The Print Circuit Board industry is pretty competitive. Thus, if you are looking to make huge sales and gain a competitive advantage, utilizing Quick Turn PCB assembly might be inevitable. In addition, quick turn Print Circuit Board assembly offers the fastest way to hit the market, giving you quick-time-to-market. Quick turn PCB assembly is ideal for fully assembled, complex circuits and basic circuits PCBs.
What exactly is Quick Turn Print Circuit Board Assembly?
Quick turn PCB assembly is an assembly process that lets manufacturers complete their projects pretty fast. By using this assembly process, manufacturers can meet even the most pressing schedules.
The Quick Turn Print Circuit Board process occurs as follows:
You first generate, finalize, and validate a PCB design; you then have to present the design to a PCB manufacturer in a GFF (Gerber Files Format). The quick turn print circuit board company then reviews the Gerber files and the material bills required to build the project. They then send you a quote before commencing the assembly process. After approving the sent quotation, the manufacturer then procures the required components using the shortest time possible. However, before moving on to produce PCBs for the mass market, the PCB manufacturer has to create a prototype first.
The quick turn PCB prototypes help the manufacturer confirm that the PCB is working correctly. After rigorous testing, the manufacturer then moves on to mass produce the PCB. At the assembly phase, the manufacturer can utilize any of the following technologies:
- Surface mount technology (SMT) – We mount various electrical components onto a circuit board in this technique. The components are then secured using solder.
- Through-hole (Thru Hole surface mount) – Engineers and technicians mount and then solder THT components onto empty boards.
- Mixed Technology (features mixed/Through-hole type) – Combines Thru Hole surface mount and SMT technology.
Ball Grid Array
Ball Grid Array is also an assembling technology that utilizes tiny lead balls to mount components onto a circuit board. However, this technology is special as it requires complex machinery to assemble and test BGA PCBs. Using quick turn PCB assembly, the BGA process is made easier to accomplish. The turnaround time is also small and the cost of assembly goes down immensely.
Why should you utilize Quick Turn PCB Assembly?
Firstly, Quick Turn PCB assembly is a time saver. By utilizing Quick Turn PCB assembly, one gets to save a lot of time, which leaves you with more market time to utilize. You can then utilize this extra time to market as a competitive advantage. For example, if you spark a new idea using Quick Turn PCB assembly, you can bring the idea to life and deliver it to the market first.
Quick Turn PCB assembly is also a cost saver. That is because Quick Turn PCB assembly-based production executes in pretty short timelines. Therefore, the amount of money spent to produce one PCB reduces significantly. If you use a reliable PCB assembler that can buy various components at a lower price, you can further reduce the overall cost immensely. Hence, you can deliver your PCBs to your clients at a competitive price without harming your profit margin.
Capabilities of Quick Turn Print Circuit Board assembly
PCB Boards that can be Assembled using Quick Turn PCB Assembly
- Rigid-Flex Boards – Rigid-flex boards are hybrids of hardboards. These boards have inflexible and flexible parts.
- FR4 Rigid Boards – Rigid boards are circuit boards built out of inflexible substrates, making them inflexible or simply rigid.
- Flex boards – Flex boards are circuit boards built to accept flex material bonding.
These boards also come in three varieties: multiple-layers, double-sided and single layer. Quick Turn PCB assembly can handle all of them effectively.
The Quick Turn PCB Assembly can handle both leaded and unleaded solder types. Leaded solder, commonly known as soft solder, is mostly selected because it has a pretty low melting point. Unleaded solder also known as lead-free solder, has a higher melting point. Clients primarily utilize it due to its lead-free features.
Surface Finishes in Quick Turn PCB Assemblies
Hot Air Solder Leveling – HASL or HAL (hot air (solder) leveling) is a surface finish technique. It involves the submersion of the PCB onto molten solder. After submersion, the molten solder covers the copper surfaces that are left exposed.
Immersion Silver – In this technique, the fabricator provides exposed copper pads. The copper pads have an immersion silver surface finish.
Electroless Nickel Immersion Gold – In this technique, the fabricator applies a thin gold layer to the PCB. Electroless Nickel immersion Gold technique boost the PCBs shelf life immensely.
Lead-Free HASL – Lead-Free HASL is simply the Hot air solder leveling process without lead.
Quick Turn PCB Assembly Services
Turnkey PCB Assembly Services
Turnkey PCB assembly is an efficient electronics assembling solution. It offers a cost-effective method of testing and building PCBs. In this quick turn PCB assembly service, the supplier gets to handle every aspect of the PCB assembly process. These aspect include procuring parts, fabricating and assembling the PCB. Therefore, this is probably the fastest way for clients to get their print circuit boards on the market quickly.
Unlike Turnkey PCB assembly, partial PCB assembly requires you (as the client) to participate in the assembly of your PCB. Therefore, if you choose this service, you’ll have to provide your assembly provider with the required circuit boards and other components they might request. After providing these components, the assembly provider then works on the PCB. They then provide a functioning circuit board as an output.
If you have loads of unused parts available on hand, you can opt for this option. Doing so can ultimately save you a lot of time and money that could have gone into procuring new components.
Quick Turn PCB Assembly Testing and Inspection
After going through quick turn PCB assembly, the client has to check on the functionality and the quality of the PCB. To ensure top notch quality products, the manufacturer has to perform, functional testing, in-circuit testing and X-ray inspection. To breed better quality, they also have to undertake AOI testing and visual inspection. X-ray inspection mostly falls under BGA technology. In BGA, the connection part is hidden under the electronic component that connected onto the PCB.
Factors that you should highly consider when selecting a Quick Turn Print Circuit Board Assembly Manufacturer
Many quick turn print circuit board manufacturers exist, posing a selection dilemma. Clients are left wondering, who is the best manufacturer for my project? And is this manufacturer going to deliver my project on time, or should I opt for another one? But, using these simple guidelines, you can easily select a quick-turn manufacturer to help you out:
Experience – A knowledgeable and experienced manufacturer is bound to produce quality outputs. Thus, to choose the right manufacturer for your project, you should check on the manufacturer’s experience. You can also move to the manufacturer’s client base to make further deductions.
Speed – Quick Turnaround times are pretty crucial in the PCB market. The producer with the shortest turnaround times has a market advantage compared to those that take more time to assemble PCBs. Therefore, you must ensure that the manufacturer you choose has a good turnaround time record.
Quality – While clocking the shortest turnaround times is crucial in the competitive market of PCB assembly. Quality is also a major factor to consider. Therefore, you should choose a manufacturer that emphasizes on quality. Furthermore, the manufacturer’s operations should ultimately conform to the global guidelines and standards.
Equipment – Developing complex circuits is not an easy task to accomplish. However, modern-day state-of-the-art equipment takes care of most processes. Hence, you should ensure that the manufacturer you choose has largely invested in advanced equipment as per PCB assembly.
Cost – The manufacturing price is also a significant factor to consider. Since various firms exist, you can get varying manufacturing prices. If you plan to produce your PCB in a cost-effective way, you can quite easily find affordable, quick-turn PCB manufacturers. However, you shouldn’t just jump into the cheapest deal available. It would help if you still carried out some background checks to ensure that you don’t get low-quality products.
Customization – Circuit boards bear different requirements; that is a well-known fact. With that in mind, you should check on the customization options offered by the manufacturer that you choose.
Various Applications of Quick Turn Print Circuit Boards
Quick Turn PCB assembly has a lot of applications across various industries. Some applications include:
Niche Electronic Designer Applications
Niche electronic designers widely utilize quick Turn PCB assembly. These designers utilize quick turn PCB assembly due to their high-end circuit boards that require quick assembly.
Some manufacturer needs their PCBs to hit the market fast and in high volumes. They hence turn to quick turn PCB assembly to produce their PCBs, which helps them save on time and cost.
Electronic designers develop new ideas pretty fast. However, materializing the idea into a prototype takes time. Therefore, to deliver a prototype fast, the designer turn to quick turn PCB assembly.
Quick Turn Print Circuit Board assembly has, without a doubt, changed the tech industry immensely. The manufacturer can now deliver complex PCBs to clients at an affordable price using this assembly process. What’s more, Quick turn has greatly reduced the turnaround time for the assembly of PCB, giving clients more time to market their products. All these features point to one thing, more profit, and better products. Therefore Quick Turn PCB assembly might just be the future of PCB assembly.