How to Choose the PCB Manufacturer: The Complete Choice Guide

PCB Manufacturer

Choosing the suitable PCB manufacturer is not an easy task. This is because there are many factors you need to consider to ensure you select the best company for your needs. Moreover, selecting the best manufacturer makes the process easier. But when you choose the wrong one, you can incur a lot of losses.  

Keep in mind that a printed circuit board is one of the vital elements of an electronic device. It provides mechanical support and connectivity. In addition, there are different types of PCBs. Hence, the printed circuit board’s quality will affect the device’s function. Therefore, make sure you select the right PCB manufacturer.  

To help you make an informed choice, here is a complete guide on how to select the PCB manufacturer.  

Choosing a PCB Manufacturer 

PCB manufacture cost 

When looking for a manufacturer of any item, the cost is an essential factor to consider. You need to understand that reducing costs are some things that make a product successful.  

Even though the lowest cost is the target for anyone, that joy can be forgotten if the quality is poor. Hence, even if it is important to consider PCB manufacture cost, make sure you balance the cost and quality of the board. 

Ability to work together 

Another factor you need to consider when looking for a PCB manufacturer is the ability to work together. This means the manufacturer needs to work together with other teams such as the PCB designers, PCB assembly department, and others.  

Even though it might not be easy to tell if sectors can work together, the ability to work together will provide a quality PCB. Hence, it is a major factor when choosing a PCB manufacturer.  

Having a good relationship means issues that arise during production can be resolved on time. This is because feedback in both ways can be enhanced to boost the processes and productivity of the product.  

Board testing 

A good PCB manufacturer should have the ability to test the boards. Hence, ensure the manufacturer or supplier can quickly test the board on a sample basis. This is to improve the quality of the PCB.  

Therefore, make sure the company you choose has the ability to undertake this in a way that is required. Do not select a company that cannot offer board testing in a good way.  

Materials sourcing 

When it comes to PCB manufacturing, materials are important elements that you cannot ignore. Thus, it is important to know where the materials are obtained when looking for a PCB manufacturer.  

Keep in mind that some manufacturers might source materials from the cheapest places. This means the boards might be of low quality in performance. Thus, the company needs to tell where they source the raw materials.  

In addition, the company needs to follow the regulations that govern the use of hazardous substances. This is because several substances are restricted in the manufacturing of electronics. The substances include cadmium, mercury, lead, and others.  

Moreover, you must ensure the PCB manufacturer can deliver a UL-approved printed circuit board that meets all the standards. The requirements include: 

  • RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances)  

This is a regulation that has been in force for many years. It helps govern the number of hazardous substances allowed when manufacturing electronic products.  

  • REACH (Registration, Evaluation, and Authorization of Chemicals) 

This program details how chemicals need to be used in the manufacturing of electronics and how they are evaluated for their effects on the population and the environment.  

  • Conflict materials 

This is essential for any company working in the US or supplying products to America. The regulation helps in providing better visibility into the raw material supply chain. It is more important when materials are sourced from conflict zones such as Eastern Congo.  

PCB Quality 

Another critical factor to consider when selecting a PCB manufacturing company is PCB quality. You do not want to receive a low-quality printed circuit board. 

PCB quality means that the manufactured board meets all the required standards and has no errors. The board should perform perfectly without any significant problems.  

Nevertheless, PCB quality can mean a wide range of aspects. Some of the factors to consider when looking for PCB quality include: 

  • The board has the right dimensions
  • The holes are drilled and well-positioned. 
  • Has passed the bare board test. 
  • Has minimum board testing – but this depends on the board design.  

Hence, the quality of the board needs to be consistently high, has no faults, and should not fall away once the main orders have been secured successfully. It is important to note that any mistake can endanger the PCB assembly or equipment manufacturer’s business.  

Therefore, you must ensure the selected supplier’s quality is paramount. To be on the safe side, you can ask other non-competing companies who may use them about the quality.  

On-time delivery 

Delivery falls under PCB quality. Nevertheless, it is essential to make sure the company you pick has a good record when it comes to delivery. They need to quote a lead time and delivery within the time. Keep in mind that the success of a product depends on delivery time.  

Manufacturer’s expertise and capabilities 

It is also important to select a manufacturer who can select the types of PCBs you need. You need to understand that not all manufacturers have the capability and expertise to manufacture some PCBs.  

Hence, consider their capabilities, expertise, and equipment of the supplier. Some manufacturers don’t have all the processes for PCB fabrication, such as etching, cnc machining or others.

Bottom-line 

A printed Circuit Board is an important element in any modern electronic device. Therefore, when looking for a PCB manufacturer, you need to consider all the above factors.  

It is important not to compromise the quality of the board. Hence, research more about the company and choose wisely for your own benefit. By following the above tips, you will understand that selecting the right PCB manufacturer is vital for an effective electronic device. 

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