Hardware designers requiring PCB assembly in UK usually face tremendous obstacles for their need of prototyping and small batches. Large companies with huge inventory needs and long delivery horizons can wait for days or weeks for a proposal, while accepting large minimum quantity requirements. For them, delays associated with overseas manufacturing are no big deal. However, these conditions are simply unacceptable for small industries, engineers, makers, and entrepreneurs.
A new approach to PCB assembly is gaining popularity. These PCB assembly services are also called kickstarter manufacturing or cloud manufacturing. For instance, RushPCB Inc., a PCB assembly company, now takes into the cloud activities such as quoting, sharing of documents, ordering components, and other aspects of project management while working with PCB manufacturers. Customers can expect all interactions with the vendor streamlined and captured in real time. Investors get the results they are looking for at reasonable prices. However, not all cloud PCB assembly companies are the same, and one has to look for the one that meets the specific requirements.
Best Practices of PCB Assembly Vendor
Selecting the professional PCB assembly company at the beginning determines the success of a project. Therefore, picking the right PCB assembly services provider becomes a highly important decision to be made. One must watch out for those offering very low prices, but subsequently are unable to provide the services, record of accomplishment, infrastructure, and technology to back up their promises. Rather, one must insist the PCB assembly services have the essential features, offer the services, and follow business practices such as:
Online Management and Reporting
The online administration portal of the PCB service provider is a window to the experiences as a customer. It should allow easy tracking and reporting on the progress of the project, make required changes, and upload design documents including the bill of materials. In short, it should allow the customer to check on the status of the product at any time, and from anywhere.
Waiting for days or weeks and trading a bunch of emails only to find out the cost of a PCB assembly, is not only a waste of time, it is expensive. A vendor offering instant, online quotations is always preferable. In general, although all vendors will start by sending a quotation for the project, therefore, selecting one who gets the process off painlessly is advisable. Moreover, selecting the vendor who gives an estimate in terms of quantity offtake helps in determining capital needs and product prices.
Most customers, before placing their order, want to be sure their PCB works exactly as intended. This may require making a few iterations to perfect the design. So far, prototyping was a big challenge under the old manufacturing model. However, PCB assembly in UK has progressed technologically, and there are PCB manufacturers willing to handle even a single quantity. Usually, vendors keep their prices in check by combining orders of low volumes into large production runs.
Minimum Order Requirements
Earlier, PCB assembly services were unable to accept production runs of small quantities. Older technology did not allow profitability in smaller numbers, which turned out to be a major challenge for everyone. However, use of modern technologies allows easy combination of small orders into larger ones, while switching from one task to another is no longer a major hurdle. Therefore, professional PCB assembly providers accept all types of order, regardless of quantity, and execute them at reasonable prices.
With advancement in PCB assembly technologies, it is no longer necessary to track multiple vendors and suffer long lead times. A modern PCB assembly solution such as the Rush PCB Inc., offers a platform to upload design files, review and mange bill of materials, and resolve any assembly problems, online and from anywhere. Once the customer is happy with the design, the professional PCB assembly company takes over the sourcing, purchasing, and assembly of the components. Take care that the vendor offers access to updates on the platform and sends email notifications reporting the project progress. With this approach, expect the product to be available in days.
Printed Circuit Board assembly in UK can now offer prices competitive with offshore options, thanks to modern PCB assembly techniques. Therefore, enterprises selecting a PCB assembly partner based in the UK can expect to eliminate the delays, risks, costs, and complexity of dealing with a provider from overseas.
Looking Beyond PCB Assembly
The PCB happens to be only the first step of the many for most inventions and products. Professional cloud PCB manufacturers, such as the RushPCB Inc., offer even more. For instance, they will allow shipping in of components and materials for building complex products. They also have a warehouse attached to their manufacturing line, which allows a reduction in delays and shipping fees.
Most products will ultimately be shipped to end-users. Therefore, look for a professional PCB assembly partner who can keep products in their inventory and transfer them directly to end-users upon order. Some, including RushPCB Inc., even provide an API for directly integrating with the enterprise ERP or other e-commerce system.