As a company, you may need to choose a printed PCB circuit board design and a designer as well. You will be spoilt for choice as there are so many companies in the market. This does not mean all of them are good. One wrong move could prove disastrous and cost you a lot. There are some few factors that you need to consider before settling on a board designer.
The Quality of Standards and Certifications
Any PCB manufacturer should have proof of compliance with ISO, IPC, and UL quality standards. If it is a requirement, they should also be ITAR compliant. Make sure that the designer you choose is actively involved in checking whether the PCB manufacturers also comply with the needed standards.
Cost is definitely something you should consider while choosing a board designer. Scout for a PCB supplier who is in a position to do low volume production charges minimum lot charges and high volume pricing. Most suppliers that are overseas will mostly ask for you to pay upfront, which may be a blow to your monthly budget. It is best to look for one that is within the country if possible.
Make sure that the supplier you settle on has the relevant conformance certificates. That is a sign that they pay attention to detail and it will be translated to doing a good job with your board design. They have to have a system of document controls, and you should confirm that with every shipment, there is a certificate of conformance.
Their Technical skills
Your project may be one that requires specialized board manufacturing. Make sure the designer you settle for has the expertise and the manpower to handle it. Check that they have the engineers and technicians qualified enough to manufacture your board down to your required specifications. The more complicated your design is, the more need to make sure their technical skills are on point. Ask for proof of their competency, any small mistake or wrong choice of the designer may sink your company and cause untold losses that you may not be able to recover from.
Logistics and Customs
You have to carefully consider where your PCB board designer will be located. It is best if the supplier was in the US. This is mostly due to:
- The ease of communication
- The quality of standards is at par with US specifications
- US customs bonds in the case of imports apply
- Payment is much easier when dealing with a US company
Customer care and communication skills
Customer care and communication are vital in any business. The board designer’s style of communication is very important. The initial communication should feel comfortable and you should be able to discuss any technical issues with the design team. You should choose a company that already has a track record of excellent communication and a proven record of customer satisfaction. The communication should be in an easy style, taking into consideration that not all their customers know the technical lingo. Any questions asked should be promptly and clearly answered.