Finding a Low Cost Circuit Board Manufacturer
Low cost circuit board manufacturers are a dime a dozen in today’s market. Though the differences between each company may be relatively minor, it’s imperative to take a close look at each of them and the experiences of their customers. By following some common sense guidelines, the next prototype PCB run will come back just as well as the board was designed.
The first thing to understand when examining low cost circuit board manufacturers is that their prices are relatively similar. Shipping is occasionally included within the quoted price, while in other cases, a manufacturer will charge extra for it. Depending on the number of layers in the board to be fabricated, there may be a significant difference in price, but for common runs of single layer, double-sided or dual-layer boards, prices will be similar. Prompt shipment, excellence in design and on-premise facilities, however, are not common to all manufacturers. Since quality and service are the most crucial elements of a low cost PCB manufacturer, it might be wise to obtain testimony from design engineers who have used these companies for some time.
Today’s top manufacturers also provide high-quality PCB layout software with which to design the PC board. These programs differ between manufacturers, and one may be more powerful or easier to use than another. One important element of the software is error checking and analysis. Some companies utilize powerful analytical software which can provide the designer a full report listing any anomalies prior to order placement, while others rely only on manual checking of the file once it is submitted to the manufacturer.
Finding a low cost PCB manufacturer that’s right for a given project should be a carefully thought out process. It is possible to change manufacturers during a project, though such a thing is far from desirable given the necessity that engineers familiarize themselves with different systems and processes. With this in mind, it makes much more sense to plan with an eye toward a years-long partnership when selecting a low cost PCB manufacturer.
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