It usually does not make sense to invest in costly production equipment if you just want to spin a few prototypes and instead outsource your PCB assembly and prototype manufacturing to a reputable vendor. I will give some strategies as to what to watch out for when searching for a contract manufacturer.
Numerous contract makers will give an instant quote mechanism on their web page for manufacture of circuit boards and assembly of prototypes. This will save you time when comparing distinctive vendors. Make sure that the quote program allows you to enter all of the specifics, such as board material, thickness, copper thickness, milling and so on. so that you can get an precise quote with no any surprises later on.
Typically the price per board will lower as quantity increases. This is due to the pretty high setup price of circuit board manufacturing and component assembly. Some vendors will use a system where they combine boards from several shoppers. This way the setup price will be distributed amongst several shoppers. When you manufacture a item, you obviously do not want to have to manufacture a huge quantity of boards ideal away even though you refine your style.
A single limitation with small-quantity prototypes even though is that the choice of materials and material thicknesses will be restricted. If you are working with a specific material then chances are there will not be any other clients employing the identical material. In addition, lead time plays a massive function in determining price. A longer lead time allows the manufacturer a lot more freedom in slotting your production. This is commonly reflected in decrease costs which you will see in the quote section. Of course if you are in a rush and want to be moved to the top rated of the pile you will need to spend more dollars.
Make certain that your contract manufacturer will support the file format for manufacture that you offer. The most typical format for PCB manufacture is the Gerber format but some vendors will also accept board files from popular PCB software products. Some suppliers also provide in-property PCB design. Even if you design your board yourself, picking a vendor with design services may possibly prove helpful in case there is a issue with your files. In this case your vendor can make quick adjustments which will stay away from costly delays.
When subcontracting PCB assembly, make certain that your vendor can assemble all of the package types that your board utilizes. Some vendors cannot assemble certain type of IC packages such as BGA, chip-scale packages or very modest component forms. If in doubt be confident to contact your vendor ahead of time.
Some contract companies will carry an inventory of common SMT and by way of-hole components. You will save time if you can pull from your vendor’s inventory rather than buying each and every component oneself. Make certain to specify which components you wish to consign oneself when you upload your bill of components.
Most vendors will also provide manufacture of the SMT stencil which is required for PCB assembly. Be certain to order the stencil correct away when ordering the circuit boards themselves to stay away from delays.
To make sure that your circuit boards will function, be sure that your vendor is high-quality certified and provides the tests and board inspection methods that are essential. Please annular ring , even so, that specific tests, such as ICT testing needs more time and expense to prepare suitable test fixtures.