Choosing the right PCBA manufacturing company can be daunting and could mean the difference of a project’s failure or success. Take the Raspberry Pi for example. They managed to make their single-board computer affordable thanks to wise design choices and their choice of the right PCBA manufacturing companies.
First is that the company must be a PCBA manufacturing company. There are companies that produce only PCBs. Other companies not only produce PCBs, but also include the sourcing and assembly of other electronic components onto the PCB. There are those that provide partial and there are those that can release the whole package providing full turnkey services.
An all too common category in seeking out any vendor or service provider is to check into their client base. Check on how many customers they already served. Or check how many they are currently serving, as well as the pedigree of those customers. Customers like Sony or Samsung are high-profile, but serving non high-profile companies also has benefits. The PCBA Manufacturing company you choose should have served the best, or at least reputable. And at the same time can manufacture at the right cost.
Costing is the crucial factor in any business decision. The PCBA Manufacturing company should have most of the factors listed here while being able to meet the requirements at the least cost. The company should be able to allow volume discounts but not sacrifice on product quality. This is a difficult decision but not impossible through competent sourcing.
Not necessarily in order is quality. Is the PCBA Manufacturing company quality certified for their manufacturing and business processes? Is their staff composed of experienced and knowledgeable people, if that is possible to be determined? Find out what you can from reviews of the products they’ve been involved in and the companies they service, and see if they are transparent about their quality assurance processes.
Is their equipment suitable for your project? Do they have enough equipment and staff available to support your intended scale of production? If not, you may have to source more than one manufacturing company. Is their equipment state of the art, or advanced enough or at the very least adequate to produce your PCBA without compromising on the required quantity and cost, coupled with quality of the end-product?
in relation to number five, try to avoid brokers, or manufacturing companies that actually take orders and pass those orders to other companies. Though this is not much of an issue if the company qualifies for the second item. Ask them if they’re transparent enough to disclose their outsourcing scheme. But it would be best if all production and processes are done in-house. Also in relation to the topic, you could also try to determine where the company sources their materials and components in case your design does not specify any brand names for the components involved.
Think about layout and prototyping. Does the PCBA Manufacturing company support prototyping services? Some businesses, yours may be included, could only have the capabilities up to the design phase. It would be a big plus if the manufacturing company could shoulder the prototyping efforts at minimal cost. The company should also offer layout reviews to check for problems and provide opportunities to correct and optimize before mass-production.
Services is also important to think about. The manufacturing company should preferably be able to provide end-to-end services such as prototyping, layout reviews, possibly including inventory management, warehousing and shipment. Be sure it allows startups, as well as established companies, who work with minimal manpower and streamline their business.