Whether someone already has an assortment of circuit designs ready to be added to printed circuit boards (PCB) or they are just starting on a set of designs, they must choose a reliable, experienced company to take their design and make it functional on quality boards. The company they choose should act as a partner in ensuring their boards do everything they need them to do to bring a product to market.
They should get quality work with a quick turnaround time while having someone they can talk to who helps ensure they stay competitive against other companies. However, knowing what they need from the PCBs for their circuit designs doesn’t always mean it’s easy to immediately find the right company to step into their corner. We’ll share a few tips to make that process easier.
Know the Right Questions That Should Be Asked
When a person chooses someone to create their PCBs, it’s essential to ask them questions to be sure they can handle their needs. Sometimes the answers to the questions can be found on company websites and reviews. Other times individuals might need to contact the company on their own and ask the questions that are important to them. Having answers will provide peace of mind that they’re choosing the right company for their needs.
How Much Experience Does the Company Have?
Experience is important for any product or service that someone chooses to pay for, whether that’s a car repair or PCBs to fit their circuit designs. When it comes to printed circuit boards, a manufacturer’s experience is essential to ensure customers get boards that are right for their needs. Knowing how much experience a company has will give insight into how many resources they have and what amount of knowledge is available. It also shows competence if a PCB company has been in business for a long time. That means they have adapted to the times and continuously put out great products.
What Certifications Does the Company Have?
This is another question that can speak to how qualified a company is with PCBs for a person’s circuit design. Certifications typically require a third party to verify that the company complies with certain standards or requirements. For example, IPC creates standards with regards to PCBs and industries related to electronics manufacturing. Any company someone decides to work with should be capable of meeting the standard required by their products and industry. This includes broad regulations as well as those that apply only to their industry. The best choice is a company that has experience working with other people in the same industry.
How Does the Company Stand Out?
This might seem like a broad question that could have any number of answers, but it can help people narrow down the right business to help with their product. This is especially the case when they have a few options for companies that offer all the services and products that they need. This question can be as simple as asking what makes the business different from others or can delve into what value-added services are provided. For example, Advanced Circuits can help with their circuit designs by providing free PCB design and file check software which will save customers money and time.
Important Considerations When Choosing a PCB Company
The reality is that there are tons of companies that provide PCBs and many of them also have services to assemble and create circuit boards that match specific needs. This can make it a challenge to choose between them since some companies may appear to be quite similar. However, there are a few things people can look at early in the search to get a grasp on which company may best fit their needs.
Types of Products Provided
The first thing for people to check is what products are offered by a company to be sure they even provide what is needed. If the company specializes in the needed products, that’s even better. Once they know the products exist, they can find out more about the pricing and quality of the products.
For instance, what kind of PCBs are available? These can range from rigid to flexible and rigid-flex. They might be metal core, aluminum backed, or hybrid board. People can ask about which substrates are used in the board. They can also look into the quality and consider the prices and how they stack up to the competitors. All of these things can help with the decision.
In addition to products, people should consider services that they might need. If the company offers everything they need, they won’t have to go between businesses to get their product ready. Some of the services that should be considered are:
- Prototyping – Ability to create prototype PCBs before moving into production so customers can reduce costs and timeframe through thorough testing.
- Layout and Design Services – These can speed up their production by offering a complete design or providing software to make someone’s own designs.
- File Review – File reviews can help by ensuring a design is free of errors and that the company has all of the needed components to start creating its PCBs.
- SMT Prototype Stencils – Stencils are laser cut and made of stainless steel foil to ensure the solder is placed in the right areas of the PCB. The stencil helps with accurate circuit designs.
Other services that can be helpful include DXF to Gerber conversion, panelization, and PCB design for manufacturing services.
It’s also important to be sure the company is capable of offering what is needed for a customer’s PCBs. This includes everything from being capable of handling the size of their order to having a certain lead time and offering the right layers on a PCB. Other things to consider are the surface finish options available, the via options, specs and tolerances, and other things that they prioritize with their circuit designs. It might take some time to get answers to all these things, but once someone does, they will know whether a company is right for them.
Advanced Circuits is the third-largest manufacturer of printed circuit boards in the United States and offers excellent customer service and reliability. The company also offers a variety of services to customers like free PCB layout software (PCB Artist) and a free PCB file check. Those who want a streamlined PCB company in their corner can get in touch with us to learn more.