The Standards for Choosing PCB Manufacturers
Before choosing a PCB manufacturer, think of the requirements of your electronic device. You also need to consider the requirements of a manufacturer. There are more complex PCB issues to which you should pay attention. The following is a list of 3 points to always have in mind when scouting for your PCB manufacturer.
What are the requirements for your product?
If you can determine what the requirements of your product are, you’ll be able to narrow down your choices of PCB manufacturers. Four of these questions will be covered here, and they will relate to the requirements of your product as much as possible.
What is the market for your product?
Do you determine the market for your products? The situation is different from selling your products to North America, Europe, Asia, or other needs.
It is vital to position your product. You should decide whether your product is low-end, standard, or premium. Then you will select the manufacturer that has advanced or ordinary equipment accordingly. Do you know the specific application of your products? Are the outcomes for automation control, instruments, communication, automobile, medical care, military defense, or others?
Determine your budget
The budget will directly affect the materials that you want to use. You should consider using premium materials or ordinary materials according to your budget. Your budget also affects your production level. Whether to produce new products or cut back on production depends on your account.
Do you know what kind of materials is best for your device? First, you should decide whether your product is low-end, standard, or premium. Then you may choose the materials accordingly.
Additionally, the level of flexibility will also determine your PCB sourcing expectations. Your product might require a specific design of the printed circuit board. For example, wearable consumer electronics like smartphones might need flexible or flex-rigid PCBs.
Please note that you can also choose between standard and HDI PCBs. The latter uses high-density interconnect technology, which allows them to place extra components while maintaining minimal size and weight.
This question is related to whether you want your idea to make money and the urgency you want to sell your invention to the public. The turnaround time, the more money the manufacturer will expect from sales.
Every company cares about every invested cent. It is vital to stay on schedule by releasing new products and services. That is why you can’t afford that any item takes longer delivery than predicted, and that includes printed circuit boards.
Aside from having specific requirements for your products and looking for manufacturers with similar conditions, you should also have some other questions in mind when it comes to choosing a manufacturer. Including the manufacture’s experience, production capacity, established track record, having a professional staff ready to help, testing procedure, assisting you with marketing.
Does the manufacturer have experience in producing devices similar to yours?
The experience can be crucial because the chances are that they have already done a similar project to the one you are asking. That way, you can ensure that someone knowledgeable and skillful will be handling the PCB assembly, and ensuring that your board is high-performing and reliable.
What kind of production capacity is possible with this manufacturer?
You should decide on a company based on your budget and the requirements of your product. Make sure that the provider has the manufacturing capabilities required to design your board. That includes appropriate equipment that can create the type of PCB you want. Additionally, you want to confirm that they use the materials you would like in the PCB designed for your application. Ultimately, the company needs to be ready to meet your expectations regarding the cost and delivery of the boards.
Does the manufacturer have an established track record?
The issues surrounding this question are twofold. First, you can select a manufacturer with an established track record to make sure they will produce your electronic device correctly. The other issue is one that involves taking a risk. While taking a chance on a manufacturer that is not very experienced, in this way, both yourself and the manufacturing firm can gain notoriety at the same time.
Do They Have a Professional Staff Ready to Help?
The company needs to have the right combo of equipment and staff. Modern machines and tools are not worth much if no one can use them properly. That is why you should look for a manufacturer that gathers a team of trained and experienced engineers.
Professional staff will be there with you every step of the way. They understand the need to clarify your dilemmas and answer any question you might have relating to your product. That is particularly important if it is your first time working with that provider. Pay special attention to the behavior of the staff.
What is the manufacturer’s testing procedure?
PCB manufacturers are responsible for a lot of things in regards to electronics. If your target market for your inventions is large enough, it will be necessary for testing to be very prioritized. It is especially true if your device is for something specific.
Knowing the manufacturer’s testing procedure and all of the details that the testing procedures entail will also give you peace of mind. It is never a good thing to represent a device that has not been tested thoroughly.
Will the manufacturer assist you with marketing?
Marketing can be a very tedious task. When done on one’s own, it can take months or even years to develop effective marketing strategies for any product. Electronics are not exempt from this, and if you are a designer who does not have a marketing team or who do not have the capital to spend on marketing, you will want all the help you can get. You will probably want your manufacturer to assist you with marketing.
Specific PCB issues you should know:
Aside from knowing the requirements of your product, manufacturer requirements, there is something more you should pay attention to the PCB issues. The following is a list of 8 points for your information.
PCB geometry and circuit
As human beings continue shrinking the electronics in daily life, the requirement for concise documentation continues to grow, becoming more critical at every node. The dimensions provided are the determinants of either failure or success. If the tolerances are very tight, the costs will be high. Conversely, loose tolerances bring about misfit parts that may need some reworking. To ensure the avoidance of short circuits and other challenges that may arise during printed circuit board operation, there’s a need to pay attention to such a problem.
Copper wire area
Copper is a common material used in making traces when it comes to circuit board manufacturing. Hints are some of the essential elements because they transmit electrical signals to different parts of a printed circuit board. Without such traces at their intended place, printed circuit boards will not be functional as intended.
The most significant benefit of using copper material is it’s significantly conductive, meaning that it can transfer signals without losing electricity in the process. Additionally, you’ll only need small tons of copper to complete your project instead of using a lot of it.
Handle solder carefully
To ensure that your PCB board manufacturing comes out as planned, you’ll have to ensure that you handle the welding carefully. Solder is an alloy of metal that’s melted to create a permanent bond between electrical components. Poor handling of the weld may bring about disturbed, cold, or overheated joints.
PCB manufacturing selection of solder mask
Solder mask, also known as solder resist, is a thin layer that covers copper traces of a printed circuit board to protect the metal elements from oxidation, dirt, and corrosion. Additionally, solder masks aim at preventing soldering bridges from taking place on the covered areas of a printed circuit board. If you don’t have solder masks on PCBs, the copper traces connected with solder paste may bring about short circuits on the board.
Deciding on the appropriate solder mask to use largely depends on the dimensions of the board, components, holes, surface layout, conductors, and the final application of where the product will be applied. Dry masks work best if the board surface is flat. On the other hand, liquid options are ideal for PCBs with sophisticated surfaces.
PCB manufacturing signal and rf issues
Signal integrity comes in as one of the biggest problems associated with the manufacture of high-speed printed circuit boards, especially when it comes to custom electronics manufacturing. To ensure that you reduce potential problems related to signal integrity, then it is vital for a printed circuit supplier is in a position to provide PCBs with durable designs.
Apart from signal integrity, printed circuit board designers or RF have to employ laminate materials ideal for the current project. The basis of the choice you make has to meet or satisfy the electrical needs required by the RF circuit, such as signal speeds and loss rate, among others.
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