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Topic: from prototype to product (Read 3576 times) previous topic - next topic


Hi, it's my first post about topic "Product Design", I hope my question is not too general.

At our lab we developed a working prototype of an experimental interactive device, here there is a video:

The device is essentially composed by three parts:
  • a custom PCB arduino based (including sensors and actuators)
  • a protective box for the PCB
  • a soft pillow

So far we performed all handcrafted operations needed to produce the prototype (soldering PCB, sewing the fabric, printing the box, etc.). Obviously the device should be improved (for example through the PCB engineering; through testing the electronics for safety; etc.). 

The question is: if we wanted to produce the device for market, are there companies that take charge of the whole production process (meaning: PCB engineering, pillow assembly, safety test, whole device assembly, etc.) ? If yes, do you have any advice? Any company name to refer to? Or do we have to find several companies, each one in charge of a single production step? In this last case, who takes charge of whole product assembly?

Thanks a lot for advices, we have no experience about industrial production.     


I work in the automotive industry as a project engineer and we do have some companies that make complete assemblies for us, but they are highly specialized and mostly in China.  It may be rather difficult to find a company to handle all of the assembly and testing for your specific product, especially if your annual volumes are low.

Your best bet would be to look for companies in China or other LCC's (Low Cost Countries), that is really the best chance you have of making the approach cost effective.  However, if it were me, I would try to figure out a way to do the final assembly myself and outsource the PCB manufacturing,raw materials, and testing until sales increase and force a large scale change. Making a large investment in automation tooling isn't quite so scary when there are solid sales behind it.   

Here is a list of some of the companies I have worked with. They are just examples, I don't know if they would be right for you.

Double Circle - Final Assemblies (Automotive)

Galaxy Circuits - Blank PCB fabrication
NCAB Group - PCB experts; they are a network of different manufacturers

Trace Laboratories - Testing (I do not know what testing is required for your industry or application)

Hope this helps you at least a little bit.


Thank a lot, they are the answers I was looking for :)


Yes, there are a lot of manufacturers you can outsource. As kundingerc said, LCC's are your best choice for their cost effectiveness -- you can have more of those done at a reasonable price. This is one way to easily produce products especially if you see a lot of potential in yours; however, if you want to go the safer way, take heed of kundingerc's advice regarding outsourcing.


More than a few Kickstarter projects worked with Dragon Innovation to get from prototype to production.

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