Integrated PCBA Development: Advanced Turnkey Manufacturing

September 3, 2020 , in Blog

Most people would agree that the best way to tackle a difficult or complex problem is to break it down into smaller parts. In fact, executives and managers apply this method of compartmentalization on a regular basis. And there are inherent advantages. For example, expertise can be more finely applied and there is usually some gain in speed due to parallelization. The trick to optimizing this technique is to know where to disjoin the larger problem, having the right personnel to maximize the results of each section, and then integrating those results for the best solution.

PCBA development is certainly an example of a complex undertaking with many moving parts. And the three major stages: design, manufacture, and test, each has its internal challenges. In most cases, design and test rest with the enterprise or developer. However, fabrication and assembly services are typically outsourced to multiple manufacturers, which requires that you remain intimately involved, procure, and distribute components and manage both stages.

A much faster alternative is turnkey PCBA manufacturing, where a single CM manages the entire board build stage for you. Not only will you get your boards much faster, but you are relieved of having to deal with component vendors and the responsibility for board quality control rests with one company. Even with these inherent advantages, the level of turnkey service can vary significantly. First, let’s explore standard turnkey. Then we will take a look at an integrated PCBA development process that takes turnkey to an advanced level.

Different stages of circuit board building

Turnkey PCBA Manufacturing: The Basics

For an effective PCBA development process, collaboration with the principals involved with the making of your boards is essential. For turnkey, collaboration is reduced to a direct relationship with a single CM. This provides the opportunity for symbiosis and optimization of the PCBA development within the confines of your CM’s capabilities and process. An example of the turnkey process paradigm is as follows:

The Typical Turnkey PCBA Manufacturing Process

A. CM receives the design file package from developer

a. CM sends design data to fab house

i. Boards are fabricated

b. Fab house sends bare boards to CM

c. CM orders components from vendor

i. CM receives components from vendor

ii. Components are inspected and validated

d. CM assembles boards

i. Components are soldered

ii. Assembled boards are inspected and depanelized

B. CM ships boards to developer

In the typical linear turnkey process above, the CM performs PCB assembly and outsources fabrication. However, there are also fabrication companies that outsource board assembly. Deciding which of these outsourcing options provides the best PCB manufacturing service quality for your operations is one of the most important decisions you must make.

Turnkey PCBA manufacturing will almost always result in faster turnaround times for your boards. Additionally, having your CM manage the entire manufacturing process; including all coordination, quality control, and component procurement, allows you to allocate personnel to other tasks and reduce project man-hours. Even with these inherent advantages, turnkey manufacturing can be improved upon, as discussed below.

Advanced Integrated PCBA Development

Believe it or not, PCBA manufacturing optimization starts with the design. The best results will be achieved by engaging your CM early. This white box approach to manufacturing that incorporates your CM’s DFM rules and guidelines at the early stages will help streamline your design process and minimize or eliminate the need for design modifications downstream. However, this does not mean the developer should be removed from the process once the design is completed and the PCBA file has been transferred to your CM.

Throughout the manufacturing stage of development, it is advantageous for the developer to have access to the CM’s process. This not only informs you of where your boards are in the process which helps with internal planning and delivery scheduling, but also ensures that you are aware if there are any changes or issues that arise. This turnkey manufacturing improvement is an essential element of integrated PCBA development, which is shown in the figure below.

Different stages of circuit board building

Integrated stages of PCBA manufacturing

The manufacturing process shown above illustrates how the various stages of board manufacturing are parallelized. In contrast to the typical linear turnkey process, this integration maximizes the progression of your boards from the initial quote and DFM review through to shipping. This advanced turnkey manufacturing process is based upon a universal data access (UDA) strategy via digital thread manufacturing, which ensures that all entities involved in the process have access to the data they need when they need it.

Turnkey PCBA manufacturing is indeed an improvement in the building of circuit boards. However, incorporating integration and real-time data access advances not only board building, but the entire development process to a level needed for the challenges faced by PCBA and electronics enterprises in today's competitive market.

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.

As shown above, Tempo Automation employs advanced integrated PCBA development that begins with a commitment to work with you beginning on day 1 of design and results in you receiving high-quality boards faster than anyone else in the industry.

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 integrated PCBA development, contact us.

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