The electronics design or production companies have certain requirements for their product such as the product maximum assembly and production yield, lower cost, enhanced product life cycle and resistant to environmental effects etc., that results to shortlist a PCB manufacturer which can meet all or maximum requirements. Generally, in electronics products industry, a company designs a PCB after finalizing the circuit design and layout and then outsources design to manufacturing specialists. Every company has different requirements and standards for their products. However, too stringent design parameters such as width and space, via types and hole-size, base material, copper thickness that a manufacturer cannot meet causes a time wastage and ultimately turns to re-evaluation of manufacturer or redesign of the PCBs. The outsourcing of a design to a manufacturer has multiple reasons: the PCBs manufacturing setup needs big initial financial investment, run-time cost, technical expertise, conformance with the local environmental regulations, quality and inspection etc. The designer company emphasizes over customer requirements, product development, and production after sales services etc. It inspects the manufactured PCBs according to their layout and specifications.
The manufacturers pass through different steps to finalize a PCB from gerber input files. Generally, the PCBs by their layer specifications are categorized into single layer, double layer and multilayer. The single layer and double layer PCBs are relatively simple to manufacture and almost all manufacturers can accept such a type of order. The multiplayer PCBs are tricky to manufacture and bear more processes, cost, time and expertise to manufacture. It is why every manufacturer does not accept every multilayer PCB. The manufacturer adds a considerable one-time amount named as setup cost or non-recurring engineering cost. The NRE cost increases price of PCBs considerably specifically for small number of PCBs but it is quite ignorable for large quantity. The manufacturers cost highest NRE for multilayer with buried and blind vias with gold plating and lowest for single layer PCBs because a multilayer PCB requires more etching layers, adhesion and pre-pregs placement etc.
The manufacturers are to ensure their environment to be controlled such as humidity, temperature, etchant level, processing time and the precision. Moreover, the manufacturers are adhered to meet the timelines specifically for a customer having short stringent time to market or competition time. The engineers inspect the manufactured articles at every step. Tests are also performed with the automatic machines like E-test of PCB.
The PCB manufacturers strive to deliver products to reduce cost and manufacturing time. For cost reduction they offer different types of base materials, multiple board designs over a single panel, and maximum utilization of PCB sheet material.