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How to find the best PCB manufacturer with the lowest cost?

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Fri, Apr 17, 2020

The Difference between Normal PCB Manufacturer and PCB Prototype Manufacturer

If you are considering purchasing a printed circuit board (PCB), please read along to understand some essentials of the purchasing process.

There are 2 types of manufacturers, PCB factory manufacturing and PCB prototype manufacturing.

Usually, the manufacturers will create specific designs according to per customer’s needs.

That means that manufacturers never assemble a large amount of the same type of boards at once, except for a bigger pre-purchased order. As far as the prototyping are just samples of the manufacturer’s product.

The purpose of regular manufacturing factories is the bulk orders, on the other hand, the prototype manufacturing factories are making samples (small quantities) and they cannot fulfill bigger orders. If you are looking for a high-quality printed circuit board you may

focus your attention on regular manufacturer factories. In fact, check what PCBONLINE' s offer will be a good choice, who is excellent at this field of work.

If you have a PCB project, it might involve many things. For example, if there is a problem this can affect product development in many ways. This is why PCB manufacturing runs through many PCB quality insurance tests.

About Distributors you Find

There is not much to say here, but at least I can give you some tips on what should you look for. When looking for a distributor make sure that they offer an extensive product range (flex, rigid, 1-48 layers, etc…). Basically, make sure that they work with the product you have ordered. Make sure that they will provide you with information regarding the time and the price that will cost you. Also, you better reach out to a distributor with many years of experience as they know what to do.

Before we go any further there is one thing that has to be clear. Many manufacturers have an OEM agreement. That means that they are purchasing the individual parts from other manufacturers, putting all together assembling a PCB, and then sell it under their own company name or brand.

PCB Quality Control and Guarantee of Supply


I will not go through all of the basic explanations regarding a PCB design, you can find all the information here. The PCB manufacturing process follows the IPC standard. In general whenever a PCB design is developed the manufacturer has to cover all the requirements to ensure quality. If you are interested to find out more check how to choose a reliable manufacturer. Here we will discuss the warranty on the goods and services of supplying.

PCB Software

Most of the manufacturers do not provide a warranty of the reliability or the performance of the PCB software or any software-related issues. There are manufacturing companies that will assist you with the software set-up in order to meet all the requirements but they will charge additionally for that. If you are willing to pay, you can be sure that everything will be set up properly and it will be fully functional.

The software is full of bugs when it comes to a variety of different workflows. However, the manufacturers understand that this can happen and if there is a problem technically related to the PCB itself and its relation to the software, they will quickly investigate and resolve the issue. They guarantee 100% fix and the best part is that the warranty covers it all.

Most of the manufacturers will require you to register the software you will be using. This can happen only if you will be using software different than their own, or their recommendations. This way they can test it for you and warn you about any possible failures. However, if the manufacturers are not sure and their recommendations are not to use the software you are registering with, they are free to inform you that the warranty will not cover any further issues.

PCB Hardware

The Printed circuit board's warranty is ensuring the customer the board will be shipped without any defects or hardware issues. It will also ensure that the PCB will function properly under normal use for a period of 1 year after purchase. Some manufacturers will allow you to purchase additional warranty time. During the warranty period, any hardware related problems will be resolved, regardless of what is the core issue, if all recommendations regarding the use are met. The warranty covers, parts replacement, troubleshooting, and more. Note that the parts exchanged due to failure will remain the PCB manufacturer's property.

The warranty does NOT include on-site repair changes. They can only ship a brand new part in exchange for the failed one. Also, the PCB manufacturer is not responsible for any data loss or storage failures during the repair. Note that the board will be carefully examined in order to determine the exact cause of the issue, and the warranty will not cover any defects due to external events except for:

1. Damage during shipment

2. Default failures

The PCB manufacturer, however, will not cover:

3. Damage caused by a hostile environment

4. Unauthorized PCB equipment modifications

5. Installation that is not authorized by the manufacturer

6. Nature occurrences (lightning, earthquakes, flood, and more)

7. Hardware intentional abuse

How to Order a Warranty Repair Service?


Before you're reaching out to your manufacturer, make sure that the issue is 100% covered by the warranty. Read carefully your warranty contract and check if the root of your issue. If you are sure that the warranty covers the problem you occur here is what to do next.

Reach out to your PCB customer service to requirest a warranty. They will assist you and most probably ask a lot of questions, so they can determine the cause of the issue. This is why you have to be sure that the warranty covers it, otherwise, they will reject your request. You have to be honest because if you send your part for replacement and the examination shows a different cause than your explanation that the warranty does not cover, all the cost will on you.

Most of the PCB manufacturers will not guarantee a repair time until they find what exactly is the problem. Only then they will contact you and will let you know the repair part delivery date. The customer (you) will have to agree to return the defective part to the PCB manufacturer within 15 days. If, however, the failed part is not returned within 15 days, the customer will be invoiced for the replacement product at its retail price plus all the costs related to the transit charges.

It is important to know that when you are returning a part, you must carefully package is similar to its retail box. The customer has to pre-pay all of the taxes and fees in order to ensure any damage during shipping, and if all goes well, the PCB manufacturer will refund all of the money associated with the warranty replacement. The recommendation here is to ensure that the part will get there in the same condition you send it, even though it is not working.

How to Identify Defects in a PCB?


If you have just received your PCB and you have a hard time setting it up, or you may be even wondering if it is working, here we will discuss some common defects found in a Printed Circuit Boards. Even though the manufacturer is taking extreme measures to ensure the safe shipment and the assembly process, there are cases in which the boards come with default defects. With the hundreds of micro-sized components, it is possible for the whole board to be defective for just a single non-working component. Here are the signs that your printed board has a default defect that is most likely to be covered by your warranty.

1. Missing Electrical Component

2. Opens & Shorts

3. Defective Board or Electrical Component

4. Wrong Component Placement

5. Component Misalignment

6. Wrong Orientation

7. Inconsistent Soldering

You might not be able to identify the issue yourself if you are not an expert in that field of work, but calling your manufacturer customer support and explaining your issue in details is your best option.

The characteristics of  PCBONLINE are good flexible manufacturing ability, purchasing ability for non-standard parts, and strong purchasing ability for the whole BOM.

They have more than 50 technicians and 11 single component engineers, they all have more than ten years of experience in electronics design or open-source hardware design. 50% of their procurement channels are in Hong Kong, 20% are in Shenzhen, and 20% are in the United States. We have a component procurement center in Hong Kong. Our component prices are also absolutely open. We will share the purchase price with our customers. The service fee for our purchasing is in the range of 5-10%. Parts procurement service is only an auxiliary service of their SMT service.

We hope that this article was helpful for you to understand the printed circuit board order, delivery, and control. If you are interested to learn more about PCBs make sure to visit the PCBONLINE blog, they are great in that field of work and their informative blog contains everything you need to know about the circuit boards.

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