Top 10 Tips to Ensure PCB Assembly Success
At the outset, it is important to differentiate between Printed Circuit Board Manufacturing and Printed Circuit Board Assembly. While the former deals with fabrication of the board, the latter deals with assembling the components on the circuit board thus manufactured.
Not just in PCB Manufacturing, when it comes to PCB Assembly as well, you need to ensure that you get a solution that is both high quality as well as cost-effective. This is made possible if you pay the process due attention and treat the PCB Assembler as a consultant who can offer effective suggestions not just in terms of assembly, but also on aspects such as design of the board, new product techniques, industry best practices and more.
Here are some handy tips which when followed, will go a long way in ensuring PCB Assembly success.
Use your PCB Assembler as a valued resource as you start to design your PCB
Typically PCB Assembly is regarded as a process that comes at the end of the cycle. The fact, however, is that you need to consult your PCB Assembly partner early. In fact the PCB Assembler can give you important inputs at the design stage itself, given their vast experience and expertise. Not doing so, may mean that you have to contend with costly changes, which could also delay your go-to-market which itself can turn out to be an expensive affair.
Look for Onshore Assembly
While cost can be a key determinant when it comes to offshore assembly, the fact is that there can be many hidden costs that can cost you dear. Consider the cost of getting low quality products or delay in delivery. These issues can offset the initial low cost that you would have factored in your product pricing.
Choose the PCB Assembler wisely
Often times you may land up choosing a supplier, who is the sole supplier of the PCB parts. There is always the risk of being stuck if the supplier cannot deliver parts on time or if he discontinues production of a certain part. In such cases you would not have any back up. Often times this criteria may not feature in your decision-making matrix, but is exceedingly important, nevertheless.
Consistency in labeling
It is important to ensure that your labels are consistent- be they on the design document or the component parts. While we are careful of the document labeling, component labeling does not get too much attention from us. However any inconsistency may lead to wrong components that can impact your product.
Ensure there is readability on your documentation and that all parts are numbered correctly. Any miscommunication can cost you dearly.
Similarly, ensure that there is parity in the file formats. It shouldn’t happen that the assembler isn’t comfortable with the formats you send and that leads to wastage of time. This is fairly important as not all assemblers cater to all file formats. Gerber & CAD remain among the two popular formats.
Make use of the tools available with the Assembler
The PCB Assembler can help you with the initial design and schematic creation. This can go a long way in ensuring that there are no issues at a later stage which can prove to be extremely costly as you would need to redo the prototype not to mention the fact that you would also have lost out on precious time.
It is also prudent to conduct a DFM Review before you send the design to the PCB Assembler. DFM or Design for Manufacturing checks to see whether the design aids the manufacturing process. DFM can identify many issues such as those to do with spacing or component polarity, for example. It can go a long way in pointing out discrepancies if any at the outset instead of in the end. Check out how to reduce the cost and make manufacturing process faster using PCB DFM.
List the desired capabilities
It will help to list the desired capabilities that you want in the board. Is strong signal transmission your primary requirement or high power output a key requirement. Accordingly it will help to arrive at a design. There could be the need to arrive at some trade-offs basis what your objectives are. This will also ensure that the final product matches your expectations and that there are no discrepancies. If there is a way to enhance the capabilities given your specific requirements, the Assembler may come back with recommendations too.
Ensure you factor in the lead time
It is important to factor in the lead time when it comes to both the design phase as well as the assembly phase. This will in turn help you arrive at your time-to-market accurately. It will also help to test before you place the final order as you will be able to check how reliable the partner is. This, in turn, will give you the necessary confidence in moving ahead.
Technotronix Inc is a California based PCB Manufacturing company offering dedicated PCB assembly, SMT PCB Assembly, Prototype PCB Assembly, Led PCB Assembly, Overseas PCB Assembly, Mastering Mixed PCB Assembly and more services as per customer requirements and specification.
In case if you have any questions, please feel free to contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 714/630-9200.