How to Choose A Partner for Your PCB Fabrication or PCB Assembly Project

Whether you’re a start-up, engineer, designer, inventor, or a business, manufacturing is one of the most pivotal points of any project. This makes the job of selecting the right PCB fabrication or assembly partner crucial. A simple search on any search engine will display hundreds of both onshore and offshore PCB manufacturers or assembly options, so how do you determine who is the right partner for you and your project? What are the critical factors you should research before making your decision? The article will discuss quality, time, cost, and customer service. These are some of the crucial factors that should be investigated during your decision-making process.

You have finalized your design process and are ready to manufacture your product. Whether you're looking at a few prototype or mass production, it would be a failure if the product fails to meet quality standards. This goes beyond looking at basic functionality and reliability but also such as RoHS, ISO certification, security of intellectual property, equipment used, and assembly environment. There is a common misconception that, high quality and affordable pricing don’t go together. This is where the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), certifications become an important figure in the struggle to find an affordable and quality product producer. As an ISO 9001 registered company, choosing Bittele Electronics gives you the assurance that we have met stringent standards set by industry leaders and shapers. Having a current and related certification from standardization organizations displays a company's desire to remain forefront and provide the highest quality products.

In 2003 the European Union adopted the RoHS directive which restricts the use of hazardous material in electrical and electronic products since then many nations around the world have followed suit. A manufacturers ability to fabricate products that meet RoHS standards are pivotal to you. Whether your product is to start or grow into these regions, it is a crucial requirement for your products to meet RoHS standards. Electrostatic discharge and humidity control are critical to surface mount devices, soldering, and to integrated circuits.

When submitting your designs and Bills of Material, you are trusting your partner with your project. In today's competitive and aggressive market, it is crucial that your intellectual properties and personal information are given the necessary protection and security. Finding a partner that will guarantee you as well as, is under a legislative body that requires it to assure you of your privacy and security is crucial. PCB manufacturing is continuously changing to keep up with the advances being made with new components. As components get smaller and smarter, it is crucial that manufacturers keep up with these changes to provide you with the best available product. While new equipment’s and components can be expensive it is vital you find a partner, who will balance your financial and quality needs.

Another important part of finding the right fabrication partner is time and the cost of manufacturing. Does your PCB manufacturing partner have high quality, low lead time, and affordable price? This is an important question to answer not just for start-ups looking to hit the market as soon as possible, but also to any business or hobbyist looking to continue a project. While onshore manufacturing will be able to meet the time requirement, the cost can be very expensive.

Whether you are a start-up looking for a quick turnaround time to hit the market or at a mature stage looking to minimize the cost of operation, having a manufacturing partner like Bittele Electronics, who can deliver on time and at cost is vital. Products and labour are cheaper in Asia, that's why it is vital your partner provide the manufacturing saving available in Asia but with lead time and quality that can compete with manufacturers in North America or Europe.

Another aspect of cost is quantity, some manufacturers simply refuse to deal with a prototype or small quantity orders or will hike up prices to stick with large quantity orders only. Find a partner who can match your needs, whether its porotypes or quick growth, find a manufacturer who meets your need without sacrificing time and cost. Find a partner who will give you the same great service, whether you need 1 or 10000 pieces fabricated. Most companies have a high quantity requirement for Turn-key projects, but that isn't always feasible. Especially to small business, individuals, or when in the research and development stage. That is why you need to find a partner who is capable and happy to provide you with the quantity you desire without sacrificing time and cost. Bittele Electronics’ minimum order quantities are 1 for fabrication and 5 for assembly.

Communication with your PCB manufacturer is a very important part of your partnership. While the price and manufacturing speed of Asian companies is impressive, it is difficult to communicate regularly and on time due to the time zone difference. Finding a company that provides customer service during business hours of North America with manufacturing capabilities in Asia provides you with a win-win situation. Having a partner whom you can communicate with regularly is vital because they are the industry experts who can assist you in resolving your design or manufacturing issues. Having a North America office also makes it feasible to visit in person, if you wish to dig deeper into your investigation. Bittele Electronics headquarters is in Toronto, ON, Canada, with fabrication and assembly facilities in Shenzhen, China. Online quotes and tracking are advertised by many companies but ensure the information your partner will provide you is accurate and useful rather than a generalized message. Finally look for reviews online. While its hard to gauge the online reviews given the level of anonymity, it is easy to see a trend and come to a clear conclusion.

Choosing your PCB fabrication partner comes down these key points. While there are many other aspects we can discuss, these are the most common and crucial points to look for in a partner. Does the company meet the highest standards? Is the company able to meet your quantity need or growth rate by increasing manufacturing? Will they deliver in a reasonable time and at a reasonable price? Can you trust them with your product and intellectual property? How easy is it to communicate with them via email or phone? Who are they and why should you work with them? Use what you have read above as the standard to answer these questions. Once you have answered these questions and you are satisfied with the answers, you have found your PCB fabrication partner.


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