Choosing between in-house and outsourced PCB assembly and prototype manufacturing can sometimes be tricky. Spending thousands of dollars on expensive equipment is never a good idea, most especially when there will only be a few prototypes to produce. However, there is always an option to outsource PCB assembly and prototype manufacturing; you just have to make sure you are choosing a reliable company.
Even though outsourcing may seem like a manageable process, there are set guidelines that you have to follow through to be able to choose a dependable PCB design company.
Find a company that can give you an accurate quote
Today, most companies that offer printed board circuit design assembly give instant quotes online through their websites for particular services – including but not always limited to the manufacturing of circuit board designs and PCB assembly of prototypes. It is indeed a time-saver, and something less of a headache. However, a quote requires full detailing of costing mechanisms such as material to be used, copper thickness, board thickness, milling, and much other relevant information to ensure its accuracy.
Manufacturing only a few circuit board prototypes has some disadvantages, one of which is the inadequate selection of material and thickness modifications. It is another factor why you should opt for outsourcing PCB assembly and prototype manufacturing.
Ensure that the company supports the format of your design
Some companies cannot sustain a particular format of designs that clients provide; you have to guarantee that the PCB design company you outsource can do the work for you. Some instances, clients design their boards; however, when a predicament transpires with the proposed prototype and alterations are needed to be done, costly delays happen. A vendor with design services would be beneficial in conditions like these; they can make immediate adjustments and avoid delays.
There are certain types of IC packages that some vendors cannot assemble, like chip-scale packages, BGA, or tiny packages perse. Consequently, while outsourcing PCB assembly, it is essential to secure that your merchant can construct all types of packages that your board will require. Be sure to communicate with your provider ahead of time if doubt arises.
Choose a company that can offer to manufacture the SMT stencil
Rather than purchasing yourself, choose a prototype manufacturing company that already have standard SMT and through-hole components in their inventory. It would be preferable to specify the components to your vendor beforehand to save time and efforts. Some companies need not order these components as they manufacture them themselves. Secure a list of required components and order them with the circuit boards to avoid production delays.
More importantly, a quality certified PCB design company should offer tests and out-and-out board inspection methods to guarantee a working circuit board.
Choosing outsourced agencies for prototyping is always a cost-effective option, as some of these companies reduce the price per board as the quantity increases. The high set up cost of circuit board manufacturing and component assembly decreases when they assemble boards from different customers. The cost is disseminated among numerous clients; hence, the low-price guarantee with outsourcing.