There is an immense impact when things go wrong in PCB production. Delays, setbacks, errors, and recalls can all cost your company millions of dollars and potentially kill your chances of quickly getting your idea to market. This is not to mention the damage events like these can cause to your company’s reputation.
However, companies obviously don’t advertise when they get things wrong. Ask any PCB manufacturer and they’ll tell you they’re the best option in town for the board you need. So how can you know if they’re telling the truth?
Let’s discuss what you should look for when choosing who will manufacture your next PCB.
Key Factors in Selecting the Right PCB Manufacturer
Experience, quality, customer satisfaction, and the ability to rapidly produce any kind of board you need are the hallmarks of a great PCB manufacturer. Here’s how to know if the company you’re considering checks all the boxes.
Experience and Expertise
Companies that have been around for a long time are more likely to have seen any situation that might arise. This allows them to operate with ease and confidence and ensures they avoid any setbacks or pitfalls that could delay your PCB assembly.
Check a company’s website for references and client reviews and to see how long they’ve been in the business of satisfying customers.
Quality Control and Certifications
Choosing a PCB manufacturer dedicated to quality, customer satisfaction, and regulatory compliance is key to improving your business operations. Since it’s not really possible to know this information before working with them, independent organizations worldwide have produced standards and certifications that you can use as a reference.
- ISO Standards: The International Organization for Standardization develops consensus-based international standards relevant to PCB manufacturing. They don’t issue certifications themselves, but other organizations use their standards when creating their own trainings and certifications. Look for certifications from organizations like the IEEE, IEC, and IPC to ensure a company meets ISO standards.
- IPC Certifications: IPC is an association that issues ISO-based training, testing, and certifications for a wide range of industries.
- UL Solutions: UL is a world-renowned safety certification firm. Look for their stamp of approval to ensure a PCB manufacturer complies with local safety standards.
Check the PCB manufacturer’s website to ensure they offer flexible customization options, including a wide range of available materials, finishes, and assembly equipment. Flex PCBs and surface-mount technology (SMT) are examples of useful options for various PCB functionalities. A manufacturer with a wide range of customization options can ensure they’re ready to handle any changes to your original design or future updates.
Look for the information concerning the manufacturer’s production capacity. Ideally, they can handle anything from 1 to 100,000 production units in short timeframes. Ensure they have the capacity to stay on top of production from the prototyping phase until your final run.
The Right Manufacturer Will Streamline Your Production Processes
The right PCB manufacturer will be like the referee of a football game: if they do their job right, you’ll barely even notice they were there. However, if they make a lot of mistakes, they’ll grind everything to a halt and cause frustration, delays, and cut into profit margins.
Don’t just look for fast turnaround times when searching for a PCB manufacturer. On-time delivery and lower lead times are critical to streamlined manufacturing, but quality is the hidden factor in efficiency.
PCB quality will affect later phases in your device manufacturing and assembly, as well as the long-term efficiency of your product.
Save Costs through Increased Efficiency
PCB manufacturers earn more profit by being more efficient. They aim for minimal downtime and eliminate reruns and corrections that waste valuable production time. This means the more efficiently and reliably they can finish PCB production runs, the more competitive they can be.
The right PCB manufacturer will optimize efficiency by offering:
- Flexible, cost-effective solutions.
- Well-maintained equipment and the latest technology.
All of this means reduced costs to customers who benefit from this focus through higher quality products and lower rates for services.
Enhancing Product Quality and Reliability
Even if a PCB manufacturer can complete your production on time and without any glaring errors, the quality of the boards will only become apparent over time. Higher quality means more repeat customers and an improved brand reputation. As your customers use your products, how reliable will they be in the long run?
Ask the PCB manufacturer you’re considering about their quality program and wait for them to explain how they guarantee long-term reliability.
The right PCB manufacturers will guarantee quality via a rigorous testing and quality program. Using the latest technology, manufacturers can simulate long periods of use and stress-test their devices under high-heat conditions to ensure long-lasting and reliable devices.
Imagineering: Your Ideal PCB Manufacturer for Improving Business Operations
Ultimately, you want your PCB manufacturer to become a partner that contributes to your long-term business success. High-quality products, low lead times, and flexible customization options will all lead to increased efficiency and reduced costs. Reliability and quality will lead to satisfied customers and growth.
Look for a PCB manufacturer who understands that the best way to grow their own business is by helping you grow yours.
Imagineering has been manufacturing and assembling PCBs for over 30 years. We have a proven track record of satisfied customers because we place all of our efforts on:
- Understanding what our customers need and learning how to deliver it to them
- Focusing on quality and efficiency rather than simply churning out as many boards as possible
- Constantly improving our processes, performance, and standards to stay ahead of the curve
If you’re looking for a new PCB manufacturer that can act as a long-term strategic partner in your operations, contact Imagineering today and let us know your PCB production needs.