We have different prototyping assembly houses, but cycle times are so long that engineers need to work on 2-5 projects in parallel.
The typical prototype assembly process is:
- one day order process, panelization, quotes
- PCB sourcing 24-48hours for rush orders (factory 2 hours away)
- component sourcing, 1-4 days for most (in parallel with PCB sourcing)
- PCB shipping half a day
- optional stencils, no extra time
- assembly scheduling (0.5-5 days)
- machine and component setup
- assembly of first prototyping 6 boards (0.5-2 days)
- manual follow-up actions if necessary
- exception management when necessary
When really pushing, it may be possible to get everything done in a week and half, but two weeks is more typical.
Is it possible for prototyping assembly as a service to happen radically faster? One day would be great as the overall goal. Given people's salary, context switching costs, overheads costs and opportunity costs from moving to the market faster, price is essentially irrelevant. Having an option of saying we need something and having it materialise without major project management overhead would offset all the reasonable costs.
Can a service like that ever exist? Does it currently? What is the shortest prototyping manufacturing and assembly cycle possible for assembly as a service?