It often does not make sense to invest in high-priced production gear if you just want to spin a handful of prototypes and as an alternative outsource your PCB assembly and prototype manufacturing to a trusted vendor. I will give some ideas as to what to watch out for when hunting for a contract manufacturer.
Many contract suppliers will offer an immediate quote mechanism on their web-site for manufacture of circuit boards and assembly of prototypes. This will save you time when comparing unique vendors. Make positive that the quote technique makes it possible for you to enter all of the specifics, such as board material, thickness, copper thickness, milling and so forth. so that you can get an correct quote without having any surprises later on.
Normally pic microcontrollers per board will lower as quantity increases. This is due to the fairly higher setup price of circuit board manufacturing and element assembly. Some vendors will use a system exactly where they combine boards from various clients. This way the setup expense will be distributed amongst various consumers. When you manufacture a solution, you clearly do not want to have to manufacture a huge quantity of boards suitable away although you refine your design.
One limitation with smaller-quantity prototypes even though is that the decision of components and material thicknesses will be limited. If you are making use of a specific material then probabilities are there will not be any other consumers making use of the similar material. In addition, lead time plays a large function in determining expense. A longer lead time makes it possible for the manufacturer a lot more freedom in slotting your production. This is typically reflected in lower expenses which you will see in the quote section. Naturally if you are in a rush and want to be moved to the best of the pile you will require to commit extra dollars.
Make positive that your contract manufacturer will support the file format for manufacture that you provide. The most popular format for PCB manufacture is the Gerber format but some vendors will also accept board files from popular PCB software products. Some suppliers also offer in-home PCB design. Even if you style your board oneself, selecting a vendor with design services may prove useful in case there is a challenge with your files. In this case your vendor can make swift modifications which will keep away from pricey delays.
When subcontracting PCB assembly, make sure that your vendor can assemble all of the package kinds that your board makes use of. Some vendors can’t assemble specific sort of IC packages such as BGA, chip-scale packages or pretty modest element varieties. If in doubt be sure to make contact with your vendor ahead of time.
Some contract manufacturers will carry an inventory of regular SMT and by way of-hole components. You will save time if you can pull from your vendor’s inventory rather than purchasing every single element yourself. Make confident to specify which elements you want to consign your self when you upload your bill of supplies.
Most vendors will also offer manufacture of the SMT stencil which is essential for PCB assembly. Be positive to order the stencil ideal away when ordering the circuit boards themselves to prevent delays.