A majority of PCB assemblers, especially small-batch manufacturers that are just starting their business, would do anything to ensure that they reduce their assembly costs. It is cause they are not well established in the market. More often, plenty of them ask questions such as How can I ensure that I have in place affordable small-batch assembly? Or How do I cut my assembly costs? Luckily enough, cheap small-batch assembly is still possible.
Below are six effective means that small-batch PCB manufacturers can resort to in a bid to ensure that their small-batch assembly is affordable. These enable them to gain more profits or extra revenues in the long run.
Professional and Reliable Small-batch Assembly
Almost all small-batch PCB assemblers claim to offer affordable Small Batch assembly services. But unfortunately, not all of them provide what they claim. First, you need to be aware of the budget and requirements of your project. After that, you will have to carry out ha head-to-toe research on every assembler. You may do this through trade shows, magazines, or the internet. While a lot of time and effort is a must here, it is worth it in the end. When researching affordable assemblers, try and look at the following:
Certification – certification ensures that PCB assemblers follow necessary certificates. These include the UL, RoHS, ISO90001, and ISO9001. These standards ensure that a company meets or exceeds the needs of its customers. They achieve this by improving the quality of their products and services.
you lose a lot of time and money on a disjointed relationship in component procurement. Disconnected relationships up being costly, an aspect makes affordable drawing helps to understand and run the board for the team members. The component symbols made for PCB layout and finally printed over the PCB board are helpful during PCB assembly almost impossible. If you want to save on costs, you must work with assemblers that are good at component sourcing services.
The latest equipment brings about high quality and high efficiency of assembly. With up-to-date equipment, manufacturers can assemble components with high precision. It also speeds up the manufacturing time frame.
Using a Complete and Effective BOM
If you have an incomplete Bills of Material (BOM), then your small-batch assembly might end up being costly. The bill of materials is a full list of items, assemblies, sub-assemblies, and raw materials. A complete statement of material includes :
1. crucial components for PCB assemblers
2. the manufacturer is the name
3. part number
4. reference designator
6. SMT method.
To ensure that your small-batch assembly is affordable, you need to have an effective BOM in place. Also, you may have to ensure that your BOM has a components replacement section. With a components replacement list, you will not waste much time in locating replacements. So, you will not have to spend a lot of your funds outsourcing missing components needed for small-batch assembly. With a complete and adequate BOM, the chances are that your small batch PCB assembly will be cheap.
Optimization of Small-batch Assembly Design
Before undertaking actual manufacturing, you need to check whether your small-batch circuit assembly is achievable. In other words, this is a design-for-manufacturing check. Many small-batch assemblers do not offer free DFM checks. If you rely on such, you will end up reducing your small-batch assembly costs.
To further ensure that you have in place a cost-effective small-batch assembly, you’ll need to consider the following:
1. Layer count: during small-batch construction
Costs increase with additional layer counts. You need to be aware that more layers cost more.
2. Shape and size
Again, to ensure that you have a cost-effective small batch assembly, you may have to keep in check the shape and size of your PCBs—printed circuit boards with complex shapes or huge cost more. If you are a small-batch PCB firm or person, you may have to avoid PCBs with complex shapes. Their sizes also matter a lot as huge ones cost more.
3. Via tech
Vias, such as buried vias, blind vias, or micro vias, play an essential role. Their role is to build interconnections on a circuit board. With more vias on your board comes higher assembly costs, and in return, wne have expensive PCBs. Wne have arranged the through holes wisely to ensure that the low-volume assembly is cheap. By doing so, you’ll cut small batch assembly costs.
4. Surface finish
When it comes to PCBs’ manufacture, surface finish is essential as it prevents parts from corrosion. There are several types of surface finishes, such as ENEPIG, ENIG, HASL, and OSP. As a small batch PCB assembler, you must be willing to cut your assembly costs. You may have to go for cheap surface finishes as you scale up. If you want to ensure that your small-batch assembly is cheap, you’ll have to select cost-effective finishes first. Then scale up later to expensive ones that are ideal for mass assembly.
Having a Clear Components Sourcing System
If you are working with a firm of small-size PCB assembly, you’ll find it hard to control your budget and project schedules. Under such circumstances, you’ll find that relying on a small batch PCB assembler makes more sense. Small batch assemblers have a healthy working relationship with established distributors.
Small batch assemblers are can cheaply find all the components that you need from established distributors. The price here is lower than the retail price. By having an effective components sourcing system, they reduce their assembly costs.
You need to make sure that you are dealing with small-batch PCB assemblers with genuine cooperation with established distributors. To know this, then you’ll find it helpful inquiring about its invoices from the distributors. In short, though, making your components sourcing clear brings about affordable small-batch assembly.
Sticking With Only One Assembler
As a small-batch printed circuit assembler, it is costly partnering with more than one assembler. If you intend to have an affordable small-batch assembly, you need to stick to a single assembler as your only partner. If you are doing business with an assembler for more than five years, then there’s no need to look elsewhere.
With a single assembler, you can have peace of mind based on smooth cooperation, trust, and mutual credit. These are things that you establish with them over time. You’ll likely have some balance on the components that you buy from them with a single assembler. By partnering with only one assembler, you’ll be in an excellent position to ensure that your small-batch assembly is affordable.
However, it’s not advisable to stick or partner with one assembler, especially if you have a tough time with them. Much worse if your small-batch printed circuit assembly is undergoing some pricing crisis. Then it may be an excellent time to consider some immediate changes. If you find that your single assembler is impacting the price of your small-batch assembly, then it may be good to find a cost-effective one.
Small-batch Assembly Inspection and Testing
Do you think that there’s any relationship between PCB affordability and test or inspection? Generally, though, inspection and testing tend to increase costs. Costs do increase based on extra resources. These resources may include specialized equipment necessary for implementing examination and tests. But if examined, inspection and testing are essential towards the achievement of cheap small batch assembly.
With inspection and testing, small batch PCB assemblers are in a position to catch errors and faults early in the production process. Here, assemblers avoid releasing products that won’t function as desired.
Much worse, without inspection and testing, a small batch assembler may have to recall the products. With recalls, matters to do with affordability get forgotten. Recalls compel PCB firms to undertake reworks. An aspect that makes affordability of small-batch assembly impossible. For small batch PCB assemblers who want cheaper assembly, inspection and testing are necessary.
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