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Does it Make Sense to go in for PCB Assembly Outsourcing

2020-09-22

Does it Make Sense to go in for PCB Assembly Outsourcing

PCB is the acronym for Printed Circuit Boards and they are used in a number of consumer electronic products. The list is quite big and it includes personal computers, laptops, smart phones, digital cameras, MP3 media players, gaming consoles and of course smartphones. The volume of PCB assembly is humongous and it is growing by leaps and bounds each year as the demand for various electronic and electrical appliances also grows at a brisk pace. Though big manufacturers of electronic appliances and other such items have their own facilities for assembling and fabricating PCBs, this is not the case as far as small and medium sized manufacturers and OEMs are concerned. Therefore they have to rely on PCB ASSEMBLY OUTSOURCE because of obvious reasons. Is outsourcing of PCB assembly a good or bad idea? Let us try and find answers to the question.

 

THE GROWING WORLD OF TURNKEY PCB ASSEMBLY MANUFACTURERS

Many OEM manufacturing have started depending on turnkey PCB assembly manufacturers. They are experts when it comes to following the complicated and strict set of processes that are required for producing high quality and affordable PCBs and within reasonably fast turnaround times. These turnkey manufacturers handle everything from start to end including fabrication of boards, placement of components, soldering of the components together to the board and finally having them tested to ensure that they are fully functional. There are quite a few complexities involved in manufacture of PCBs. Therefore, it makes much better sense to own a big assembly facility. It offers them many advantages including advantages of speed, quality and reliability.

MANY BIG MANUFACTURERS ARE SHIFTING TO OUTSOURCING

A few decades it was a normal practice for big electronic equipment manufacturers to produce their own PCBs. But this practice is being slowly discontinued because manufacturing these in large quantities consumes a large amount of in-house resources and also leads to increase in the prices of the end products. The cost of setting up a PCB manufacturing facility could be quite expensive for such big manufacturers. In order to cut down on the cost of manufacturing these PCBs inhouse, many companies find it better to outsource PCB assembly manufacturing to third party service providers. By doing so, the big manufacturers can do away with the cost of capital expenditure and also recurring revenue expenses, staff salaries and other such expenses. These could help bring down the overall cost of the electronic items and make them more competitive in a tough and demanding world.

There are some inherent strengths as far as turnkey PCB assembly manufacturers are concerned. These manufacturers have the advantage of volume on their side. They not only manufacture PCBs for one electronic company but quite a few of them. This helps them to make them become more competitive in terms of pricing. Further, compared to the original manufacturers of electronic equipment, these small turnkey manufacturers have lower revenue expenses and this certainly is a big advantage.

THEY ARE BETTER EQUIPPED TO PROVIDE ACCESSORIES

Another big advantage with turnkey PCB assembly manufacturers is their ability to provide various accessories and other related products at much lower prices. These include various board-level semiconductor devices. They can meet the specific needs of electronic manufacturers who are into internet, gaming, smart phones, medical equipment systems, entertainment and infotainment systems, and also various other equipment that needs PCBs. These include vehicle manufacturers, defence equipment and a host of others. In fact, there are hardly any areas where there is no use of PCB assembled kits.

THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND

While there are many advantages in choosing turnkey manufacturers and suppliers of PCB assembled end-products, there are some things that one should be careful about. Make sure that the turnkey, third-party manufacturers have a proven record when it comes to satisfied clients. Further, before handing over the contract to these outsourced manufacturers of PCBs make sure that you pay a visit to the assembly lines. In fact many electronic item manufacturers have their own people on the board of these turnkey PCB makers. This ensures quality and better coordination. A few of them are also willing to invest in these small sized units so that they become financially more viable. These OEMs should be code compliant and also be UL-certified. When you do this you will ensure that you will have end products that are of the best quality. You also will not have to worry about reliability, timely deliveries, safety and overall performance of the OCBs that come out from the stables of these third party manufacturers.

MISTAKES TO AVOID WHEN OUTSOURCING OF PCB ASSEMBLY MANUFACTURE

Here are some common mistakes that you should avoid that could prove expensive as far as your PCB assembly manufacture outsourcing decision is concerned.

* Never hurry in handing over manufacturing contracts to third party PCB suppliers. Have a close look at their manufacturing facilities, their market reputation, their experience and expertise and their technical competence levels. Do not worry even if it takes a few months to complete the due diligence process.
* Be clear with your project objectives. Make sure that, as an electronic equipment end-user manufacturer, you are clear about the deliverables and objectives that you expect from the PCB assembly outsourcing companies. Communication is extremely vital and there should not be any missing links that you may regret later.
* Don’t compromise on quality. Many electronic equipment and appliances manufacturers, including some big names, often make the mistake of choosing low cost PCB turnkey companies. Never make this mistake because the price you may have to pay will be quite heavy. Let it not be a case of being pennywise pound foolish. Your brand image and company name is at stake and you should always bear this in mind.
* Avoid outsourcing overseas. This again is a common mistake that many big names make. While overseas manufacturers may offer much better rates, keeping a close watch on the manufacturing processes of PCB and maintaining quality will be a tough task. You can do this much better and more proactively when you choose local manufacturers. Communication will be easier and the problem of language will also not be there.

CONCLUSION

To put things in perspective outsourcing of PCB assembling is no longer a choice but has become a reality. Hence, if not today, at least a few months or years down the line you have to go in for this practice. However, before handing over the job, make sure that you choose the best ones who are able to ensure quality, safety, and reliability and have a proven track record and credentials.