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When you're considering parts for your prototype, take a moment to think about your part numbering system. If your prototype is right, and you move to production, organization will be a big part of what makes/breaks you as you scale.

 

Essentially, when it comes to naming your parts, your choices are an intelligent part numbering scheme, or a non-intelligent part numbering scheme. If you're trying to decide which one is right for you, here are a few pros and cons of intelligent part numbering.

 

(And go here for another full article on the advantages/disadvantages of intelligent part numbering.)


A few pros/cons of intelligent part numbering

AdvantagesWhy it works
Efficient searching - If you’ve labeled all resistors with part  numbers starting with ‘RES’ (for example), you can more easily group  similar parts in your design documentation together and swiftly sort  among them.
Clear frame of reference for each part - Descriptive part numbers specify the group  to which every part belongs, so you can immediately see when a part is  in the wrong group.
Process efficiency - Because parts with similar naming  conventions are all handled the same way, you can predefine the change  routings, review processes and manufacturing steps for each part number  class or category.
Disadvantages -
Why it’s a challenge
Training and knowledge required - The individual responsible for assigning  part numbers must understand which group to place the part in and how  subgroups interact. Because so much is based on the naming convention,  mis-naming a part can jeopardize the product design.
Ongoing maintenance - Descriptive part numbers require foresight  and continual adjustment as you incorporate new parts into your design.  Part group sizes must also be considered in advance so you don’t get  stuck with a significant number string 0-9 and an eleventh part.

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