PCB Assembly

Custom PCB Supplier Selection Essential Tips for Success

Custom PCB Production

We all depend on electronic devices, be it to contact someone or watch a movie at home to pass the time. Life seems incomplete without electronic devices, but do you know what these devices are indispensable? Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs).

All your devices are dependent on PCBs to function. Without them, they can’t transmit either digital or analog signals. Therefore, manufacturing PCBs of good quality plays a crucial role.

For that, you need to partner up with a reliable supplier who can produce high-quality PCBs and meet your business’s requirements.
In this article, we will share essential tips that you must consider when selecting a custom PCB supplier.

Essential Tips for the Selection of Custom PCB Suppliers

Custom PCB capabilities are extremely important when manufacturing a PCB. There can be various reasons for that. Your requirements may be different from those of a regular design. This can include sizes and components.

Only a competent supplier can meet your needs and deliver a customized product. Consider the following tips before selecting your PCB supplier.

Can they produce custom PCBs according to your own design?

Size and shape play a major role in manufacturing PCBs. Traditionally, companies used to produce devices that were large in size, but recently, compact devices have been preferred.

If you also want to change the size of your device from the traditional devices and develop a compact one, you need a PCB supplier who can handle PCBs that easily fit a device smaller in size.

In aerospace or wearable sectors, you need a PCB that is smaller in size and also weighs less. Only a skilled supplier will be able to produce a PCB that is the perfect size and meets your performance requirements.

You would have already known that different PCBs have different layers. The number of layers depends on specifications and requirements.

If you develop traditional or relatively simple devices like radios and toys, you will need single-sided PCBs. However, if you manufacture advanced devices such as computers, laptops, or medical equipment, you will need multi-layer PCBs. With multi-layer PCBs, you will even have to customize the number of layers. Some devices require a PCB with 4 to 6 layers, while some devices require 18 to 30 layers and even more. Therefore, make sure that your PCB supplier can create a PCB with the required layers.

Can they provide custom PCB assembly?

To manufacture a PCB, you need different types of components. These components can be of various sizes. Similarly, manufacturing a PCB requires different types of technologies.

Some use surface mount technology, while others use through-hole technology. In surface mount technology, SMT components are mounted directly on the surface of PCBs, resulting in precise and more compact designs than those using through-hole mounting.

Additionally, each component has specific requirements that must be fulfilled. Your PCB manufacturer should design a PCB that meets the requirements of voltage, current, and power ratings.

Most importantly, temperature plays an integral role in maintaining the integrity of these components. Some components generate more energy and heat. Therefore, your PCB supplier needs to meet these requirements to ensure no short circuits and electrical loads.

Custom Circuit Board Manufacturer

Can they manage power requirements?

Different devices have different power requirements. Some demand higher power, while others require lower power. The power requirements determine the width and thickness of PCB traces.

Higher power necessitates broader and thicker traces to handle the increased current without overheating or cracking.

If the power requirements are not met properly, it can cause overheating. For example, if you develop laptops and computers, the PCB should handle higher power requirements. Hence, your PCB supplier should be able to handle the power requirements of your devices.

Do they consider environmental factors?

The location of your business and the environmental factors that affect your target market are crucial in PCB design and manufacturing.
For instance, your company may be based in a totally different climate from that of your competitors, and this could affect the types of processes you have to implement as well as the materials that are best suited for you.

Most importantly, if warm and humid areas dominate your target market, this aspect should be crucial for your PCB design plan.

Moisture absorption is one of the problems that are observed in PCBs when they are operating under high-temperature and humid conditions.
This, in turn, leads to corrosion and electrical short circuits. High temperatures can also cause stress on the PCB materials, leading to warping or delamination.

As such, it is important to select materials and design PCBs that can function in these conditions. These can be high-temperature laminates, moisture protection using conformal coatings, and thermal expansion design.

Besides, the manufacturing processes of your business can be affected by the local weather conditions. For example, the humidity and temperature control in a production facility may not be as difficult for a firm located in a more temperate and dry climate compared to one operating from a tropical region.

Therefore, your PCB supplier should be mindful of the environmental factors and customize the manufacturing process according to your location.

Can they customize the budget?

Budget is a big factor in determining your custom PCB supplier. Whoever you team up with should be able to customize the package according to your budget.

You can compare suppliers and then get quotations. Choose the best price you get that you can easily afford. Therefore, there are some additional tips for you that will help reduce your costs.

  • You can reduce the complexity of your PCB design by asking for fewer layers.
  • To manage your budget, you can skip advanced components and opt for simple and local ones as they are relatively cheap.
  • Select simple designs that are smaller in size. Larger and more complex designs can be expensive.
  • Place bulk orders because they are more economical and convenient than purchasing individual orders.

Can they meet the lead time of your custom PCB?

Quick lead time is another critical tip that you should consider when selecting a PCB supplier. Lead time varies from same day to weeks. For standard PCB production, the lead time for low-volume PCB assembly and manufacturing could be as quick as one day. As for custom PCB, the lead time differs from one PCB supplier to another concerning their PCB assembly and manufacturing capabilities. In this way, it is imperative for you to evaluate suppliers’ capabilities ahead of quotations. A qualified electronic contract manufacturing (ECM) partner can significantly improve PCB lead time.

Conclusion

Don’t forget to consider the tips we shared with you before deciding on your custom PCB supplier. A supplier who is skilled and experienced will be able to produce customized PCBs for you that not only align with your business needs but are also high quality.

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