Recommendations For Outsourcing PCB Assembly and Prototype Manufacturing

It often does not make sense to invest in high-priced production gear if you just want to spin a couple of prototypes and instead outsource your PCB assembly and prototype manufacturing to a trusted vendor. I will give some tips as to what to watch out for when seeking for a contract manufacturer.

Several contract companies will offer an immediate quote mechanism on their internet site for manufacture of circuit boards and assembly of prototypes. This will save you time when comparing various vendors. Make confident that the quote technique permits you to enter all of the particulars, such as board material, thickness, copper thickness, milling etc. so that you can get an accurate quote without the need of any surprises later on.

Normally the cost per board will reduce as quantity increases. This is due to the fairly higher setup cost of circuit board manufacturing and element assembly. Some vendors will use a program where they combine boards from quite a few shoppers. This way the setup cost will be distributed amongst quite a few customers. When you manufacture a product, you obviously do not want to have to manufacture a large quantity of boards ideal away though you refine your design.

One particular limitation with little-quantity prototypes although is that the choice of materials and material thicknesses will be limited. If you are using a particular material then possibilities are there will not be any other customers applying the very same material. In addition, lead time plays a massive role in figuring out price. A longer lead time enables the manufacturer extra freedom in slotting your production. This is generally reflected in reduced costs which you will see in the quote section. Naturally if you are in a rush and want to be moved to the major of the pile you will need to commit extra cash.

Make certain that your contract manufacturer will help the file format for manufacture that you deliver. The most typical format for PCB manufacture is the Gerber format but some vendors will also accept board files from popular PCB application solutions. Some suppliers also offer in-home PCB style. Even if you design your board yourself, choosing a vendor with style solutions may perhaps prove useful in case there is a trouble with your files. In annular ring can make speedy modifications which will avoid expensive delays.

When subcontracting PCB assembly, ensure that your vendor can assemble all of the package forms that your board utilizes. Some vendors can not assemble certain variety of IC packages such as BGA, chip-scale packages or pretty compact element types. If in doubt be sure to make contact with your vendor ahead of time.

Some contract suppliers will carry an inventory of typical SMT and through-hole elements. You will save time if you can pull from your vendor’s inventory rather than getting every single component yourself. Make positive to specify which components you wish to consign oneself when you upload your bill of materials.


Most vendors will also supply manufacture of the SMT stencil which is required for PCB assembly. Be confident to order the stencil correct away when ordering the circuit boards themselves to steer clear of delays.

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