Linked Electronics is a proficient, electronic contract manufacturer (ECM) specializing in low-volume, turn-key, circuit board assembly services. The turn-key service uses Design for Manufacturing (DFM) and Design for Testing (DFT) services. Small volumes are usually defined as orders less than 1,000 printed circuit boards.
Design for Manufacturing (DFM) Service
To avoid several engineering issues that may hamper the fabrication process, which could possibly cause delivery delays, we use a Design for Manufacturing (DFM) service that functions as a method of scrutinizing the quality of the customer’s engineering documents such as Gerber files, bill of materials, assembly drawings, and circuit diagrams. Additionally, it will panel the circuit boards, examine your components list to check its accuracy prior to the components being ordered, and recommend a solder paste to obtain high output rates. Linked Electronics is able to give price discounts to its consumers due to incorporating its DFM service into its prototype circuit board assembly.
Design for Testing (DFT) Service
To facilitate your circuit board testing process and provide suggestions on where to place test points throughout your circuit board, Linked employs a Design for Testing (DFT) service. References regarding probe types, fixtures, and testing limitations are provided by this service. The DFT service will validate that your testing requirements, problem detection processes, problem-solving instructions, and other references are well-designed.
Pre-production Test Boards
To avoid the hazards and extra expense of reworking, Linked will produce a limited number of circuit boards and send them to customer for examination before manufacturing the mass production order. All assembled printed circuit boards will be checked, and verify the ball grid array and the quality of the leadless component assembly by X-ray inspection device. PCBs will not be shipped until all inspection work is preformed.
Additional Ways to Reduce Your Costs
Linked always maintain long-lasting relationships with our customers. We offer further cost saving to our long-term customers by not levying extra charges for NRE and stencils on subsequent orders. Furthermore, we also pass on cost per component discounts to our customers since we use electronic component vendors who provide Linked volume discounts. Our worldwide distributor relationships enable us to procure quality components at economical rates. We make all efforts to ensure our consumers get the best quality that a turn-key circuit board service provider can give.
How To Obtain a Quote
You can easily place a small-volume order and obtain a PCB assembly quote. Simply forward your BOM list and Gerber files to firstname.lastname@example.org . Our sales team will reply asap.
This guide will cover everything you should know concerning the process involved in low volume PCB assembly.
Low Volume PCB Assembly: What does this mean?
This is the process involved in the production and assembling of PCBs by reducing costs while ensuring that high-quality is maintained. Here, various techniques are employed for these processes so as to maintain the quality and reduce costs.
Techniques Used in Ensuring Low Volume PCB
As mentioned earlier, the aim is to utilize unique techniques in PCB assembly. This means that you have to search for some unique techniques that will help you assemble all the components of the PCB. Below are some techniques to employ when assembling low volume PCBs and still maintaining high quality.
Minimizing Layer Count
This is one very important technique to employ when reducing costs associated with PCB assembly. This requires reducing the number of layers of PCB boards. By doing this, the cost of components and PCB will be reduced.
1.Careful During Arrangement
Care must be taken during the arrangement of the number of vias while assembling PCBs. By doing so, mistakes of any form will be eliminated or reduced thereby reducing cost.
You have to be extra careful when sizing and planning important details like annular rings and holes. What we mean is that perfection must be maintained. You should avoid mistakes whenever you are keeping the board size to minimum
3.Prevent Internal Cutouts
Prevent the printed circuit board from experiencing internal cutouts. This will help get rid of costs involved in the fixing of the internal cutout. With this, you’ll be able to save money on material costs for internal routing, as well as on through holes drilling.
4.Choosing the Most Appropriate Vias
Choosing the most suitable vias, which will not cause any complications of the PCBs DIP assembly process, is very important . For this, the vias may be purchased at a higher price, but in the long run, will save you a lot of money.
5.Stick with Basic Options
Always stick to the PCB assembly basics and don’t venture into custom designs. Maintain the PCBs’ normal shapes and don’t experiment on PCBs having unusual shapes.
6.Maintaining Industry Standards
Make sure that the standard requirements are maintained, and don’t venture into the unknown. For this case, only make use of the industry-standard components, sizes, and select the right surface finishes.
Markets Served with Low Volume PCB Assembly
Small batch pcb assembly can serve almost all industries. Why small batch assembly came to be is to be able to serve all markets or industries with high-quality printed circuit boards at low costs.
This means that, PCBs can be bought at low prices for the industries outlined below:
• Oil and gas industry
• Aviation and Aerospace industry
• Mineral mining industry
• Manufacturing industry
• Military industry
• Medical industry
• Food processing industry
• Electronics industry
• LED Products
Why You Should Use Cost Calculator for Low Volume PCB Assembly
Below are some details to take note of, which will help you in determining the best cost for PCB assembly at lower prices.
Quantity to Assemble
You have to specify the number of boards you wish to assemble via low-volume PCB assembly.
Number of Unique Parts
You also need to specify the amount of unique parts you wish to have on your printed circuit board. This means that the BOM – bill of material lines, would be specified on the cost calculator.
Quantity of Through Holes
If you decide to use through hole technology, it is necessary that you indicate the amount of through holes you’ll need.
Number of Fine Pitch Parts
You have to know the exact amount of fine pitch parts you’ll need on the public circuit board.
Amount of BGA and SMT parts
Also, you should indicate the total amount of SMT – surface mount technology parts, which you’ll love to have on the public circuit board. Asides from this, you need to be very sure about the amount of BGA parts
you’ll love to have on your PCB.
Amount of QFN Parts
Another important point here is specifying the amount of quad flatpack no-leads parts, which you’ll love to have on your low-cost PCBs.
Asides from all the specifications mentioned above, also make sure that you give details on:
• Class III inspection
• ITAR processing
• Double sided through hole and double sided mounting assembly
• Lead-free processing – under the certifications of RoHS Quality.
In cases like this, you have to indicate NO or YES. This depends on what you prefer. Also, understand that, if you want more features on your PCB, then expect the cost to be higher.
What Low Volume PCB Assembly Services are Available at Linked Electronics?
Below are some of the low volume pcb assembly services available:
RoHS 6 and RoHS 5 Compliance Assembly
While assembling low volume public circuit boards, you have to adhere to the RoHS 6 and RoHS 5 assembly requirements. This means that you must not include substances that are hazardous in electrical and electronic equipment.
The major substances that must not be included are cadmium, PDBE, PBB, mercury, hexavalent chromium, and lead materials. Make sure that these substances are either reduced to permitted levels or completely removed. In other words, RoHS 6 and RoHS 5 compliance covers the elimination of substances that are toxic from low-cost printed circuit boards.
Surface Mount Technology (SMT) Assembly
SMT technology has to do with producing low-cost printed circuit boards. This technology functions by soldering the PCB components found on the surface. This is a modern way of mounting components. This doesn’t involve through holes drilling into the PCB.
This is included among the most efficient and affordable mode of mounting components. Asides from this, it is basic and simple, and only sees less or very few errors. This makes them great for low volume PCB assembly.
Through Hole Technology Assembly
This has to do with hole drilling through the printed circuit board. After the hole is drilled, the component will be mounted with legs through these holes. This will increase the bonding strength.
This method is also the most suitable when mounting straight components having high mechanical load. This includes switches and connectors. This technology should also be used to mount components, which would pass through mechanical and environmental stresses.
During prototyping, you will take very little time to mount and replace its components.
Leaded and Lead Free PCB Assembly
You may also choose leaded PCB assembly. This deals with using materials having lead products. This approach makes use of lead materials in the assembly of PCBs. You can as well choose lead-free PCB assembly that involves assembling PCBs with lead-free materials.
This approach of accepting PCBs at lower costs is an environmentally friendly one. You should also consider the use of low-cost lead-free PCB assembly. This is useful because it is less harmful to people’s health.
Multilayer, Double Sided, and Single Sided Multilayer PCB Assembly
Some PCB types, which can be assembled via low volume PCB assembly, are double-sided or single-sided pcbs among others.
Asides from this, you could also decide to assemble pcbs having multilayers. However, you should note that assembling multilayer PCBs will raise the cost of assembling printed circuit boards.
On this note, always avoid having too many PCB layers, if you have plans to lower the PCB assembly price.
Immediately the design of your low volume PCB is ready, then you can make the prototype. This prototype will be used to give you a rough idea of the final look of your low volume PCB.
Asides from this, it will serve as the major blueprint, which will guide the whole process of manufacturing low-cost PCBs. Asides from this, the prototype also gives you a great visual impression of the design and then lets you make some important adjustments.
If you make some changes to your design, never forget to update the BOM.
Quick Turn PCB Assembly
Also, you’ll be opportune to have low volume PCB assembly at very high speed. This deals with assembling PCBs at a much faster rate while ensuring that the low budget is maintained.
It makes use of high tech machinery that will select and place the components of the PCB on the PCB at an advanced speed. Although the speed used in assembling the PCB is quite high, you’ll discover that the quality of the PCB will remain very high.
Is there an Automated Assembly for Low Volume PCB Assembly?
For sure, there is automated assembly for low volume PCB assembly. Asides from skilled labor, having automated assembly is also important. Here, you’ll be making use of motorized and mechanized devices to complete the process of PCB assembly.
Making use of machines for PCB assembly has become the norm in PCB assembly processes of today. Technology advancements have made the process even simpler and better, thereby reducing the total cost for assembly.
Why Choose Low Volume PCB Assembly?
At times, you may find yourself in a situation where you have to choose low volume PCB assembly. Some of these cases include:
When dealing with many errors after you have successfully completed a large production
When you have a PCB manufacturer that can handle the PCB assembly at low prices, and still maintain the quality
Of course, all printed circuit boards must pass strict validation and testing.
And all this is within our capability.
You should be able to equip yourself with the necessary information regarding low volume PCB assembly. Now you can go out there and make better decisions. Always remember never to compromise on the quality.