How to Order PCBs Online

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Fri, May 15, 2020

The world of technology is today dominated by the use of PCBs.

Used in everything from toys to the latest in high-tech advances, the technology has become widespread in its use, all across the world.

 

In an increasingly digitized and online world, entire industries have shifted their base of operations into this new medium, which includes every aspect of the industrial life cycle.

And this certainly holds true for the PCB industry, as much as it does for anything else. Today, it’s possible to have entire shipments completed online, in many if not all cases.

 

There is much that can be said about the process of  ordering PCBs online , from the beginning until the end.

Given in the points below, are some of the key details when it comes to ordering PCBs online:

 

1. Preparing the Design and Schematics

One of the first steps in ordering PCBs online has nothing to do with the ordering, but rather the preparation of the order itself.

There is much that goes into the design of each PCB, from the design stages to the final version of the chip. All of this will take considerable time, and is something that will need to be planned out in advance.

The step itself will involve the listing out of all the requirements necessities of the chip design, after which the final blueprints are to be prototyped, and finally entered into large-scale production.

Once this step is completed, the next step can be started, which is to find a suitable supplier who can help with the production of the same.

 

2. Finding a Supplier

There is certainly no shortage of suppliers when it comes to PCBs.

Being a rather widely used electronic component in the world of technology, it should be possible to find suppliers for the same, who can adequately get the job done.

At the same time, however, it should be noted that not all suppliers are the same. On the contrary, some are specialized in one field, while others are more general in their application.

It is, therefore, a good idea to check with the suppliers, and perhaps even send them the basic PCB schematics, to know if they are fine with producing the same.

Also to take into account is the fact, that you will often have choices to order from abroad, where production costs are cheaper compared to those from home-based industries. As a result, you may want to decide whether you want to go through the hassles of finding a foreign supplier, or if a domestic one will do.

 

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3. Prototyping

In the world of PCBs, it is common to have suppliers of the chips to provide a prototype or an initial copy of the final product.

The same is done, so as to test whether it works according to plan, as well as to see it satisfies the needs of the client. The product, after testing, is then modified as required, before it is put into large scale production.

Should any ‘faults’ or ‘missing details’ exist in the chip, the same is corrected and verified again until a desirable design is achieved? From then on, the process of mass production can be initiated for the production of the chips.

This is the part where the actual sending of the schematics and blueprints comes into the picture. The company creates a prototype of the design, after which it either sends the finished product to the client or tests it by itself, for quality checks.

 

4. Factory Checks

Those interested in the manufacturing quality may want to take a look at the factory where the same is produced.

These include everything from the existing infrastructure and industry practices to the overall standards maintained at the place.

 It may prove to be problematic in the case of foreign suppliers, which is why many choose to go for domestic manufacturers.

 

5. Payments

There are several ways in which suppliers accept payments for the same.

 In some cases, the payments may be requested on the basis of the pre-paid orders, where the entire payment is made upfront.

In other cases, a milestone system is used, where payments are made on the basis of the number of orders fulfilled, often on a percentage basis where ‘X’ percent of orders is paid for before or after it is delivered, after which the next batch is put into production and so on.

Then there are others where a down payment is requested for the same, after which the manufacturing process is begun.

In addition to this, do note that prototyping will also have to be paid for in many if not all cases. Some suppliers at the same time, however, allow for the same to be completed ‘free’ of charge, especially in the case of repeat buyers or if they are large enough to pay for the same from their end.  

 

6. The Production Process

Once the prototypes are ready and the payments are completed, the next step would be to have the production process initiated.

Quite often, the suppliers handle the issues on their own and send shipments of the finished products from time to time. Then there are others who may require your supervision, depending on the requirements and initial agreements.

It may also be necessary to have periodic checks done at the factory production facility, in order to know whether the manufacturing process and everything else is going as expected.  

 

7. Integration of the Deliveries into the Final Product

PCBs are in simple words, means to an end rather than an end unto itself.

In other words, they are designed to be used in a certain application and serve no purpose unto itself. For example, they may be designed for use in a certain electronic or electrical gadget, or components that are used in these applications.

Regardless, the final step would be to have the PCBs added to the finished product through the manufacturing process, after which it is packed and delivered to the end-user for consumption.

  

To sum up, there are some of the basics which go into the ordering of PCBs online, all the way from the beginning until the end.

Do note that there are other steps involved depending on your needs, requirements, and other such factors, which need to be taken into account as well.