Choosing the Right Flexible Circuit Supplier – Five Critical Considerations

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Choosing the Right Flexible Circuit Supplier – Five Critical Considerations

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If you are currently shopping for a flexible circuit supplier to build your circuit board, but are not too experienced in this arena, please take the time the time to read the following information.  The choice you are about to make is too important.  One of the biggest mistakes people often make is going with the lowest bidder, although easy on the wallet, you may be exposing yourself to a whole lot of aggravation and frustration.  When you are interviewing perspective flexible circuit supplier it is important to keep the following points in mind;

  • Capabilities (applications, designs, volume, engineering, and fabrication)
  • Assembly
  • Certifications
  • Quality Systems

Capabilities

Can they meet your needs?  Do they have the right equipment and the required knowledge?  After you have explained what your needs are can they tell you how they will meet the mechanical needs, which chemicals they will use, what type of thermals will be used, how the electrical aspects will work, how big it will be, and how the surface will be finished?  If not, then you should probably move on to the next applicant.

Will they be able to meet your supply needs while building it the exact way you need them to?

Do they have the capability to meet your fabrication requirements on a routine basis?  The fabrication process is quite detailed, will they be able to meet every detail you need every time you need it?

Assembly

Can the perspective supplier provide the necessary components?  If so this can save time by eliminating the process of shipping it to another facility to have them added.  But, you should ask them if they have the appropriate equipment, know how?  If they are not capable of performing the component assembly, it just may be worth the extra time to send it to someone who knows what to do and how to do it correctly the first time around.

Certifications

Find out what type of certifications they currently have.  Certifications are an important aspect because they show the suppliers dedication, experience, as well as knowledge of the industry.  This may be a deal breaker for you.  Why should you trust a supplier that does not hold any certifications in their expertise?

Quality Systems

When a supplier has taken the time to demonstrate their expertise through certification they are also providing proof of their standards.  This is because they will routinely go through an auditing process to keep their certification current.  The certifying agency performs the audit, ensuring that the required standards and quality systems are in place and more importantly being used.

Although you may not be an expert in the Circuit Board Industry, it does not mean you can’t arm yourself with the important questions that should be easily answered by the prospective supplier.  You have worked too long and hard to just hand your project over to a supplier who can’t meet your needs.  Perform due diligence now, avoid problems later.