Top Considerations while selecting a PCB Assembly Manufacturer!
Are you wondering whether you need PCB assembly ever? Of course, you do. There are certain applications that do require low-volume or high-volume PCB assembly. But if you are constrained by the resources like budget, you would want a certified PCB Assembly Manufacturer to help you out within your constraints.
But what do you need to look for when choosing a PCB assembly manufacturer?
Of course, the cost would be your first and foremost priority. You need your PCB assembly manufacturer to reduce the cost which is the trickiest part in fact. Think about it, with the rapid evolution in technology, you often require the latest components and sophisticated parts but they shouldn’t exceed your budget limitations. The million-dollar question is how can you incorporate these modern components and out-of-box features within your PCB without letting the prices go sky-high?
Undoubtedly, your circuit boards would be amazing but if the prices are skyrocketing, can you afford to sell them? Less likely right? So, you need to come up with a solution that offers the best technology within your budget.
So how can you cut down the costs while maintaining the quality of the PCB Assembly?
Many PCB Assembly Manufacturers claim to provide you the lowest prices but how far their claims are true? Remember, not all PCB assembly manufacturers deliver on their promise of providing you high-quality circuit boards at a lower cost. You need to find if it is credible to believe that the PCB assembly manufacturer won’t compromise on the quality. So, it is vital to find out a professional and reliable contract manufacturer that can balance both the quality and cost.
Stay vigilant while making the decision. Have a clear understanding of your project requirements and do thorough research on the PCB assembly manufacturers. You can gather as much information as possible through various means to avoid any further mistakes.
How to Choose a PCB Manufacturer
1. Modern Equipment
For a high-quality and efficient board, you need to have the latest equipment. You can focus on choosing a company that uses Surface-Mount Technology (SMT) since it is associated with high manufacturing speed and placement of components.
2. Single Supplier
Find a low volume PCB assembly manufacturer who can be your one-stop supplier for all your board needs. You can avoid coordinating and interacting with multiple vendors and multiple organizations. Everything will be handled by a single vendor.
3. Ask for Prototypes
Irrespective of the size of the boards, you need to find out what the prototype looks like. Even if they charge you, it is better to go with it as PCB prototypes will provide you to have a preliminary look at your design and work on improvements if required.
4. Quality Certifications
If you want to make sure of the PCB Assembly manufacturer, you can verify their certifications to know their capabilities. You can check for certifications including ISO 9001, RoHS, etc. ISO 9001 is an international quality management guideline that aims to meet the consumer’s requirements and expectations. You can adhere to the product quality effectively and efficiently. Restrictions of Hazardous Substance (RoHS) governs hazardous substance applications in the manufacturing of electrical substances. Another Listing Service UL is also meant to test the manufacturing products thoroughly, ensure the right procedures and also reduce any product errors.
Does the contract manufacturer has the resources for validating your design prior to the assembly? What are the quality controls for ensuring the standards of your design? Do they have adequate resources for optimizing the build? Find out their engineering capabilities for resolving the issues in assembly.
6. Component Procurement
A huge amount of time and money usually gets wasted in components procurement. You save some overheads here by choosing a CM that offers components sourcing services. This helps you to avoid the unnecessary engineering process of assembling. This also avoids disjointed relationships with multiple vendors. The right PCB assembler would help you in easy procurement of the inexpensive components and place them on the circuit board.
7. Optimize Designs
Perform a DFM check before you begin the manufacturing process. Design for Manufacturing (DFM) ensures that the products are easy to design and manufacture and these remain resilient.
8. Via Tech
We know that Vias is imperative in building the board. There are a number of via types like buried, blind vias, and micro vias. Depending on the ones you choose, the overall cost also changes. The greater number of vias you need, the higher the price. So, make sure you ensure the proper arrangement of vias to build a cost-effective board.
A PCB assembly manufacturer should be flexible while building low-volume and high-quality PCBs. There should not be red-tapism or multiple levels of bureaucracy in the communications and cordial relationship should be built.
10. Surface Finish
Choose the right type of surface finish that fits your requirements and also opt for a finish like ENIG, OSP, ENEPIG, HASL, etc. A surface finish ensures higher performance and solderability for preventing oxidizing.
11. Layer Count
As you add more layers, your cost also increases. Since you are going for a small batch PCB, you need to make sure that you do not add any unwanted layers to enhance the complexity and costs in return.
12. Size and Shape
Have an accurate design for implementing the functions within the low volume. The board should be able to have the requirements of the application. Use those panels that are of absolute necessity. The shape of the PCB also impacts the price. Going for regular shapes like squares or rectangles usually costs less.
13. Bill of Materials
Provide a bill of materials with the list of items, raw materials, assemblies, sub-assemblies, and components to the manufacturer like manufacturer name, part number, top & bottom footprint, SMT method, package, case, description, quantity, reference, etc.
14. Components Sourcing
A PCB Assembler would have cordial relations with a network of suppliers and distributors. They might be able to gather the components at the best prices. You can ask for the invoice to ensure trans.
15. Order Volume
Order volume and commodity price are inversely proportional. The greater number of components you order, the lesser the price of each piece.
16. Lead Time
Different PCB Assembly Manufacturers would have different lead times. Understand the order day, payment day, components procurement time to arrive at the lead time. The lead time and price are inversely proportional.
Finding a PCB assembly manufacturer is a tricky task. But if you focus on following the aforementioned tasks, you can easily find the best one suitable for you. You can focus on picking a PCB assembly manufacturer that has the engineering capabilities for providing you state-of-the-art circuit boards with less turnaround time and within budget.
At Mer-Mar Electronics, we have the expertise for your PCB Assembly low-volume runs and have the level of sophistication to help our clients with thriving boards. We have the specialization to provide full production runs in low-volume PCB manufacturing. Whether you need one or a thousand pieces, we are your one-stop solution for your PCB Assembly.