How to Choose a PCB Manufacturer

How to Choose a PCB Manufacturer

When you have created the perfect PCB design, you are going to want to find an equally brilliant manufacturer to bring your design to life. There is no point in you taking your design to a substandard manufacturer. Why should you spend all that time on the design if you are then going to hand it over to someone who doesn’t know what they are doing? Here is a quick checklist of everything you should know before you choose your PCB manufacturer.

Do They Have a Good Reputation?

First and foremost, you should always pay attention to the reputation of the manufacturer. If you have a friend or a contact who has used them before, ask for their honest opinions. You should also look at the wider world. How long has the company been manufacturing PCBs for? If they have not got a testimonials section on their website then you may have to do a little more digging.

Do They Manufacture the PCBs?

You need to keep an eye out for “middlemen” who claim to manufacture but then outsource the actual labor. This is not good as it means that you cannot guarantee that your PCBs are being made the way you specified. You are the one who has spent hours with the PCB design software so you also need to make sure that you know exactly where and how the boards are being made to guarantee that they are being made to the standard you expect.

Do They Have a Good Price?

PCBs are not the cheapest components on the market. If you are searching for a great deal then you need to find a manufacturer who can cut you one. However, if the price is too good to be true, it probably is. Make sure that you fully understand every part of the manufacturing process. A reliable manufacturer will be happy to explain to you. Someone with something to hide might be a little more evasive.

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Do They Have the Right Qualifications?

Not everyone can manufacture PCBs. You need to ensure that the manufacturer you choose has the necessary training and qualifications to fulfill your order. Ideally, you want to find someone with an ISO 9001 certificate and an ISO 14001 certificate but only the first is the truly necessary one. These certificates ensure that the manufacturer has a Quality Management System. Anything you order you can expect to be to the same consistent standard throughout every order.

You have worked hard on your PCBs and you deserve to find a manufacturer who can bring your designs to life. Don’t throw away your hard work in favor of a cut in price at manufacture. A poorly constructed PCB won’t be able to work the same way you would expect a top-of-the-line one to. Be careful, don’t be afraid to ask about processes and qualifications, and make sure you are getting the best deal for you. Make sure you are getting the best possible deal for what you want to make sure you are receiving the PCBs of your dreams!

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