It generally does not make sense to invest in expensive production gear if you just want to spin a couple of prototypes and rather outsource your PCB assembly and prototype manufacturing to a dependable vendor. I will give some strategies as to what to watch out for when looking for a contract manufacturer.
Numerous contract producers will supply an immediate quote mechanism on their website for manufacture of circuit boards and assembly of prototypes. This will save you time when comparing diverse vendors. Make certain that the quote method allows you to enter all of the facts, such as board material, thickness, copper thickness, milling and so forth. so that you can get an precise quote devoid of any surprises later on.
Normally the expense per board will reduce as quantity increases. This is due to the fairly high setup cost of circuit board manufacturing and element assembly. Some vendors will use a system where they combine boards from various buyers. This way the setup price will be distributed amongst several shoppers. When you manufacture a solution, you certainly do not want to have to manufacture a large quantity of boards right away though you refine your design.
1 limitation with tiny-quantity prototypes though is that the choice of components and material thicknesses will be limited. If you are applying a unique material then chances are there won’t be any other prospects working with the very same material. In addition, lead time plays a huge part in determining price. A longer lead time makes it possible for the manufacturer additional freedom in slotting your production. This is typically reflected in decrease fees which you will see in the quote section. Clearly if you are in a rush and want to be moved to the top of the pile you will want to invest extra money.
Make sure that your contract manufacturer will support the file format for manufacture that you supply. The most widespread format for PCB manufacture is the Gerber format but some vendors will also accept board files from widespread PCB software goods. Some suppliers also supply in-home PCB design. Even if you style your board your self, selecting a vendor with design solutions may well prove valuable in case there is a challenge with your files. In this case your vendor can make quick changes which will stay clear of expensive delays.
When subcontracting PCB assembly, ensure that your vendor can assemble all of the package varieties that your board utilizes. Some vendors cannot assemble certain kind of IC packages such as BGA, chip-scale packages or pretty tiny element kinds. If in doubt be certain to contact your vendor ahead of time.
annular ring will carry an inventory of regular SMT and by way of-hole elements. You will save time if you can pull from your vendor’s inventory rather than buying every component yourself. Make positive to specify which components you wish to consign yourself when you upload your bill of supplies.
Most vendors will also supply manufacture of the SMT stencil which is necessary for PCB assembly. Be certain to order the stencil proper away when ordering the circuit boards themselves to avoid delays.