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Factors to Consider When Choosing a PCB/PCBA Manufacturer

pcbonline PCBONLINE Team Mon, Mar 09, 2020

How to choose a good PCB/PCBA manufacturer? PCBs (Printed Circuit boards) are the basis for almost all electronics products, which makes it necessary to find a good PCB manufacturer and assembler. There are many factors that you need to consider before you have your PCBs manufactured and assembled.

Quality is the Key to Evaluate a PCB/PCBA manufacturer

The first essential requirement that we need to have when choosing a PCB/A manufacturer is quality. If you are looking for long-term cooperation, make sure that your supplier's quality is high.

Balancing quality and cost is the key here. The best action is to make a detailed checklist with requirements that the provider has to confirm before initiating any cooperation process.

Quality Control in Printed Circuit Boards

printed circuit board assembly

When looking for quality manufacturers, you have to look at the industries they are specializing in. Different companies have different needs in particular. It is the same in the manufacturers, each one is best and focused on one exact industry.

Make sure that your needs and expectations match the manufacturer's field of work. This is the only way to acquire a product designed exceptionally for your current situation and needs.

To ensure PCB's quality, you need to cover the following aspects:

Capability- Investigated and approved by the manufacturing department, the capability is an essential part of the design.

Quality Control Inspection- Measurement and monitoring have to be strict practices of the manufacturers. The results have to be stored and rules related to the developing process have to be made additionally from failures.

Ensured PCB design Manufacturability- The project leader has to check and confirm that all the requirements are covered for the development process to proceed. If the process is denied, then all the information has to be stored and used to prevent any further denials.

Ensured Normalization and Testability- This is the process of checking the analyzing the test points, dimensions, routing, structural style, and testability for manufacturing.

Designer Check- Before starting with manufacturing, PCB designers have to check and confirm the drawn designs.

PCBONLINE built a complete quality management system for their PCB manufacturing and assembly. They follow the ISO, IPC, UL, and ATIF quality systems to manage their PCB/PCBA production. They take good care of all the above processes, and they are a reliable PCB manufacturer and assembler.

PCB/PCBA manufacturers should follow IPC Standards

We cannot skip mentioning the IPC (Institute for Printed Circuits). Found in 1957, the IPC represents electronics design printed circuit board manufacturing, and electronics assembly.

PCBA manufacturing

The organization's goal is to improve manufacturing quality and periodically release acceptability standards. It is a form of qualification and specifications regarding the performance of the design. It is aimed at the majority of electronic components and printed circuit boards.

The printed circuit board manufacturers are going through training for the relevant IPC specifications. This is the way the quality is ensured and delivers the expected kind of product.

We will review some of the quality specifications from IPC:

Class 1- It includes all suitable products for an application covering the major requirements and the assembly is completed and functioning.

Class 2- It is focused on the performance and extending the life, continuous and uninterrupted service is targeted.

Class 3- High performance here is critical! Equipment downtime is acceptable and tolerated, end-use equipment must be functional when required, and life support is provided.

PCBONLINE follows the IPC-A-610 standard for PCB assembly. You can get your circuit boards manufactured and assembled at this one-stop PCB manufacturer and expect high-quality products to meet or exceed your expectations.

What Factors Affect the PCB Price

Now when you know these important key practices, you should look for them when choosing a supplier. Now we will see…

The search is higher for multilayer PCBs with more than two layers and especially with more than four. The price cost here is essential and the search volume is directly affected.

1-Layer to 2-Layers: [30% to 35%] price increase.

2-Layers to 4-Layers: [35% to 45%] price increase.

4-Layers to 6-Layers: [30% to 40%] price increase

6-Layers to 8-Layers: [30% to 35%] price increase.

8-Layers to 10-Layer: [20% to 30%] price increase.

10-Layers to 12-Layers: [20% to 30%] price increase.

The second layer is one of the most significant price increases in the developing process.

Surface Finish

The finished design you choose for your PCB will also affect the cost. It is a minor factor and its influence is not that significant. However, we will still cover it by presenting the 5 most common finished types.

1. OSP - Organic Solderability Preservatives, it is also called anti-tarnish. It is based on clean and bare copper by adsorption. It stops copper from being oxidized, but it has to be eliminated by the flux in the process later on. It is easily exposed for the clean copper to be jointed with melting solder joints. The benefit is that it can be generated in a very short time.

2. HASL - Hot Air Solder Leveling design, is one of the most popular finish choices! However, there are known limitations that were discovered by manufacturers in the last few years. It leaves uneven surfaces and it is not suitable for pitch components. It seems fair for its low price and robustness.

3. IMM Sn - Immersion Silver is in the thickness range of 0.124uM to 0.49uM. It is excellent for fine pith products and has a planar surface. There are more advantages such as its short easy process, it does not affect the hole size and it has a long shelf-life. On the other hand, there are some disadvantages, for example, it has a high friction coefficient and the tarnishing must be controlled. Overall it is good for multiple insertions.

4. ENEPIG - Electroless NI / Electroless Pd / Immersion AI, is coated with an electroless palladium layer. Topped with immersion gold and forming a superior solder join with SAC solders. It creates a perfect bondable surface with a gold wire. It also allows a thinner gold application that effectively influences the end price. It offers a 12-month shelf life and it is the fastest-growing surface finish design.

5. ENIG - Electroless Nickel Immersion Gold quickly became the most popular surface finish in that field of work. It has a double-layered metallic coat with nickel acting as a barrier to the copper surface. There is a pure layer of gold that protects the nickel during storage. It is a suitable surface finish for industries that require flat surfaces.

PCBONLINE provides all options for PCB layers, surface finishes, and copper thickness, and so on for PCB manufacturing. All their PCBA and PCBA are at reasonable prices.

Here are PCBONLINE's capabilities:
  • Layer: 1 ~ 24
  • Laminate: Normal Tg/Hight/Lead-free/Halogen Free
  • Surface finishing: OSP/HASL/LF HASL/Immersion ENIG/Immersion Tin/Immersion Silver
  • Board thickness: 0.15 ~ 3.2 mm
  • Max board size: 500 x 580 mm
  • Copper thickness: Inner Finish Copper: 1-4OZ
  • Outer finish copper: 1-7OZ
  • Min. Line width/spacing: 0.0635 mm/0.0635 MM
  • Min. CNC drilling size: 0.15 MM
  • Min. Laser drilling size: 0.075 MM
  • HDI stack up 1+N+1,2+N+2,3+N+3

Choose an Assembly Method

As you now have a better understanding of all the objects you have to choose when ordering PCBs, you still have to…

In general, this is one of the most difficult parts of the production process of the printed circuit boards. The main problem for the manufacturers is the physically attaching parts to the board, which can present a great challenge for low-quantity PCB fabrications.

When choosing an assembly method, basically you have three options:

PCBA assembly

Professional Assembly- The primary objective here is the price. The product here is very reliable, but the process is not cheap and it requires a lot of manufacturing data, such as BOM information, Solder mask, and Placement data.

DIY Reflow- The approach here is to deposit the solder paste, place the components, and bake the PCB in a toaster oven. Manually depositing the solder paste, requires the usage of a stencil, which is a flat surface object with openings for the solder-paste locations.

Hot-Air-Gun Soldering- There is only one difference between the DIU reflow and the hot-air-gun and this is the heat source. It is good for the manufacturing process to be proficient in depositing solder paste and accurately placed components. It is highly effective for the smaller boards, as far as the reflow, it requires a more elaborate setup.

PCBONLINE is the best PCB assembler for the professional assembly option. If you feel interested in its services, get an online quote.


The recommendation here is to aim for better quality. The price is determined by numerous factors and it is almost impossible to acquire a good-quality board for a low price. The advice here is to take each of the presented factors into consideration before you make any budget decision.

PCBONLINE provides Class 3 IPC manufacturing for PCBs and PCBA. If you need a PCB design for a high-tech you should be considering the class 3 IPC manufacturers that offer the best quality on the market.

We hope that the article was helpful to you in your search for manufacturers and we wish you the best of luck in the future.


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