How to Choose the Perfect Manufacturer for Low Cost PCB Prototype?
The importance of PCBs in modern day electronics cannot be overstated. However for the PCB to do its work correctly, what you also need is the right manufacturer. Particularly if you are looking at new product development you need to go with a prototype to be able to test the design or to have a minimum viable product, that in turn, could be used in the investor pitches. That you cannot go with very expensive prototypes are also a given. How then do you find the right manufacturer who offers low-cost PCB Prototypes?
While low cost PCB is an important determinant of choosing the manufacturer, it needs to be remembered that the low cost should not come at the cost of quality. Costs offered by the manufacturer need to be competitive, no doubt, as manufacturers have strong relationships with part suppliers and can drive a good bargain. However, if the cost is extremely low, even that can become a red flag as there is the fear that the cost could be at the expense of quality. Going with such low costs can turn out to be costly in the long run as you tend to face numerous consequences including product recalls.
Other than the cost, therefore, here is a handy list of things to look for:
PCB Prototype Quality
Ensure that you go with a manufacturer that has the right experience in offering high quality boards. Typically if you have a requirement for a complex board, it will work well to see that the manufacturer has the right equipment as well as experienced personnel who are armed with industry best practices to do justice to your boards. It is also necessary to check the kind of testing protocols the manufacturer follows and the industry standards that the board adheres to. It will be important to ensure that the manufacturer follows the necessary industry guidelines including offering RoHS boards that have a restriction on the hazardous substances used in the board.
You will also want to check where the manufacturer is sourcing the PCB material from. In a bid to source cheap materials you should not be staring at a situation where the product quality differs from batch to batch.
Timelines for PCB prototypes
Particularly when you require PCB prototype, timelines of delivery are extremely important. This is because you need to be able to test them quickly and make any changes if need be before going to market. Going with a manufacturer that offers quick turnaround, therefore is extremely important.
PCB Prototype Order quantities
In making the choice of manufacturer, it is also important to double-check whether or not they can handle low volume PCB assembly with the same kind of commitment to quality. After all, at the prototype stage you do not want to be stuck with minimum order quantities. It will also be prudent to check that the manufacturer offers you scalability, such that when you have to go with a large production run, they are equally equipped to take care of it.
Portfolio of clients
Another aspect worth spending some time on is the kind of client portfolio the company has and the kind of testimonials and satisfaction levels the clients have. If the manufacturer has done prior work in the same industry as yours, it will be a definite advantage as they will be equipped with industry best practices that will mean that you do not need to reinvent the wheel.
Overall, the PCB manufacturer approach towards building long term relationships can also go a long way in you making the choice. A proactive and robust customer support team can be a big indicator of this approach.
To sum up, the choice of low cost printed circuit boards isn’t only about looking for a manufacturer that offers low costs but also one that offers high quality, the desired quantities, quick turnaround time and an overall proactive and customer focused approach. In the absence of any of these factors low price alone will not guarantee the success of the project. On the contrary, it could lead you to dealing with errors that could prove to be extremely costly and even detrimental to the company reputation.
At TechnoTronix, we combine state-of-the-art technology with our advanced engineering to deliver unmatched quality and service. With rapid PCB prototyping and consistent delivery of high-quality PCBs, we offer a strong source of competitive advantage to our customers. We have over 40 years of experience in providing printed circuit board prototyping services. Feel free to ask if you have any questions regarding PCB prototype services. Your satisfaction is our primary goal!