Can you realistically cut the costs of your prototype PCB service? Although it depends on the specific types of services and products that your prototype assembly company is providing, there are likely areas that can cut costs for your business. There is no question that the prototype PCB services are a necessary part of your business, so the goal is in cutting down the manufacturing and production costs instead.
Regularly review your PCB assembly quote
It is possible that your PCB assembly quote has changed since you first signed the original contract. This is because the industry is constantly changing. Upgrades to the PCB prototypes and increases in manufacturing processes and costs can also mean higher costs for the business. In 1995, a little over 50 years after the introduction of PCBs, they became a $7.1 billion industry for the first time. Just 5 years later in 2000, they became an over $10 billion industry, and since 2012 have reached over $60 billion worldwide. With the rapid growth of the industry, it is possible that you will also see increases in your production costs.
Do not be afraid to shop around
Even if you have been with your prototype PCB service for many years and are satisfied with the services, do not be afraid to shop around. Just because they are providing you with a satisfactory service does not mean that they are pricing you correctly. Shopping around lets you see what the industry average is and gives you price bargaining capabilities. If you receive multiple quotes from other prototype PCB services that are much lower, for example, bring them to your current prototype PCB service to negotiate a better price.
Do not sacrifice quality or speed for lower cost
However with that said, it is important that you do not sacrifice either quality or speed for a lower cost. If multiple PCB services are much lower than your current servicer, it may simply be a price issue. However, if only a couple of manufacturing plants are much lower in price, they may not be able to provide you with the same level of quality or speed as your current servicer. Always take these factors into account.
Evaluate your providers advances
It is also important to regularly evaluate whether or not your current prototype PCB service is keeping up with industry advances. For example, the advent of machine assembly for any size orders means that shops can assembly PCBs in a fraction of the time it would normally take for hand placement. In fact, some PCB assemblers have a standard turn around time of 5 days or less, which is 75% faster than the industry average. Ensure that your current provider is not stuck in antiquated manufacturing practices, serving you with low volume PCB assembly and slow manufacturing times. In today?s technological times, you should have a quick turn PCB assembly rate, even for low volume PCB assembly.
Safety regulations and habits
Is your current prototype PCB service keeping up with industry standards and safety protocols? Not only are these safety protocols important for their employees on the manufacturing line, but they could also affect the quality of your product. Even a small batch PCB can be ruined with things like poor temperature quality control. Temperature curve plays a critical role in determining soldering quality. Prior to 160 degrees Celsius, temperature rising rate should be controlled at 1 to 2 degrees Celsius. If temperature rises too quickly, on one hand, components and PCB tend to suffer heat too quickly, which tends to destroy components, leading to deformation of PCB. Make sure your prototype PCB service is using appropriate cooling techniques.
Do not get too comfortable with your prototype PCB service. The PCB manufacturing industry is constantly changing, increasing turn around speeds and industry regulations. You can cut down your PCB service costs by ensuring that these new quicker turn around speeds are being implemented into your process. Also, regularly check what other PCB servicers are charging to get a better idea of the going rate. Remember to also check for safety features to protect your products.