It often does not make sense to invest in expensive production gear if you just want to spin a handful of prototypes and instead outsource your PCB assembly and prototype manufacturing to a reliable vendor. I will give some ideas as to what to watch out for when looking for a contract manufacturer.
Many contract makers will offer you an instant 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 certain that the quote method enables you to enter all of the information, such as board material, thickness, copper thickness, milling etc. so that you can get an precise quote with out any surprises later on.
Ordinarily the price per board will reduce as quantity increases. This is due to the pretty high setup cost of circuit board manufacturing and component assembly. Some vendors will use a program exactly where they combine boards from quite a few consumers. This way the setup expense will be distributed amongst quite a few buyers. When you manufacture a item, you definitely do not want to have to manufacture a huge quantity of boards proper away whilst you refine your design and style.
1 limitation with smaller-quantity prototypes even though is that the selection of supplies and material thicknesses will be restricted. If you are utilizing a particular material then probabilities are there will not be any other consumers making use of the similar material. In addition, lead time plays a large role in determining expense. A longer lead time makes it possible for the manufacturer far more freedom in slotting your production. This is ordinarily reflected in lower costs which you will see in the quote section. Definitely if you are in a rush and want to be moved to the top of the pile you will want to commit more funds.
Make sure that your contract manufacturer will assistance the file format for manufacture that you give. The most common format for PCB manufacture is the Gerber format but some vendors will also accept board files from popular PCB computer software solutions. Some suppliers also present in-residence PCB style. Even if you design your board oneself, selecting a vendor with design and style solutions could prove valuable in case there is a problem with your files. In this case your vendor can make fast modifications which will keep away from costly delays.
When subcontracting PCB assembly, make sure that your vendor can assemble all of the package varieties that your board makes use of. Some vendors can not assemble certain type of IC packages such as BGA, chip-scale packages or really little component kinds. If in doubt be confident to speak to your vendor ahead of time.
Some contract makers 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 purchasing each and every element your self. Make sure to specify which elements you wish to consign your self when you upload your bill of materials.
Most vendors will also give manufacture of the SMT stencil which is essential for PCB assembly. Be uart vs spi to order the stencil right away when ordering the circuit boards themselves to steer clear of delays.
To assure that your circuit boards will function, be certain that your vendor is high quality certified and offers the tests and board inspection solutions that are essential. Please note, nevertheless, that certain tests, such as ICT testing demands added time and expense to prepare suitable test fixtures.