It doesn’t seem sensible to invest in costly production pieces of equipment if you would like to test some prototypes and as an alternative you can outsource prototype manufacturing and PCB assembly to a dependable company. I will give you a few ideas as to what to consider when you are trying to find a PCB manufacturer.
Many PCB manufacturers will give you a direct quote system on their site for manufacturing circuit boards and PCB assembly. It help you save time when comparing various manufacturers. Ensure that the quote mechanism enables you to insert all of the details, like board material, milling, copper thickness etc, allowing you to get an exact quote without any unexpected situations down the road.
Typically the cost per board can cut down as quantity also increases. That is caused by the quite high setup cost of PCB manufacturing and assembly. Some manufacturers will use a method in which they mix boards from many customers. Using this method the setup cost can be distributed amongst some customers. If you manufacture a product, you undeniably are not keen to manufacture a massive quantity of PCB at once while you improve your product design.
One restraint with small-quantity prototypes though is that often the selection of materials and thicknesses of the materials will be limited. When you are using an exclusive material then most likely there will not be any other customers utilizing the equal material. Additionally, lead time plays an important role in determining cost.
Ensure that your outsource manufacturer can support the file format for manufacturing that you give. The most typical format for PCB manufacturing is the Gerber format .however some manufacturers can even allow board files from typical PCB software tools. Some manufacturers also provide in-house PCB design. Even though you can design your board yourself, choosing a manufacturer with design services will be helpful if there is an issue with your files. In cases like this your manufacturer will make fast changes that may eliminate costly delays.
Some PCB manufacturers will have an inventory of standard SMT and through-hole mechanism. It will save you time when you can pull from your vendor’s inventory instead of buying each component on your own. Ensure that you tell them which components you want to consign yourself while you upload your cost of materials. Many manufacturers also provide manufacture of the SMT stencil that is needed for PCB manufacturing. Make sure you order the stencil at once while ordering the boards to prevent delays.
To make sure that your circuit boards works, make perfectly sure that your manufacturer is certified and provides the tests and inspection systems which are needed. Please bear in mind, however, that tests, like ICT testing takes more time and cost to prepare test equipments.