PCB Assembly

The Differences Between Turnkey PCB Assembly and Consignment PCB Assembly?

Turnkey PCB Assembly and Consignment PCB Assembly

Let’s be real, creating a PCB is very taxing as it covers processes such as designing, testing, material procurements, and many more. As a result, all of those tasks will leave you with little to no time to handle other matters within your electronics brand. However, there’s a workaround to that issue and it comes in the form of two options – which are turnkey PCB assembly and consignment PCB assembly.

These two options may seem similar on the surface as they can help you navigate through the arduous process of designing and creating a PCB; however, each one of them has its unique traits. In this article, we’ll be exploring the key differences between those two options. 

Turnkey PCB assembly – characteristics and benefits

To kickstart our discussion, let’s discuss the turnkey PCB assembly. It is best summed up as outsourcing help from a PCB assembly company. Once a manufacturer is secured, your company will then hand over the designs, specifications, and blueprints to the PCB assembler so that they can work on tasks ranging from material procurement, assembly, and the creation of the prototype which is opposite to what consignment manufacturing is.

What happens next is that the client will test the prototype and apply their tweaks and improvements before creating its finalized version. Keep in mind that the manufacturer will be the one shouldering the costs and processes without any or little involvement from the client company.

Now that we’ve understood the profile of the turnkey PCB assembly contract, here are the advantages that it can offer to you:

Turnkey PCB Assembly

1. Staying ahead of the PCB rush

Keep in mind that the world of PCB manufacturing is like a race because printed circuit boards get updated from time to time. After all, technological improvements take place at an alarmingly fast pace. As a result, it doesn’t take long for innovative products to appear in the market to replace older products.

Thus, utilizing a turnkey PCB assembly service or contract will ensure that your electronics brand will stay ahead of the PCB race by updating the device’s circuit boards. 

2. All matters fall in the hands of your manufacturer

The partner manufacturer is the one handling all aspects of your PCB project. That means there will be no pressure for you to get involved in any part of the process. From material procurement, and storage, to shipping – all of them will be shouldered by your partner manufacturer. 

As a result, you can set your focus on other matters related to your electronics business instead of stressing over the steps in getting your printed circuit boards manufactured.

3. Proven professionals will handle your PCB project

When you opt for a turnkey PCB assembly service, you won’t need to worry about who will handle your PCB project. That’s because your printed circuit board project may end up in the hands of certified professionals who know the ins and outs of manufacturing a circuit board.

You can expect the highest caliber of service from your partner manufacturer if you opt for a turnkey contract to have them handle your PCB designs and get them manufactured.

Consignment PCB assembly – key traits and advantages

Now that we’re familiar with what is turnkey PCB assembly, let’s move on to its polar opposite which is consignment PCB assembly. Unlike a turnkey contract, consignment PCB assembly puts all responsibilities to the designer or the equipment manufacturer. Purchasing materials, negotiating with vendors, and other PCB assembly-related matters will fall under your care and as a result, this approach is favored usually by experienced designers and equipment manufacturers operating in the electronics niche.

Keep in mind that consignment PCB assembly won’t be entirely a solo effort that you’ll carry on your shoulders alone. If you happen to be a part of a manufacturing team, that means your company will handle your project and will not outsource help from other manufacturers.

Consignment assembly has its distinct advantages that you won’t see in a turnkey contract, here are some of those unique perks that set it apart.

Consignment PCB Assembly

1. Absolute control over the PCB project

The first unique perk that consignment assembly has over turnkey contracts is that you will have absolute control over the PCB project. You will be in charge of overseeing the in-house team that will handle your printed circuit board concept. You will also be the person of contact if ever the in-house team will apply some necessary changes to your design or defer to you if it’s okay that they provide suggestions that could improve your design.

2. No third-party companies involved

In connection with the previously-mentioned perk which is absolute control over the project, since production takes place in-house; you and your team are in charge of the entire operation of creating a customized printed circuit board.

Keeping operations in-house is going to be a huge advantage if you are coordinating with a team that has a track record of high performance and consistency in completing PCB projects.

3. Manufacturing can take place earlier

Unlike a turnkey PCB assembly contract where there are additional steps taking place before assembly; in a consignment setting – the manufacturing can take place as soon as possible. This is especially true if your company’s supply warehouses happen to already contain the materials required for your printed circuit board projects.

In addition to immediate manufacturing, you can also control any changes that could be applied in the middle and after fabricating the PCBs.


The main differences between turnkey PCB assembly and consignment PCB assembly

The characteristics of turnkey PCB assembly and consignment PCB assembly are mentioned above. Please refer to their main differences. 

Items Turnkey PCB Assembly Consignment PCB Assembly
Price Control Lower  Higher
Engineering Team Normal  Experienced
Buyer Team Normal Strong
Project Control Lower  Higher
Lead Time Quicker Slower
Suitable Business Small to Medium Large
Order Volume Small to Medium Large


The bottom line between the two options

To summarize what we’ve covered, both turnkey PCB assembly and consignment assembly are means to navigate through the arduous process of manufacturing printed circuit boards. However, what sets them apart is that turnkey assembly relinquishes control over your project and gives it to your partner manufacturer whereas consignment assembly takes absolute control over the PCB project with no third parties involved.

Each of the two approaches has its unique set of advantages – but to summarize, if you want a cost-effective option that can provide high-quality PCBs so you can focus on other matters, then go for a turnkey contract. On the flip side, if you want to create innovative PCB designs and take complete charge of a PCB project, then go for consignment assembly.

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