Most businesses thrive by offering novel products and satisfying customer needs in the shortest time possible. It is the same principle in play for most middle-level and start-up OEM companies. The ability to deliver their PCB orders in the shortest time helps beat the competition and grow their business. Because of this, the fast turn PCB concept has steadily emerged over the years as a go-to solution for many small and middle-level companies. Such solutions get provided by electronic contract manufacturers specializing in this production service.
Fast Turn PCB: Emergence and why it is Important
Like most sectors in the global economy, competition often proves cut-throat. As an emerging or established company, staying at the top requires aggressiveness. The electronics sector proves the same. It even gets more daunting considering the level of demand, the numerous and global nature of competition, and the capital-intensive nature of the business. Because of this, a pre-dominant marketing strategy has entailed the delivery of quality printed circuit boards within the shortest time possible.
Over the years, the significance of getting updated on new and emerging market trends has increased. It helps deliver quality and acceptable printed circuit board products to customers and keeps pace or beats the competition. Fast turn PCB plugs this need, though getting a reliable and top tier firm equally proves essential.
Fast or quick turn PCB involves delivering or acquiring printed circuit board products within twenty-four hours. It is crucial to not only save time and energy but get quality PCBs at reasonable prices. Some fast turn PCB product solutions entail PCB prototyping, printed circuit board assembly, electronic component sourcing, and high-volume fabrication and assembly of PCBs.
Fast Turn PCB Prototype (Fabrication and Assembly)
It can also get referred to as a quick-turn PCB prototype or rapid concept prototype. It involves both the bare board and the circuit board, complete with all the assembled components. The concept emphasizes speed in fabricating, assembling components, and delivering the prototype to customers.
Fast turn PCB prototype gets based on the importance of assembling PCB models before getting them into the high-volume production process. Such prototypes have customized features. The manufacturing company needs to have the capacity to incorporate the custom features and deliver the product within the shortest possible time. Experience in mastering the technique of developing faster turnarounds, complete with cost-efficiency, proves key.
However, the client or customer must understand the requirements before settling for a fast PCB prototyping service. You have to understand and ensure that all the advantages and specifications offered by a fast PCB manufacturing company meet your PCB prototype’s distinct needs.
High-Volume Fast Turn PCB
It encompasses both the fabrication and assembly aspects of the production process. The concept proves similar to that of the quick turn PCB prototype where customers expect the PCB and PCBA boards within a short period of placing their orders. Top fast turn PCB manufacturers take a minimum of twenty-four hours to deliver the PCB products, though they should not exceed two or three days.
Benefits that Accrue from Fast Turn PCB
Fast turn PCB prototyping and production services can benefit customers in the following ways.
- It protects the customer from facing unnecessary delays that accrue from the complexity of the fabrication and assembly process of the PCB. The customer can check their design before placing their order to side-step, waiting for the design clarification and verification process that may delay your PCB production.
- Almost in all the cases where customers opt for fast turn PCBs, they get to enjoy prompt and personal attention (assistance) from the manufacturer’s technicians and engineers. The technical support always proves a phone call away with all the help customers need regarding design specifications.
- Plenty of service providers with a demonstrable sense of efficiency become keen on fabricating and assembling PCBs according to the design specifications provided by the customer. The companies also ensure that they respond quickly with definite answers concerning assembly and fabrication inquiries.
- Customers also get to tap into the supply chain network of the fast turn bare PCB service provider. It becomes essential in getting industry-grade electronic components for their PCBA besides the discounts from mass procurement transactions.
Importance of Picking a Leading Fast Turn PCB Manufacturer for Your PCB Needs
The aspect of managing your printed circuit board needs like design, fabrication (both prototype and mass production), and assembly can become hectic. It requires a significant commitment of resources, including time, human resources, and capital, for every phase. But thankfully, the concept of fast turn PCB helps alleviate some of these aspects.
Finding the right fit (manufacturer) for your quick-turn PCB needs becomes integral to the success of your efforts. PCB manufacturing companies provide an apt and fast solution to your PCB needs. While not all PCB manufacturers have an equal footing in experience, size, and capacity, most can still do a great job. However, companies with manufacturing experience offer a wide variety of packages that sync with your project’s deadline and delivery timelines. The package includes the type of devices and tooling, production quality, size of the printed circuit board, and the projects’ urgency.
Customers often enjoy the advantage of not wasting their effort and time getting viable solutions when they engage a fast turn PCB provider. Such quick turn PCB fabrication companies come with ready solutions that you can pick from. Additionally, package customization also exists with such companies, which benefits the customer and the entire production process. Further, the variety of PCB types on offer, including different fast turn PCB shapes like round, rectangular, hexagonal, etc., comes as a major boost.
The quality of the 24 hr printing services of the PCB also proves top-notch as they comply with industry quality standards and codes. For instance, the PCBs comply with ISO, UL, RoHS, Reach, etc.
How to Pick a Top Tier Fast Turn PCB Manufacturing Company
Most top-tier fast PCB manufacturing companies like RayMing PCB and Assembly can offer PCB production services within two days of making your order. However, many more manufacturers exist today and picking a suitable and top one can become difficult. How then can you get yourself the right fast turn PCB manufacturer?
Important Consideration for Picking the Right Fast Turn PCB Manufacturer
The idea of getting your PCB product to market – whether a quick turn flex PCB or a quick-turn rigid PCB, should hinge on the location of the PCB manufacturer. In other words, location plays a crucial factor in how quickly you receive your market-ready PCBs. Naturally, if a PCB solutions provider proves further away from your area, the longer the delivery of the PCB will take.
While this aspect may not necessarily bother a few customers, it heavily impacts the business of OEMs who rely on quick turnaround times. For such companies, getting the printed circuit boards as soon as they place an order becomes essential.
Many fast turn PCB manufacturers have their factories or headquarters in far-flung areas – for instance, China, the United States, South America, Europe, etc. Engaging a fast-turn PC manufacturer from South America when located in china can prove detrimental to the delivery times of your PCB.
Development Time for the Prototype
Almost all new products-to-market launches feature prototypes. Based on a company’s strategy, besides their manufacturing partner, printed circuit boards can contribute to fast turnaround times or significant delays in mass production of the new product. If a prototype development process delays for whatever reason, the company’s readiness to mass-produce the product gets hampered. Getting a quick-turn PCB can have an unprecedented and straightforward impact. For instance, dispatching a prototype design and getting the board after a day can become instrumental in scaling up the production process. Any delays resulting from design constraints or failures during the prototype stage lengthens the lead times.
It, therefore, becomes pivotal to get the PCB design right at the first time of asking. Additionally, you also have to get the right fabrication partner to have any meaningful impact on the lead times of each PCB prototype.
Quality of the Printed Circuit Board
The PCB product’s quality often proves vital. As a result, special emphasis on the quality of new products becomes a focal point for companies. It informs how well or poorly a product’s reception in the market will prove. In the end, the PCB product needs to meet the market’s expected standards and functional expectations. Any drawback needs to get addressed.
You can help companies to narrow down and focus on addressing a list of probable problems. Such a process impacts the PCB prototype lead times by decreasing the problem identification process. In turn, the time spent otherwise on checking the entire device prototype reduces. Making such challenges obvious can become a reality through fast-turn PCB prototyping. However, the manufacturer needs to ascertain high PCB quality to identify such challenges.
Taking a PCB product to the market should consider its readiness for the shelves and produce it on a certain scale and over a long period. Fabrication consistency of printed circuit boards becomes key. It no longer becomes enough to fabricate and deliver quality PCB prototypes. The quality has to translate consistently into high-volume PCB products, which gets realized through fast PCB production.
Most manufacturers of printed circuit boards can indeed deliver high quality when the quantities are low. The same companies cannot translate the same consistency in quality when the volumes increase significantly. Such a scenario poses the risk of printed circuit board products emerging with deficiencies and defects, leading to delays.
It becomes imperative to find a PCB manufacturing partner that can meet your orders (low or high-volume) but with consistent quality throughout.
Selection Criteria of Fast Turn PCB Manufacturers
The high amount of PCB manufacturers around the globe coupled with false advertising over the internet can prove a disastrous combination when selecting a potential fast turn PCB manufacturer. A fruitful search requires an in-depth technical comprehension of discriminating between solutions providers. To avoid the confusion that often ensues and a potentially disastrous situation of ending up with the wrong one, you should consider the following.
Try and Partner with a PCB Manufacturer that Understands the Meaning of Quick Turn
It is pivotal to seek partnerships with PCB manufacturers who can offer PCB prototypes with the shortest lead times. However, it is also prudent to ensure that their quick delivery assurance does not negatively impact the printed circuit board quality. Always consider approaching and partnering with companies manned by expert technicians and engineers. It guarantees the proper designing, fabrication, assembly, and delivery of end products with satisfactory quality. What’s more? It delivers this within the expected lead times.
Consider a Well-Equipped PCB Fabricator
Fast turn PCB prototyping needs the latest machines and equipment besides cutting-edge technologies and processes in almost every instance. Because of this, the PCB manufacturing partner you decide to engage needs to demonstrate ownership of advanced laminators, etching machines, besides packaging equipment. Further, the PCB manufacturer needs to have innovative testing equipment such as the e-tester, flying probe tester, and AOI or automated optical inspection for thorough quality check activities. It would help to acknowledge that a top-tier and well-equipped printed circuit board manufacturing facility possessing the required high-tech systems and machines could produce quality PCB boards with little turnaround times.
Consider Partnering with a PCB Manufacturer whose PCB Operations Conform to International Quality Standards.
The printed circuit board manufacturing partner should prove committed to the provision of value-driven products. At the same time, the partner should meet your stringent delivery times. It is prudent to ensure the raw material types used in the printed circuit board production process meet the highest quality standards. The PCB prototype also needs to meet the set and approved UL standards. Other set international compliance certifications and guidelines need to get met as well.
International Quality Standards and Certifications
- The PCB needs to satisfy or comply with the following certifications – ISO 9001:2008, IATF16949, RoHS certification.
- ISO 9001 represents a group or family of global quality management guidelines and standards that aim to promote international organizations and companies in meeting and exceeding customer needs and expectations. It meets customer expectations by effectively and efficiently enhancing the quality of services and products.
- IATF16949 – It is a group of quality management standards regulating the security and quality of electronic manufacturers in automotive electronic products. It enhances the reliability and performance of automotive products.
- UL certification – It covers the quality management aspects of testing the capabilities of electronic products besides inspection. It includes areas such as automated optical inspection AOI, X-ray inspection, etc.
- RoHS stands for restriction of hazardous substances and implies a plethora of restrictive application regulations, primarily of six hazardous substances in electric and electronic product manufacturing. It covers mercury (Hg), lead (Pb), Hexavalent Chromium, Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDE), Cadmium (Cd), and Polybrominated Biphenyls (PBB).
- The RoHS standard and standards have international acclaim as much as it started in Europe in 2003. It covers the entire electronics industry besides partial products (electronics). The regulation stipulates the maximum concentration that has gotten set for each restricted substance.
Before you finalize the selection process of a potential PCB manufacturer, it becomes necessary to compare at least two or three fast turn PCB manufacturers. It will help in the determination of their competence and the best pick to opt for. Here, you can read and conclude online reviews or the details provided on the manufacturer’s websites. Additionally, asking the PCB manufacturer questions can also suffice when it comes to your information gathering efforts. If any of the options satisfy your criteria regarding their skill and capacity, then you can go ahead and contract them for your fast turn PCB needs.
Costly Mistakes to Avoid in Fast Turn PCB
The availability of standard printed circuit board technology makes it possible to have a lamination of single, two, up to eight board layers within a day or three. However, fast turn PCB prototyping becomes quick and efficient depending on the information provided. The type and technology deployed also have a bearing on how fast the quick turn PCB production proves. However, to ensure a seamless, fast turn PCB production, you need to become cognisant of the following factors.
Dealing with many laminations can have a bearing on the time it takes to deliver your PCB. Anytime you get into the process of laminating a circuit board, it mimics building another multilayer circuit board. It has to pass through all the early fabrication stages afresh. Every lamination cycle typically adds about two more days. While multiple laminations can prove valuable in certain circumstances, it proves best to avoid them for fast-turn PCB production. It arises because such multiple laminations do tend to conflict with fast turn efforts. It becomes necessary to use it sparingly in fast-turn PCB designs.
Plating over the Via-In-Pad
Plating over the via-in-pad applies to single stack-up lamination. Whenever you have an SMT footprint complete with a via-in-pad, it can cause the solder to wick in the hole. At times, the process requires barring of heat from under the PCB components or in saving space. However, while vias have become more popular, it is imperative to note that they can lengthen the production process by a day.
The notes you make or incorporate on your PCB fabrication drawing often mean something to the fabricator. Therefore, it is prudent to understand what the notes mean to the PCB fabricator to avoid miscommunication.
It represents another time-consuming venture. If you apply a surface finish on a board requiring two surface finish types – say hard gold for a component like an edge connector and ENIG for the surface mount, you will have increased the plating process time. Every type of finish requires a separate application. Therefore doing it twice can prove time-consuming.
Frequently Asked Questions about Fast Turn PCB or Quick Turn PCB
What is the meaning of a quick turn PCB?
It represents the quick manufacturing, assembly, and delivery of printed circuit boards within the shortest time possible. The circuit boards get built to match the precise specification detailed in your PCB order.
What three types of printed circuit board exist?
The three available types of PCBs can come in two forms. The first encompasses three types based on the layer number of printed circuit boards. It includes Multilayer PCBs, Double-sided PCBs, and Single-sided printed circuit boards. On the other hand, the type of PCB can also come as Rigid, Rigid-flex, and Rigid printed circuit boards.
What does a PCB turn time mean?
The standard turn time for printed circuit boards implies the seven-day turnover time it takes for PCB assembly. However, the time can shoot whenever complex component packaged gets involved involves BGA, 0201, and QFN. A printed circuit board primarily with through-hole technology components compared to surface-mount tech components can increase the turn time.
Can you make printed circuit boards at home?
Yes, it is possible to make simple printed circuit boards at home. Such home PCB manufacturing reduces challenges that result from loose breadboard connections. Printed circuit boards prove common and smoothen the difficulties of handling breadboards and their connecting wires.
What is the cost of a printed circuit board?
The standard cost of producing a printed circuit board ranges from $10 to $50 for each board. However, the PCB manufacturer determines the actual price and can either prove less expensive or more expensive of the range stipulated.
How long do a PCB design and production process take?
The production process of printed circuit boards takes about three to fourteen business days. However, the period can vary based on the parameters of the specific order, excluding delays arising from order or file problems.
Fast turn PCB (both prototypes and high-volume production) proves critical to the success of most emerging and middle-level PCB companies. Understanding the different aspects of fast turn PCB becomes crucial in boosting your business prospects and staying ahead of the competition. Hopefully, the insights provided can become useful for your future quick turn PCB needs.