PCBs have long been part of electronics and with the leaps in technology, their designing and assembling involve a myriad of intricacies. Because of manifold increases in demand for PCBs over time, you will come across many PCB assembly manufacturers who claim to be the best in the business in designing and manufacturing high-quality and error-free PCBs. You have already spent a fair share of amount time and financial resources on your PCB project by the time you to assemble the PCB components, you ought not to decide on instincts which manufacturer you hire for assembling the final product.
You will definitely be confused in choosing the right contract manufacturer (CM) for your project. But you need not worry as this article will outline 5 important capabilities your CM must possess. It is never wrong to spend some extra time vetting multiple manufacturers to select one who can guarantee an error-free PCBA process.
So, let?s find out the 5 most important capabilities a PCBA manufacturer must possess.
What is PCBA?
PCBA, Printed Circuit Board Assembly, is the process in manufacturing where developers connect the electronic components with the blank circuit boards to transform them into a functional PCB. This PCBA then makes an electronic product to function. Simply put, PCBA is PCB + components assembly ? the finished product of the electronic circuit board.
This process (assembling the components on the board) is done through either DIP soldering (Dual In-line Package Soldering) or SMT (Surface Mounted Technology).
Capabilities to Look for in Your Contract Manufacturer (CM)
As mentioned earlier, you must assess certain capabilities in your PCBA manufacturer to ensure the reliability and working performance of the end product. For that, you have to follow the below guidelines.
Assess Design Capabilities of CM
With the development of modern and multi-functional electronic products, PCB designs have become complicated too. The need and demand for high-performance PCBs for appliances such as application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC), field-programmable gate arrays (FPGA), microcontrollers (MCU) to mention a few have been through the roof.
So, whenever you are selecting a manufacturer to assemble the PCB components, always guarantee that the manufacturer has relevant experience in handling complex and complicated designs. Do check their portfolio and analyze their capabilities in handling your requirements for the PCBs stack-ups, backout strategies, and different types. Also, discuss with him all your expectations about signal integrity and power integrity of the end product.
Capabilities for Quality Control
After assessing the design capabilities of the manufacturer, the next step is to make sure that your CM should be professional enough to meet the required quality. Rather than going for wordy self-praise, you ought to evaluate all the certifications of and reviews of past customers about your CM. This would help you gauge whether or not he meets the PCB industry standards such as AS9100D, IPC-A-610, J-STD-01, ANSI 2020:2014, ISO 900, etc.
Other than that, do ask how the company or manufacturer conducts tests for quality? Whether or not he has up-to-date technology or machinery to do so? Are his employees well-trained to produce a high-quality product?
Remember! Spending a bit extra time beforehand to check the capabilities of your CM will save you a lot down the road ? both in terms of time and money.
Evaluate Customer Support
Once you have assessed evaluated the product quality and technical capabilities of your manufacturer, it is necessary to get details about customer support. You surely want to work with a company that takes care of its customers in the long-term. PCBA is a complicated process and you may face various complexities or problems in the future. Hire a CM that promptly answers all your queries and help fix the technical issues ? if they arise.
1. Honestly speaking, talking with the company?s employees or representatives is the easiest way to get an idea about the customer support service. Evaluate how professional, polite, and knowledgeable they are and how quickly they respond to your questions.
2. Additionally, reviews and feedback from past customers also give you a better idea.
3. You may want to check their social media correspondence with the clients and how professionally ? and quickly ? they interact with them.
Reliable Supply Chain and Agile Manufacturing
It is indispensable that your manufacturer has a secure and reliable supply chain ranging from input components and data files to the assembled and fabricated PCBAs. Take the extra time to properly vet -by asking cross-questions - the working paradigm of the company to avoid any counterfeits, illicit manufacturing methods, etc.
Also, flexibility in the working mechanism of the company is a key determinant of its professional expertise. It effectively means that the company must have the latest tools, machin