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Simon / 2021-07-20
The demand for quick turn printed circuit boards (PCBs) has been rising in recent years. More and more manufacturers are gravitating towards quick turn PCB fabrication. If you're interested in learning more about the subject, this article will certainly steer you in the right direction.
Quick turn PCB is a type of PCB that enables manufacturers to complete projects or fulfill requests quicker than ever before. It has made it a lot easier for users to meet the most demanding deadlines and pressing schedules.
Opting for the quick turn PCB services offers several advantages, such as:
Quick turnaround time - The name says it all. The objective of quick turn PCB is to deliver solutions in the least amount of time possible than conventional methods, regardless of the circuit board complexity. Manufacturers serious about their trade always strive to achieve this, preventing customers from unnecessary delays. That way, the clients can focus on other important work areas.
Cost-effective - Another reason there's growing interest in quick turn PCB has to do with cost-saving. Essentially, embracing the PCB technologies has helped reduce manufacturing time, thus leading to lower production costs.
Circuit board variety - The PCB manufacturers know they are serving customers with different requirements and needs. Therefore, they provide a broad range of PCBs to meet those demands.
Once you have finalized and validated the PCB design, you present it to the PCB manufacturer in a Gerber file format. The quick turn PCB fabrication company reviews the design and material bills to understand your project requirements before sending a quote.
Before they begin the manufacturing and assembling process, you will need to approve the file and order.
Next, the manufacturer ensures the procured materials and parts are assembled within the shortest time possible.
One of the critical PCB assembly procedures involves creating prototypes of boards. Prototypes allow the technicians to test the product's functionality in the early stages of the design process.
After finalizing the PCB prototype, the manufacturer proceeds to produce the PCB parts. The components are then assembled before testing the board to ensure everything is working as required.
At the component assembling stage, manufacturers can use the following technologies:
Surface-Mount Assembly (SMT) - With this technique, electrical components are mounted directly on the board stackup and fastened using soldering materials.
Through-Hole Assembly (THA) - Here, the technicians and engineers mount and solder through-hole components on the empty boards.
Mixed Assembly - The quick turn PCB producer combines the SMT and THA techniques.
After assembling and testing the PCB, the product is packaged and delivered to the client.
Before requesting a PCB assembly quote, you'll undoubtedly want to know the factors that can influence the cost. Well, there are several factors to take into account, but the most significant cost drivers include:
Cost of labor and machine power
Manufacturing and assembling PCBs require skilled professionals. The more technicians the work demands, the higher the overall cost is likely to be. Besides that, manufacturers have machinery designed for different types of circuit boards. Therefore, the machines used can also affect the PCB costs.
Manufacturers use several quick turn PCB assembly technologies, with the most popular being Surface Mount (SMT) and Through-Hole Assembly (THA). Depending on the nature of the work, the PCB assembly manufacturer can use both SMT and THA. Expect the cost to differ between these assembling technologies.
Boards can have a single layer or multiple layers. Extra layers translate to added complexity or at least more time to manufacture. As such, the cost of quick turn PCB will obviously be higher when more layers are involved.
Another major factor that can affect the price of quick turn PCBs is the component placement you choose. The cost of only top layer assembly differs from that of double-sided assembly.
There are different packaging and delivery options based on PCB assembly, size, the urgency of the project, and what you want to protect the circuit boards against. So, this deserves consideration because the option you go for can influence the final cost as well.
Some quick turn PCB manufacturers have teams working all day and all night to fulfill requests in time. How fast the manufacturer completes the process matters. Quick deliveries often translate to more cost.
While you have plenty of options for quick turn PCB manufacturers, know that no two companies are created equal. The PCB company you choose to work with for your project can make a lot of difference in your level of satisfaction.
Well, finding a suitable candidate for the task doesn't have to be complicated. Here are some of the factors to consider:
If you want the best results, you will choose an experienced and knowledgeable manufacturer with a proven track record in the field. Check out their client base. Having a lengthy list of satisfied customers is a good sign you are dealing with the right quick turn PCB team.
PCB manufacturing and assembling companies have different delivery schedules. Some manufacturers will deliver within 24 hours. Others might take a little longer but deliver within the stipulated timeframe. Therefore, this is an area worth paying attention to.
Make sure the turnaround times align with your marketing, launching, or other requirements. Also, expect to pay more if the company promises short delivery lead times.
While quick turn PCB fabrication aims to avoid delays, the process should not compromise product quality. Consider partnering with a manufacturer that puts a lot of emphasis on the quality aspect. Their operations should conform to global quality standards and guidelines.
The best quick turn PCB professionals have invested in the latest state-of-the-art machinery, technologies, and processes. Even the most knowledgeable engineers and technicians need to be backed by cutting-edge equipment and systems to produce high-quality boards and meet customer demands quickly.
The cost factor also matters. You will undoubtedly find PCB firms for every budget. If you are on a budget, you will find several companies offering quick-turn PCB services at an affordable price. However, don't just go for the cheapest service available. Sometimes, you get what you pay for, and it is no different with PCB manufacturing.
It goes without saying that circuit boards have different requirements. So, a one-fits-all approach may not work for every user. It makes sense to find out the customization options the manufacturer offers.
The quick turn PCB process transitions from PCB prototypes to PCB standard production.
Let's explain in detail.
If a PCB fails after production, making changes could prove costly. That is why engineers and technicians develop prototype boards during the early stages of the quick turn PCB process.
With prototyping, the manufacturers are better positioned to identify and correct defects before a full production run.
While the prototyping process may appear time-consuming, it actually helps speed up the process and reduce delivery timeframes. First up, it minimizes reworks once the manufacturer starts conclusive production.
Secondly, manufacturers use different PCBs like visual models, working prototypes, functional prototypes, and proof-of-concept prototypes. With these prototypes, the quick turn PCB fabrication companies can give clients an accurate idea of how the final product will function. Therefore, this helps eliminate guesswork and minimize the time manufacturers spend on redesign and explanations.
PCB manufacturers offer the PCB prototype and standard production service. The PCB production stage involves manufacturing the boards for market applications.
Once the PCB fabrication company finalizes the designs and data, clients can look forward to receiving a high volume of boards within the shortest period. It does not matter the complexity involved in producing the circuit boards. With the right PCB manufacturer, the final product can reach the target users within the required time. And this can go a long way in strengthening your competitive advantage in the markets.
Please note that users with existing designs they have used previously can jump to the standard production process. Otherwise, they will need to engage the PCB prototype service to rule out any flaws in the final product.
Quick turn PCB is a game-changer not only for manufacturers but also clients. It reduces the manufacturing time and saves money. The PCB prototypes can help avoid costly flaws by detecting issues that could go unnoticed until it's too late. It pays to work with a quick turn PCB fabrication partner who has demonstrated that they can consistently produce high-quality PCBs within the promised delivery schedules.