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An Ultimate Guide to Choosing a PCB Manufacturer 

What is PCB?

A Printed Circuit Board (PCB) is a thin board made of composite epoxy or fiberglass. It is used as a wiring area for socketed and surface-mounted components.  PCBs come in a single layer to multi-layer PCB’s and can be as  sophisticated as 64 layers.

Choosing the best PCB manufacturer is always challenging, especially if you want to manufacture a more sophisticated device like a camera, cell phone, medical, and digital devices. Well, in this article, we look at some factors you should consider when choosing a PCB manufacturer for your project.

Here are the factors you must consider when choosing your PCB company.

1. Check on their compliance and guidelines

In the current PCB industry, someproduction firms are mainly interested in mass production to meet the ever-growing demand for their products. They produce without paying attention to the quality standards set for the industry.

A reliable manufacturer should follow all the set guidelines and use high-quality materials in their production. With a proper set of guidelines and some quality assurance policy to follow, a manufacturing company can always avoid mistakes in its production line. With a set of guidelines, the manufacturer can maintain repeatability in every finished product they deliver.

2. Quality and quantity of machines

The best PCB manufacturer is one with the highest caliber team, focused on research, the tools most equipment and resources at its disposal. The company should have a complete inventory of machines, which are critical to produce high-quality products. The machines should use state of the art technology and the latest software to come up with quality products.

Because the PCB standards keep advancing as new technology emerges, you must ensure the manufacturer is applying the latest technology in the production so that all their circuits are compatible with your project and is cost effective.

Check for the accuracy of the components, design, number of feeders, model, origin of machine (whether it’s made in China or Japan), and other essential factors. You cannot install minute components if you get a board with low accuracy. Also, old machines are more susceptible to defects and will often result in low yields.

3. List of services

When choosing a PCB company for your project, you  must determine the services they offer. Besides producing the best PCBs, you also want to know if the company is offering other additional services critical to your project. This will help you avoid wasting time switching between companies in the production process.

Find out if the company is offering quick turns, layout designing, prototyping, and penalization. Some of these services will lower your project budget if you can access them under a roof.

4. What are the company’s capabilities

Before contacting the company or placing your order for PCB, you must go through their portfolio and learn more about theircapabilities.

You should find out more about the company’s lead time, order quantity, tolerance, specs, surface finish options, and board layers.

For instance, when choosing based on the number of layers, you can determine whether the company is offering single,  double,  or multi-layer PCBs. Get all the details of the boards that you want to order.

5. Testing options

What testing options does the company offer for their products? Every reputable printed circuit board manufacturer should have an in-house test facility for their projects. Since you want to minimize the risk of failure in the future, it should provide you with a testing option.

6. Design for Manufacturabilityreview

Ensure that the PCB manufacturer is able to do a thorough Design for Manufacturing review before launching the parts into production. This will ensure greater first time success rates for brand new projects.

7. Watch out for red flags

When reaching out for a PCB assembler, there are some red flags that you must be aware of to avoid ending up with a company that won’t deliver quality results. Here are some signs that the company you are about to deal with is incompetent:

  • Poor communication: the company does respond to emails and phone calls on time. It is even more challenging to reach out when you have some urgent issues it should address. The company should be able to inform you about the status of your project.
  • Inflexibility: the company should table new ideas to help you with some tips on the best project ideas. It is essential to collaborate with a PCB company with expert knowledge and insights on your unique project. Limited flexibility is a warning sign to watch out.
  • It takes a lot of time to complete projects: If the company takes a lot of time to complete a project without giving reasons why, it is better to look elsewhere. A reliable PCB company should be able to accommodate all your needs and complete your project within the agreed timeline.
  • Trustworthy reviews: You should be able to get some positive reviews about the company from previous clients. Meaning the company should provide you contacts to some of their clients to act as references. Also, check the company’s certifications and experience level of its employees.

Final Thoughts

There is a lot you should expect when working with a PCB manufacturer. It costs a lot to get a quality prototype for your project, which means you should only partner with a company that can deliver nothing but the best. Based on the guide above, we believe American Standard Circuits is the top PCB manufacturer to utilize for any PCB project. Their focus and quality on all types of PCBs such as metal backed PCBs, Flexible PCBs, PCB prototypes, Multi-layer PCB, custom PCB, HDI PCB, and MCPCBs.

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