How to Choose a PCB Assembly Company
PCB assembly is the step in the manufacturing process in which you fill a blank board with the electronic components needed to make it into a functional printed circuit board. These electronic components are what enable an electronic device to work. There are two processes in which PCB assembly is done. The first one is the most commonly used. Its main advantage lies in the fact that you can create a third of the size and a tenth of the weight of boards made with the second process. The first process is respectively known as surface-mount technology while the second process is known as through-hole manufacturing. Surface-mount technology is more cost-effective and it also allows for higher connection densities which typically makes it faster. This method involves mounting the various components directly on the board’s surface. Through-hole involves placing units in holes on the board and soldering the leads to pads on the opposite side. You will notice that this method is far ancient compared to the first one. Most of the circuit boards made in the past are manufactured using step technology. The circuit board manufactured using through-hole technology is more durable because of the bond between the various components and the board.
Now that you have a basic idea of what PCB assembly is and the two different methodologies applied and their advantage over the other, we shall move on to the crux of the matter. If you are subcontracting, you need to ensure you work with the right contractor or company. There are numerous PCB assembly contractors out there. Some are skilled, some are mediocre while others are there to rip you off. Having reached the assembly phase, you must have done a lot of work in your project. It would be a bummer if you were to select a sham to rip you off after pulling out all the stops in your project. Therefore, you need to know exactly what to look for in a good contractor! The following factors should help you when selecting a decent partner to work within your project.
You should most importantly have a list of companies that you should analyze to get the best among them. The first factor to consider is the timeline given by the company. Time will depend on how fast you need your project completed. To avoid delays, you should first request timeline estimates from the various companies and you should at least be able to see the ones that you can work with depending on the timeline provided to avoid any hassles. You will also have to consider experience which is determined by how long the company has been assembling. Also, ensure you know which of the two assembly methods they are well versed with. The one you select will depend on your preference for PCB assembly methods. Next, you will have to ensure the quality of their service. You can estimate the quality through assessing their equipment and also whether they are accredited assemblers. Accreditation is key. You can also inquire from the people the company has worked with before and also read customer reviews on the internet since most such companies usually have a website with basic if not detailed information about them. You should also be comfortable with its customer service regulations. The best would be the one that prioritizes customer service.
Another factor to consider is pricing. It should be affordable and worth your investment. Do not settle for mediocrity just because they charge less for their services. They should also be willing to discuss your project with you.