Here’s what to look for when searching for a quality PCB manufacturer. Whether you need 5 or 500 boards, basic rigid or complex HDI PCB prototypes, this is how you can find a quality shop suitable for your needs.
Today we’re going to talk about a little something I like to call quality. And I’m not just talking about product quality, I’m talking about a manufacturing facility’s overall service and integrity.
That is not what you want. So how can you identify a high-quality PCB manufacturer? Here’s a good place to start…
First, look at their track record and find out how long they’ve been in business. For example, when Sierra Circuits started in 1986 there were roughly 3000 board shops. Now there are about 300. Good business practices and quality will stand the test of time.
Secondly, visit the shop and meet with prospective business partners. Sometimes The PCB and assembly only become important after it becomes a problem. There are many start-ups who never make it to market because of their electronic issues.
Invest time in your partnership instead of waiting until the last minute, or until it’s too late!
Third, find out what type of equipment your vendor is using. Producing higher precision electronics with fewer defects requires significant equipment investments. If you’re looking for high yield complex circuit boards, your PCB equipment is critical. Sierra Circuits has invested 50 million dollars over the last 30 years in PCB fabrication and assembly.
What about service? What is their response time like? Can you get someone on the phone? A tell-tale sign of quality service can be measured by the timely manner in which they get back to you.
If you request a quote… what’s the response time after your initial inquiry? Hours, days, weeks? Put them on the clock! In some cases, when you’re not working directly with a manufacturer, things can get a little messy. Your files can jump back and forth between vendor and third-party vendors. Here to there and back again.
It should never be this complicated.
And lastly, references. If your manufacturer can’t provide actual testimony, look somewhere else. The proof is in the PCB, after all.
These are just a few things to consider when looking for a manufacturer. Feel free to reach out to me anytime. Our doors are always open and I’d love to meet you.
And to help you with your design, don’t forget to use our free Stackup Planner, Material Selector, and Impedance Calculator.