It generally does not make sense to invest in high priced production equipment if you just want to spin a few prototypes and instead outsource your PCB assembly and prototype manufacturing to a trustworthy vendor. I will give some guidelines as to what to watch out for when looking for a contract manufacturer.
Quite a few contract makers will give an immediate quote mechanism on their web site for manufacture of circuit boards and assembly of prototypes. This will save you time when comparing different vendors. Make certain that the quote method makes it possible for you to enter all of the particulars, such as board material, thickness, copper thickness, milling etc. so that you can get an correct quote with out any surprises later on.
Commonly the cost per board will decrease as quantity increases. This is due to the relatively high setup cost of circuit board manufacturing and component assembly. Some vendors will use a program where they combine boards from several customers. This way the setup price will be distributed amongst quite a few buyers. When you manufacture a solution, you naturally do not want to have to manufacture a massive quantity of boards appropriate away even though you refine your design.
One limitation with compact-quantity prototypes even though is that the selection of components and material thicknesses will be restricted. If you are utilizing a unique material then probabilities are there will not be any other customers utilizing the very same material. In addition, lead time plays a large role in figuring out expense. A longer lead time makes it possible for the manufacturer additional freedom in slotting your production. This is usually reflected in decrease costs which you will see in the quote section. Clearly if you are in a rush and want to be moved to the top of the pile you will will need to invest more revenue.
Make sure that your contract manufacturer will assistance the file format for manufacture that you deliver. The most frequent format for PCB manufacture is the Gerber format but some vendors will also accept board files from common PCB software program solutions. Some suppliers also supply in-residence PCB style. Even if you design and style your board yourself, picking a vendor with design and style services may prove helpful in case there is a trouble with your files. In this case your vendor can make speedy adjustments which will keep away from expensive delays.
When subcontracting PCB assembly, guarantee that your vendor can assemble all of the package sorts that your board utilizes. Some vendors can’t assemble specific form of IC packages such as BGA, chip-scale packages or quite modest component types. If in electronic symbols chart be confident to speak to your vendor ahead of time.
Some contract manufacturers will carry an inventory of normal SMT and by way of-hole components. You will save time if you can pull from your vendor’s inventory rather than buying every component your self. Make sure to specify which elements you want to consign yourself when you upload your bill of supplies.
Most vendors will also offer manufacture of the SMT stencil which is required for PCB assembly. Be sure to order the stencil right away when ordering the circuit boards themselves to stay clear of delays.
To assure that your circuit boards will function, be sure that your vendor is high quality certified and presents the tests and board inspection strategies that are needed. Please note, nonetheless, that certain tests, such as ICT testing requires extra time and cost to prepare appropriate test fixtures.