It often does not make sense to invest in costly production equipment if you just want to spin a couple of prototypes and rather outsource your PCB assembly and prototype manufacturing to a reputable vendor. I will give some strategies as to what to watch out for when hunting for a contract manufacturer.
Several contract suppliers will present an instant quote mechanism on their website for manufacture of circuit boards and assembly of prototypes. This will save you time when comparing unique vendors. Make confident that the quote technique permits you to enter all of the details, such as board material, thickness, copper thickness, milling and so on. so that you can get an precise quote without any surprises later on.
Generally the cost per board will reduce as quantity increases. This is due to the relatively higher setup cost of circuit board manufacturing and component assembly. Some vendors will use a program exactly where they combine boards from numerous buyers. This way the setup price will be distributed amongst a number of prospects. When you manufacture a product, you of course do not want to have to manufacture a substantial quantity of boards proper away when you refine your style.
One limitation with modest-quantity prototypes though is that the option of materials and material thicknesses will be restricted. If you are utilizing a particular material then probabilities are there won’t be any other prospects employing the similar material. In addition, lead time plays a significant function in figuring out price. A longer lead time permits the manufacturer more freedom in slotting your production. This is commonly reflected in decrease fees which you will see in the quote section. Naturally if you are in a rush and want to be moved to the top rated of the pile you will want to devote far more income.
Make sure that your contract manufacturer will support the file format for manufacture that you supply. The most popular format for PCB manufacture is the Gerber format but some vendors will also accept board files from common PCB computer software items. Some suppliers also supply in-residence PCB design. Even if what is .pro file design your board oneself, selecting a vendor with design and style services may well prove helpful in case there is a problem with your files. In this case your vendor can make speedy adjustments which will keep away from expensive delays.
When subcontracting PCB assembly, make sure that your vendor can assemble all of the package types that your board utilizes. Some vendors cannot assemble particular sort of IC packages such as BGA, chip-scale packages or quite compact element varieties. If in doubt be sure to speak to your vendor ahead of time.
Some contract companies will carry an inventory of typical SMT and by means of-hole elements. You will save time if you can pull from your vendor’s inventory rather than purchasing each element yourself. Make confident to specify which elements you wish to consign yourself when you upload your bill of materials.
Most vendors will also provide manufacture of the SMT stencil which is expected for PCB assembly. Be certain to order the stencil right away when ordering the circuit boards themselves to keep away from delays.
To ensure that your circuit boards will perform, be confident that your vendor is quality certified and provides the tests and board inspection strategies that are needed. Please note, nonetheless, that specific tests, such as ICT testing demands additional time and expense to prepare suitable test fixtures.