How to Choose the Best PCB Electronic Assembly Service for Your Project

September 15, 2020 , in Blog

Dinner is always a welcome event, especially after a long, challenging day. The opportunity to stop, take a breath or two, spend time with family and/or friends, and recharge your biological system can be relaxing and rejuvenating. However, there are some days when even those attractions seem to be inadequate. On these days and for these precious few special occasions, the best is required. Indeed, only a 5-star dining experience will suffice.

Similarly, having your contract manufacturer (CM) provide good manufacturing services for your circuit boards is always expected. And there is much to consider when selecting PCBA fabrication and assembly services; such as service type(s), speed of delivery, quality, and costs (for example, NRE and price per unit). Yet, for some projects, good may not be good enough. For these special developments, the best PCB electronic assembly is required. In this article, we discuss the essentials for choosing this optimal service after first defining the basics above and beyond which the best assembly service is differentiable.

Dining for the most special occasions

A 5-star occasion

The Basic CM Capabilities for Assembling Electronic Circuit Boards 

Prior to having circuit boards assembled, developers must determine the type of CM to work with. When determining the type of CM services for their most complex designs, most developers opt for turnkey PCBA manufacturing. Advantages like having to deal only with a single vendor (as opposed to two or perhaps three or more), freeing up internal resources for other projects, and speeding up development are inherent to turnkey and can be leveraged for all board builds. As shown in the figure below, turnkey is the service type most utilized by OEMs and other circuit board developers.

Board manufacturing service type most used comparison

PCBA manufacturing services used by developers (Image Source)

Additionally, whether to have your CM outsource assembly or fabrication is an important determination that must be made. And there are minimal assembly requirements, as listed below, that should be insisted upon.

Electronic Circuit Board Assembly Basic Requirements

  • Adheres to regulatory standards

Minimally, these should include J-STD-001 and IPC-A-610, the Requirements for Soldered Electrical and Electronic Assemblies and Acceptability of Electronic Assemblies, respectively.

  • Provides well-defined and accessible DFA rules and guidelines

Without design for assembly (DFA) guidelines that define the limitations in which assembly equipment operates, it is likely that multiple redesigns, extended development time, and additional costs will limit development efficiency.

  • Employs good QC to maximize board reliability

Ultimately, your customers and/or end-users are concerned with how reliably your boards and electronics perform throughout their lifecycle. PCBA quality is impacted by all aspects of the development process. However, assembly is the process from which the final product is taken and bears the responsibility of reliability validation.

If the assembly of your boards incorporates the items listed above, the process should yield a good product that is satisfactory for your basic designs. However, for the best PCB electronic assembly experience, these requirements need to be enhanced, as discussed below.

Selecting the Best Electronic PCB Assembly Service

Knowing and implementing the basics are necessary for all successful operations and building circuit boards and electronics is no different. It is also true that minimization is not adequate for success in the competitive PCBA and electronics markets. And there is no reason to expect that capturing increased market share will be any less challenging going forward, even though continued growth is expected across many business sectors whose products rely most heavily on circuit boards and electronic systems. Therefore, advanced board assembly techniques that take into account issues such as threats to security and supply chains necessitate the need for new manufacturing innovations to remain competitive.

One of the areas in which you can capitalize on innovation is in how your boards are assembled. Optimization of your PCBA development and production keeps you on the cutting edge of the industry and able to compete with your peers. It is also essential if you design and build complex boards; which is typical for critical industries; such as aerospace, medical devices, automotive and industry 4.0 factories. To meet these challenges, your CM’s assembly process should not only include the basics, but also the essentials listed below.

The Essentials for Electronic PCB Assembly Optimization

Fast turnaround time

The ability to achieve the highest quality design is closely correlated with the iteration speed at which your CM is able to produce your boards.

First time right (FTR) manufacturing

Not only do you need your boards fast, but they must be built right the first time to eliminate unnecessary spins and wasted time and materials.

Agility

Customized and complex designs are often dynamic and the ability to quickly institute changes or agile manufacturing is essential for optimized PCB assembly.

Secure supply chain

Optimal board assembly is dependent upon being able to get the right components when you need them, even when there are design changes.

Efficient data management

Building electronic circuit boards is indeed a series of defined steps and processes that must be performed accurately and expeditiously. However, the best PCBA generation is software-based and requires data supply chain management where the process equipment receives and sends pertinent data such that the entire process can be monitored and managed for optimal performance.

By ensuring that your CM not only incorporates the basic needs for PCB assembly, but also employs the advanced capabilities above, you can rest assured that your boards will be built to the highest quality regardless of design complexity.

Tempo’s Software-Driven Smart Factory Delivers the Industry’s Leading Custom Turnkey PCBA Manufacturing Services
  • Virtual PCBA Contract manufacturing.
  • Rapid, accurate quotes.
  • DFM support from Day 1 of design.
  • Digital Thread Processing with real-time monitoring.
  • Fastest turnaround times in the industry to maximize ROI.
  • QC certified Agile Manufacturing process to support risk management.
  • Standard and Advanced QC testing.
  • Worry-free supply chain continuity.
  • Specialization in rapid prototyping and low-volume production.
  • PCBA development optimization for complex critical system industries like Aerospace, Medical Devices, Automotive, and Industrial.

At Tempo Automation, we specialize in building complex custom PCBAs and lead the industry in turnaround time for prototyping and low-volume production. We will work closely with you to make sure your design not only reflects the design intent, but also is manufacturable for reliability.

And to help you get started on the best path, we furnish information for your DFM checks and enable you to easily view and download DRC files. If you’re an Altium Designer or Cadence Allegro user, you can simply add these files to your PCB design software. For Mentor Pads or other design packages, we furnish DRC information in other CAD formats and Excel.

If you are ready to have your design manufactured, try our quote tool to upload your CAD and BOM files. If you want more information on PCB electronic assembly, contact us.

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