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10 Questions to Ask When Choosing a PCB Manufacturer

First, you discover and understand how to solve problems and propose solutions in the form of electronic devices. It took months or even years to figure out what the blueprint looks like.

After that, you did everything necessary to create a prototype printed circuit board or microchip that allows this electronic device to function.

However, you don't have a factory, of course, you don't have the money or resources to hand over this electronic device to millions of people around the world.

It is where choosing a PCB manufacturer comes in.

There are thousands, probably tens of thousands of PCB manufacturers in existence, and choosing one can be a complicated process. This guide will show you how to ask the right questions so that you can make the right choice when it comes to a PCB manufacturer.


1、What Is The Goal Of Your Electronic Device?


Think of all the electronic devices that have been invented and created across time. Then think of the people who invented and designed these devices.

One common thread among all these people is that they all had a goal for their inventions and wanted their inventions to solve specific problems.

They all asked themselves: What are my goals for this new invention of mine? What do I want to do with it?


Image 1: PCB Manufacturer


It is something that you need to determine and consider before choosing a PCB manufacturer. If you can determine what the goal of your electronic device is, you'll be able to narrow down your choices of PCB manufacturers, choosing only the ones who can relate to your goals as they pertain to your electronic device.

Another reason why you need to determine the goal for your electronic device is that if you have a goal for the device, you'll have a better idea of who the device can help, but also how it should be manufactured.

Knowing the audience of your electronic device will narrow down your choices of manufacturers even further. The importance of knowing this audience will be explored later.


2、How Can a PCB Manufacturer Achieve the Goal of Your Electronic Device?


PCB manufacturers play a lot of roles when it comes to producing the electronic device you have designed. In order to get the most out of a PCB manufacturer, it is necessary to compare the goals you have for your electronic device and see if they match up to PCB manufacturers.

No matter what the device is, PCB manufacturers generally do the following things.

First, they mass produce the electronic device, as well as the circuit boards that allow these devices to function.

Next, they contact and network with distributors to see what kinds of sellers get the electronic devices.

The last thing they do is test the electronic devices that they plan to produce and distribute.

Those are the three main things that PCB manufacturers do. The real questions lie in how they do these three things, which often entail a lot more processes. It is why you need to make it very clear about what the goal of your electronic device is, this way you can find out which manufacturer can help you achieve those goals. The way manufacturers produce, distribute, and test their devices will tell you if your goals are the same.


PCB ManufacturerImage 2: PCB Manufacturer


3、Five Quick Questions You Should Have in Mind When Choosing a PCB Manufacturer


Aside from having specific goals for your electronic device and looking for manufacturers with similar goals, you should also have some other questions in mind when it comes to choosing a manufacturer.

Although some of these questions can pertain to the goals of your electronic device, a lot of them will pertain to the more technical aspects of how you want your electronic device manufactured, produced, and distributed.

A lot of things go into PCB manufacturing. Because it is a market all its own, there are all kinds of questions that should be asked when it comes to PCB manufacturing. Five of these will be covered here, and they will relate to the goals of your electronic device as much as possible.


PCB ManufacturerImage 3: PCB Manufacturer


3.1 Will this manufacturer follow your requirements?


This question needs to be asked especially if you already have an idea of how to produce your electronic device on a large scale. It is one of the first things to consider when it comes to selecting a PCB manufacturer because if you have detailed fabrication notes, some manufacturers may not have the resources to follow your fabrication notes.

If your device is not very complicated in its fabrication, then it is a better idea to select a manufacturer that has cheaper vendors.


3.2 Does the manufacturer have an established track record?


The issues surrounding this question are twofold. First, you can select a manufacturer with an established track record to make sure that your electronic device is produced perfectly.

The other issue is one that involves taking a risk. Again, this goes back to the goal of your electronic device. If you are willing to take a chance on a newer manufacturer, it could lead to an opportunity to be a pioneer of sorts in the electronics world. It is how a lot of founders of major electronics brands gained significance.

It is your prerogative and is again related to your idea and the kind of problems you know that your electronic device can solve. If you are confident enough that the device that you have designed will be a major hit, it may be a good idea to take a chance on a manufacturer that is not very experienced, this way both yourself and the manufacturing firm can gain notoriety at the same time.


3.3 What kind of materials are best for your device, and how do they compare to the materials that the manufacturer uses?


Because different manufacturers use different kinds of materials to produce PCBs, this is another important question to ask. While most PCBs are created from the same pool of materials, the quality of these materials certainly affects how efficient your device is.


3.4 Does the manufacturer have experience in producing devices similar to yours?


It is related to the question about track record, but it is also different. A manufacturer could have a very established track record, but they may also have minimal experience in producing devices that come from your blueprint.


3.5 How accessible is the manufacturer?


One concern that a lot of electronics inventors have when it comes to selecting a manufacturer is that once they hand their blueprints and instructions over to manufacturers, the manufacturers will suddenly take all the credit for what the creator has done. This fear is genuine and does affect some electronics inventors, especially if they cannot afford a patent.

It is why it is important to know how accessible the manufacturer is about you. While it is not necessary for them to be available all the time, you should be able to contact them and work with them in some aspect.


4、 What is the Market for Your Electronic Device?


PCB ManufacturerImage 4: PCB Manufacturer


Along with knowing what you want your electronic device to achieve, or what kind of problem you know that it will solve, you must also know who your device will help the most. Asking yourself this question will lead to constructive questions you can come up with when finding a manufacturer.

While this may take a long time and some creativity, it is necessary to know this to know what you can get out of a PCB manufacturer. Because manufacturers are also distributors and marketers, it is their job to not only mass produce PCBs and the electronics that they are installed into, but it is also their job to know the kind of market for these electronics.

Determining the market for your electronic device should be closely related to the goal of your electronic device. Coming up with a solution via your electronic device often reveals what the market should be.

It is how electronics related to fitness became popular. Somebody came up with something that could measure a person’s heart rate, how many steps they have taken, and other figures that a person who would find useful when exercising, and they know who they can sell to.

Then they found a manufacturer who supported both their idea as well as their market, which allowed the device to be mass produced and distributed to proper consumers.

Knowing your market and how it relates to their idea behind the blueprint behind your electronic device will make your search for a manufacturer much easier.


5、 Five More Quick Questions You Should Have in Mind When Choosing a PCB Manufacturer


Knowing the market for the device you have designed is an excellent idea. Just like some questions pertain to the idea behind your device, there are also questions that pertain to the marketing behind your device.

The following questions are related to the marketing behind your device. Because PCB manufacturers are also responsible for marketing and distribution, these questions will focus on those subjects.


5.1 What is the manufacturer’s testing procedure?


PCB manufacturers are responsible for a lot of things in regards to electronics, and if your target market for your inventions is large enough, it will be necessary for testing to be very prioritized. It is especially true if your device is designed to do something specific.

Knowing the manufacturer’s testing procedure and all of the details that the testing procedures entail will also give you peace of mind. It is never a good thing to represent a device that has not been tested thoroughly.


5.2 What kind of turnaround time are you expecting when it comes to production?


The importance of this question is related to whether or not you want your idea to make money, and the urgency you want to sell your invention to the public. A good rule of thumb is that the shorter the turnaround time, the more money the manufacturer will expect from sales.

A good way to approach this question is to think in the long term. Newer designers will have a problem with this, as they will want their creation to be produced and distributed as soon as possible. If this is something you want, you should be prepared to spend a lot of money compensating manufacturers.


5.3 What kind of production capacity is possible with this manufacturer?


It is an important question that also directly pertains to the target marketing of your invention. It is why you need to determine what your target market should be. When you have determined your target market, it will then be much easier to determine the production capacity that you desire from a PCB manufacturer.


5.4 Will the manufacturer assist you with marketing?


Marketing, especially when it comes to physical products, can be a very tedious task. When done on one’s own, it can take months or even years to come up with effective marketing strategies for any product.

Electronics are not exempt from this, and if you are a designer who does not have a marketing team or who do not have the capital to spend on marketing, you will want all the help you can get.

Unless you are willing to do the marketing for your invention on your own or have your marketing team, you will probably want your manufacturer to assist you with marketing. Before choosing a PCB manufacturer, you need to determine one thing.


5.5 How much money are you willing to spend?


The final question is perhaps the most important. And although it does not pertain to marketing, how you answer this question can certainly determine how much you can spend on marketing if you are doing the marketing yourself.

The services of PCB manufacturers are not cheap, and knowing what your budget is compared against what a manufacturer will charge is necessary.

A lot of research will go into this, but it is worth it. Not taking the time into doing this research and selecting the biggest manufacturers or the most well-known ones will come at the expense of your budget.

While these questions can undoubtedly help assist in your search for a PCB manufacturer, there is one question that you should ask yourself that will help the most in deciding on a PCB manufacturer.


6、 How do You Want to Remember Your Electronic Device?


Everyone wants to remember something, and this is even truer when it comes to anybody who has developed a device who they know can help people.

It is the one question that you should ask yourself and only yourself. And if you have any stake in your designs, you should ask yourself this question many times.

Why is this a question that you should ask yourself? Why is this the one question that will help you make a final decision on a PCB manufacturer?

Because it is the one question that will make all the other questions a lot more relevant and a lot more meaningful, you should never forget that the device that you have designed is your creation. Once you understand this, it will make your search for a PCB manufacturer much more significant and much more manageable.


7、 Conclusion



Ourpcb is an excellent Chinese manufacturer, and we strive to provide our customers with convenient and high quality PCB manufacturing and assembly.

Contact us to get in touch with an advisor who will be able to show you how to be more organized in your electronics manufacturing projects.