Quality is one of the most important aspects you should look for when it comes to PCB fabrication. You don’t want to experience delays with the production of your product because of a poor fabrication process, especially if you’re anticipating a wide pool of customers or simply scheduling an event in which your device will be the main attraction. Regardless, you have to keep in mind several points to consider before you contact any company that would be working on your printed circuit board.
Since quality will be of utmost importance, you want the manufacturer to only be using the right materials for your board. However, this is also where cost becomes a huge consideration. Which laminate materials the manufacturer would use would depend on the vendors they’re getting it from. However, if your application doesn’t really need to rely on the highest quality of materials, this should be of little issue; but you need to consider if they’d be using the same type of materials for all lots.
If you already have a schedule for your new product’s release, make sure you pick the PCB fabrication company at the right time. The manufacturer may offer as fast as a 3-day turnaround time; but you should expect it to be a lot more costly than the cost of fabrication completed after several weeks. As such, try to research for a manufacturer long before you need your product to be completed.
Some companies accept everything that’s written in your fab notes, and some don’t. Many companies may build their own standards for the set of specifications and tolerances they’ll be complying with. If, however, you are to work together with a company that offers low cost fabrication, you might not get what you exactly need.
A very critical thing you should remember when choosing a fabrication company is testing. This is a process that, while many deem important, is overlooked by others. A company offering fabrication at very low rates may or may not test your board. As such, you can’t always assure that there won’t be any short circuit once you’ve used your PCB. Should any issue with the board occur, the PCB fabrication company would have to do a re-work. This would naturally cause a delay and a costly one depending on your needs.
As with any company catering to a specific industry, the PCB fabrication company you would be choosing should offer support. Layout mistakes can happen and you don’t want any of these to affect the board that will be sent to you. Many companies offer engineering support so that the layout could be checked and mistakes caught. You certainly would want to work with one of these companies.
If your product will only be made for your personal purposes, you don’t have to think much about capacity. However, if you need your prototype to be produced in thousands, you have to pick a company that can do this for you.
Some devices require simple boards while others necessitate designs hat are much more complex. You have to be aware if the manufacturer is capable of providing the fabrication methods you require for your board. Of course, with higher technology comes higher costs so you have to be prepared to pay the price of the complexity of your PCB design.
With all these in mind, you shouldn’t be worrying too much about whether you’ve chosen the right company or not. On the other hand, there might be a few more things you would want for your board such as what plating would be utilized. Plating processes differ hugely, which should be dependent on the product you’re trying to create.