establishments depend on offsite prototyping plants now, pretty much 2 in 3 expressed they feel their intellectual property (IP) is in jeopardy if they do this. Many state they really wish selections for producing their own PCBs inside.

“Designers and engineers undoubtedly expect shorter turnaround times and diminished risk when mailing out their design files for prototyping,” said Simon Fried, Nano Dimension’s CBO and a firm co-founder. “But with the majority of the manufacturing houses located in China, timeliness is hardly ever an option. Indeed, often they end up with PCB boards for production that are not enhanced as much as they would like caused by the long lead times. And mailing designs invariably rises the probabilities that the IP could be cloned or taken.”

Even if the prototyping houses are completely known partners, the time constraints regarding outsourcing can contrain ingenuity. A number of designers rely on “safe” circuit card designs instead of exploring innovative new ideas for fear they may bring about a lot of versions – and raised delays – with the prototyping factory.

“With ground breaking substitutes such as Nano Dimension’s DragonFly 2020 3D Printer, the electronics can eventually catch up to other forms of manufacturing that have taken advantage of additive manufacturing,” Fried said. “Our survey demonstrates the need is out there, and the market is all set for 3D-printed circuit cards which can be made on-site soon and cheaply.”

Nano Dimension, a pacesetter in 3D printed electronics, facilitates the study on its web-site. Contributors represent industries covering everything from PCB board makers and OEMs to engineering, defense, manufacturing, aerospace, electronics, medical-related, sensors and wearables, telecommunications, energy and the others.

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