When we talk about electronic devices, we are used to thinking about cellphones, toys, TVs, and gadgets of all sorts. These are incredibly popular so they tend to be made in millions per batch. However, the reality is that not all circuits get made at that volume. Individual creators, electronics professionals, researchers, students, and DIY enthusiasts will sometimes need their designs to get turned into physical PCBs. They have to find a small batch PCB assembly factory that can meet their requirements for their projects. Below are the most vital factors to consider:
Most assemblers focus their energies on large volume orders since these enable them to get excellent returns despite low charges per item. They can afford to drop prices to entice manufacturers to use their services since they are still likely to profit from the overall payment. When it comes to smaller volumes, there is not much room for negotiations. The charges are likely to be higher per piece but it can still be quite reasonable. Shop around to compare costs and find good deals.
No one wants to wait for weeks just to get their small batch PCB assembly. This will result in unnecessary delays in the project’s timeline which the creator might not be able to afford. For example, a graduate student will need to present her thesis at a schedule date. It would be hard to push that back given the rigid academic calendar. If she fails to finish, then she cannot graduate on time. Even those without a hard deadline such as DIY enthusiasts will probably want fast turnaround times just to keep their momentum going.
You need to inquire about the process of different factories. Some will take care of everything from the design to the materials to the testing. You do not have to worry about anything else since you can get the final product with minimal inputs. On the other hand, there are also places that will assemble everything but you have to provide them with the materials and other requirements. Never assume. Discuss this with your chosen factory before proceeding.
Check the abilities of the assembler to meet your requirements. If your designs have uncommon specifications, then you will have to ask them if they can deliver. Not all factories are the same. Some have more advanced assembly lines than others. There are those which cannot cope with high density boards.