It frequently does not make sense to invest in pricey production equipment if you just want to spin a few prototypes and rather outsource your PCB assembly and prototype manufacturing to a dependable vendor. I will give some suggestions as to what to watch out for when looking for a contract manufacturer.
Lots of contract companies will offer you an immediate quote mechanism on their internet site for manufacture of circuit boards and assembly of prototypes. This will save you time when comparing distinctive vendors. Make certain that the quote method permits you to enter all of the details, such as board material, thickness, copper thickness, milling and so forth. so that you can get an precise quote without any surprises later on.
Generally the expense per board will lower as quantity increases. This is due to the fairly high setup cost of circuit board manufacturing and element assembly. Some vendors will use a system exactly where they combine boards from various consumers. This way the setup cost will be distributed amongst a number of shoppers. When ball grid array manufacture a product, you naturally do not want to have to manufacture a large quantity of boards appropriate away though you refine your design and style.
A single limitation with smaller-quantity prototypes even though is that the option of materials and material thicknesses will be limited. If you are making use of a special material then probabilities are there won’t be any other shoppers employing the exact same material. In addition, lead time plays a major role in determining cost. A longer lead time permits the manufacturer a lot more freedom in slotting your production. This is generally reflected in lower fees which you will see in the quote section. Naturally if you are in a rush and want to be moved to the best of the pile you will want to invest far more money.
Make sure that your contract manufacturer will help the file format for manufacture that you present. The most prevalent format for PCB manufacture is the Gerber format but some vendors will also accept board files from widespread PCB computer software goods. Some suppliers also give in-house PCB design. Even if you style your board oneself, selecting a vendor with design and style solutions might prove valuable in case there is a issue with your files. In this case your vendor can make speedy modifications which will keep away from pricey delays.
When subcontracting PCB assembly, make sure that your vendor can assemble all of the package sorts that your board uses. Some vendors cannot assemble certain form of IC packages such as BGA, chip-scale packages or really compact component types. If in doubt be certain to speak to your vendor ahead of time.
Some contract companies will carry an inventory of standard SMT and through-hole components. You will save time if you can pull from your vendor’s inventory rather than acquiring every single element your self. Make sure to specify which components you want to consign your self when you upload your bill of components.
Most vendors will also supply manufacture of the SMT stencil which is needed for PCB assembly. Be positive to order the stencil ideal away when ordering the circuit boards themselves to keep away from delays.
To ensure that your circuit boards will function, be certain that your vendor is quality certified and offers the tests and board inspection procedures that are required. Please note, having said that, that certain tests, such as ICT testing calls for additional time and expense to prepare suitable test fixtures.