A Selection Guide for PCB Assembly Services

Printed Circuit Board (PCB) assembly comprises of several electronic components that enable the functioning of an electronic device. PCB assembly services consist of multi-stage processes that include placing components on a PCB board, soldering them in place, and inspecting and testing these components. PCB assembly is often outsourced by OEMs to a specialist firm, as setting up a printed circuit board assembly unit requires a significant investment. There are hundreds of tiny components that help complete the circuit in a printed circuit board.

Most small and medium sized businesses usually rely on the services of an electronics contract manufacturing firm to source their PCB units. There are several advantages of enlisting the services of a contract manufacturer. These include:

  • Save investment and labor costs:The capital investment in a PCB assembly unit is very high. A company can easily outsource these costs and save millions of dollars that would go into setting up operations, hiring labor, managing inventory, upgrading and maintaining their facility and so on.
  • Benefit from specialized skills: A contract manufacturing firm most likely specializes in the limited services that it offers. For instance, an electronics contract manufacturer would have a dedicated set-up and work force to take care of all its PCB projects. This would ensure that the OEM gets specialized, expert services in adherence to the latest industry standards.
  • Focus on core competencies: Having outsourced the non-core activities to a third party, the OEM can now focus on its core competencies. It can also put in more efforts in brand building and strengthening its sales and marketing network.

When choosing a firm to contract the PCB manufacturing and assembly process, it is very important to make an informed choice and decision. Here are some things to consider when choosing a partner for PCB assembly services:

  • Your foremost concern should be whether the chosen firm is equipped with the latest SMT and DIP line management capabilities. These are the latest standards in the printed circuit board industry. The speed of the SMT lines is integral too. A speed of 0.09 seconds per chip is great by international standards.
  • As most electronic and electrical items become more compact, it is essential to integrate multi-layer PCBs. Hence, the firm you are choosing should be able to manufacture PCBs of eight layers or even more if need be.
  • Other specifics include the ability to use a variety of conductive materials to suit your circuitry requirements. Choice of materials would include tin, bare copper or gold. Also, check if secondary inline operations such as BGA and bonding can be provided by the chosen PCB assembly manufacturer.
  • Finally, it is vital to ensure that the firm manufactures UL-listed and RoHS compliant services in keeping with environmental mandates.