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PCB Assembly Providers(How To) – 8 Helpful Questions

PCB assembly providers. Evaluating your PCB Assembly Providers is necessary if you want materials that you can rely on for your day-to-day activities. For this reason, you must develop criteria that can be used when sourcing for PCB Assembly providers. The company’s financial position, the environment in which it operates. The equipment it uses and how it manages its information are critical aspects you must consider. This article looks at some of the grilling questions you need to ask before engaging a company as your Bill Of Materials (BOM) of a PCB gets fitted onto aboard.

1. Company Qualify

1.1 Is The Company Financially Stable?

This is the first question that needs to be answered before you consider partnering with the provider for your day-to-day supply of PCB materials. The worst thing that you can do to your company is to engage a financially unstable supplier. If you do this, it means that you will have your material pipeline interrupted because of financial issues. Notice that economic issues are always difficult to solve, so it may take weeks and even months to work through them. A stable company, not just financially. All aspects related to customers and vendors can be trusted and relied on for inventorying PCBs.

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1.2 Does The Company Have Certifications?

Building PCB products require that a company should be certified and licensed. As such, it is necessary that you only enter into agreements with companies that are accredited. Check out if the company has qualified specialists and artistry. It is also essential that you check if they are licensed to carry out soldiering or rework repairs. The certification of the trainer staff is something that should not be ignored. Also, you must check the quality system certification in their possession.

1.3 How Transparent the Company Is?

Other than ensuring that the company will be in a position to supply you with quality printed circuit boards. It is essential to consider whether it is transparent or not. would help if you researched whether the factory is customer friendly or not. It would help if you got a chance to visit and get access to the factory without hindrance.  Companies that offer on-sight tours that help to give insight into what they are doing could be relied on. Check if there is any reference to the quality of the work they do.

2. PCB Assembly Providers–Quality Control

Having a quality control management system in place is critical in guaranteeing quality. Ensure that there is a certification that demonstrates quality standards. It details the checking after inspections during assembly. Check where they are sourcing their materials. Are they dealing with reputable suppliers that avoid delays that cause late part arrival and defective materials? Are they sourcing from certified suppliers of materials, or are they dealing with counterfeit materials?

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2.1. A Verified Quality Control System

A good documentation and project management process may benefit the business partnership between PCB consumers and suppliers. A provider that has invested in prompt communication and minimize delays is likely to secure the required approval and streamline their operations, including the supply chain.

3. PCB assembly Environment

You must check the PCB assembly environment of the company that you are planning to contract for your day-to-day PCB products supply. A company that has a clean factory that is well laid out guarantees you quality products. It is a sign of discipline. Required to ensure that they deliver quality products. Also tells you that the company will guarantee that quality products will be provided when needed. It also means that the manufacturing partnership may last and guarantees you a steady supply of products. A company that employs the 5S initiatives should be considered.

4. Equipment Use

4.1 PCB Assembly ProvidersEquipment Used

The equipment your provider uses is essential. Any PCB assembly provider must ensure that the customers utilize the latest equipment to help keep up with the new technology. You need to ask the provider to provide you with a PCB list to figure out if it can help fulfill your orders.

Equipment Used

4.2 Technical Support

Building a relationship that extends beyond assembling PCBs is essential. There are critical aspects, such as offering technical support, that should be considered. The PCBs provider should at all times be in a position to deliver engineering support and expert insight into issues that arise before the beginning of the manufacturing process. This is important in that it saves time and ensures downstream corrections.

4.3 PCB Assembly ProvidersTechnology

Technological advancement is inevitable, and so it should remain an important aspect. The forms part of the questions that should be asked when evaluating SMT). This will make it easy for a pick and place machine to easily pick and place the components on the PCB (PCB assembly providers’ ability. To investigate the technology, ask questions that can help you find answers about whether the available technology can help to cater to your processing capabilities and requirements. Also, ask whether the provider has advanced equipment that allows for automation and whether they can lead in the new processing in the market. Check out their soldering, repair, and de-panel solder mask to prevent electrical and thermal components leakage. Be sure to discuss with your PCB supplier the capabilities.

5. Information Management

How the company manages its electronic contract is essential. Check out their order processing, the amount of time spent on manufacturing, and the duration they take to deliver on orders. Also, checking their shipping process and how they generally manage information is essential. Check out if the proper technique is in place. Does the company have a customer focus team? Are their products reviewed? If they are, you need to check if the review is done quarterly, biannually, or annually. Find out if they also offer audits to their vendors. This is important since it helps you to ensure that quality procedures are in place. Check out if they provide manufacturability reviews which help to ensure that they only deal in products that meet the set standards.

5.1 Intellectual Property Processes

This will make it easy for a pick and place machine to easily pick and place the components on the PCB (PCB assembly can be trusted or not. It is one of the most invaluable assets that we all tend to ignore but which play a critical role in determining whether the SMT). Knowing how a company protects its clients from infringement is necessary. Also, it is essential to find out what they have done to secure their IP information from breaches.

5.2 PCB Assembly ProvidersPoint of Contact

Is the company ready to provide you with a salesperson that will help handle your account and needs? PCBA vendors that provide a point of contact to clients should be chosen since they provide a connection that can help to address your questions and concerns. It helps to streamline the process of project management. Also, the point of circuit board shopping, various things might get you confused.  Whether you are going for a single-sided PCB, a double-sided PCB, or any other type of PCB, contact could come in handy when making technical inquiries on the PCBs.

5.3 The Strength of the Inventory Management Process

How robust the inventory management process is should be considered. To this end, material management is a critical factor that should not be ignored. Take your time to review the provider’s inventory system as soon as the components and other materials arrive in the factory to the point where the finished products are shipped to the end-users. Check if the company can locate materials and parts that you may need for your project. Ensure that your PCBA vendor provides design review before and after the beginning of the assembly process. This is critical in ensuring that you don’t incur additional costs associated with delays and orders changes.

6. Check the Industry the Provider Is Experienced In

It is essential to check the industry in which your PCB Assembly providers are specializing. A provider with in-depth knowledge of different sectors could be critical. Check the company’s machines and their capability. Is it capable of delivering an order according to the specifications? Can it reflow ovens, pick and place devices and rework equipment. Does it guarantee quality products?

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7. Check If They Are Providing Prototyping Services

The best PCB Assembly providers should provide prototyping services on the boards to help improve turnaround. The prototyping services are critical when reviewing a finished product. The prototype can help one predict whether the specifications can be met or not. Therefore, it is necessary to consider it before you think about pending a signature on any new project.

Notice that a clean quality audit provides evidence that the plant’s environment is well controlled, and it helps to show how the company attends to details on any given project.

Of course, other questions can help to give you invaluable insights into the production film work you require to manufacture PCBs. In the case of PCBA vendors, before getting into a contract with them. Aspects such as quality of the products, technical know-how, quality control, equipment, and project management play a critical role in helping support your business. It is important to remember that the widening skill gap makes it difficult to guarantee quality and reliability. So identifying who can fit your lead time and consider the cost implication is critical.

8. Specific Consideration

8.1 Government Standards

Stringent government standards and regulations must be followed to ensure quality and safety are maintained. Unfortunately, several PCB providers disregard and flout the rules. Consequently, there is a need to shop for a company that is not just experienced in assembling PCBs but can navigate the tedious government regulations. They should have a documented framework for internal operations that check every part of their work, from initial design to the final quality controls.

8.2 Products

It is straightforward not to mention the products when discussing what you need to consider when evaluating PCB assembly providers. However, if you are a regular user of PCB products, the quality of the product is a critical thing that you cannot afford to ignore. Note that the quality of the printed product affects the performance and the application of the product. Therefore the guiding principle here is to evaluate the product situation, including the quality and the cost of the product.  

When checking on the quality of the product, it is also essential to check if the manufacturing administration diagram has been applied during the process. Also, asking yourself whether administration improvement such as TQM and QCC has been implemented is critical. Also, it would help if you asked questions on whether the engineering change order has been applied. Check whether it conforms to control evaluations, including material inspection and administration as well as equipment calibration. Lastly, check the terms and condition and find out whether the waive principle as published in the terms and conditions have been applied or not.


8.3 PCB Assembly ProvidersCost

It would help if you also asked yourself questions about the cost of procuring the products. Check out if there is any possibility of cost reduction. Ask yourself whether it is possible to procure the same products elsewhere at more competitive prices. If you choose to analyze the cost, you need to do it in two aspects:

• Ensuring that the price quotation given does not include the extra or hidden cost that will impact your company in the future.

• Ensuring that there is a clear policy on discounts. A PCB provider that provides constant value, including free tooling cost and discount reduction, is essential.

PCB Assembly Providers–Conclusion

I am aware that it is challenging to settle on a reliable PCBA fabricator. The market is flooded with many PCB Assembly providers that make it difficult to single out one that can fulfill your needs. Therefore, inspecting the company’s many links may be necessary. Notice that there are a variety of factors that may affect your decision when sourcing PCB assemblies. Some may affect them positively, while others may have a negative impact. For this reason, we recommend due diligent and extensive research when searching for PCB Assembly providers. The questions that I mentioned above could be helpful you can refer to when evaluating the vendors.

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Hommer Zhao
Hi, I am Hommer, the founder of WellPCB. So far, we have more than 4,000 customers worldwide. If you have any questions, you can feel free to contact me. I really appreciate any help you can provide.