How to order Quick Turn PCB Fabrication & Assembly

What is Quick Turn PCB Assembly?

Quick turn PCB assembly refers to the rapid fabrication and assembly of printed circuit boards (PCBs) within a short timeframe, usually ranging from 24 hours to 5 business days. This service is essential for businesses and individuals who require fast prototyping or small-batch production of PCBs to meet tight deadlines or bring their products to market quickly.

Benefits of Quick Turn PCB Assembly

  1. Faster time-to-market
  2. Reduced development costs
  3. Improved flexibility in design iterations
  4. Ability to test and validate designs quickly

Factors to Consider When Ordering Quick Turn PCB Assembly

1. PCB Design Complexity

The complexity of your PCB design can impact the turnaround time and cost of quick turn assembly. More complex designs with high component density, fine pitch components, or multilayer boards may require additional processing time and specialized equipment.

PCB Complexity Classifications

Complexity Level Description
Simple Single-layer or double-layer boards with low component density and standard component sizes
Moderate Multilayer boards (4-8 layers) with moderate component density and some fine pitch components
Complex High-density multilayer boards (8+ layers) with fine pitch components, BGA packages, and tight tolerances

2. Material Selection

The choice of PCB substrate material can affect the performance, reliability, and cost of your assembled boards. Common materials include:

  • FR-4: Standard glass-reinforced epoxy laminate, suitable for most applications
  • High-Tg FR-4: Improved thermal stability for high-temperature environments
  • Isola 370HR: High-performance material with low loss and high thermal reliability
  • Rogers: High-frequency and low-loss materials for RF and microwave applications

3. Surface Finish

The surface finish of your PCB can impact solderability, shelf life, and overall assembly quality. Popular surface finishes for quick turn PCB assembly include:

  • HASL (Hot Air Solder Leveling): Economical and widely available, but may have limitations for fine pitch components
  • ENIG (Electroless Nickel Immersion Gold): Flat surface finish with excellent solderability and shelf life, suitable for most applications
  • Immersion Silver: Cost-effective alternative to ENIG with good solderability, but shorter shelf life

4. Assembly Options

Quick turn PCB assembly providers offer various assembly options to cater to different requirements:

  • Turnkey Assembly: The provider handles the entire process from PCB fabrication to component sourcing and assembly
  • PCB Fabrication Only: The provider manufactures the bare PCBs, and the customer handles the assembly separately
  • Assembly Only: The customer supplies the bare PCBs, and the provider performs the component assembly

Process of Ordering Quick Turn PCB Assembly

  1. Design and verify your PCB layout using EDA software (e.g., Altium Designer, KiCad, Eagle)
  2. Generate and review manufacturing files (Gerber, drill, BOM, and assembly files)
  3. Select a quick turn PCB assembly provider and request a quote
  4. Provide the necessary files and specifications to the provider
  5. Review and approve the quote, and place the order
  6. Monitor the progress of your order and communicate with the provider for updates
  7. Receive and inspect the assembled PCBs upon delivery

Choosing a Quick Turn PCB Assembly Provider

When selecting a provider for your quick turn PCB assembly needs, consider the following factors:

  1. Turnaround time and on-time delivery record
  2. Quality control processes and certifications (e.g., ISO 9001, IPC-A-610)
  3. Technical capabilities and equipment
  4. Experience with similar projects and designs
  5. Customer support and communication
  6. Pricing and volume discounts
  7. Domestic vs. offshore manufacturing options

Some popular quick turn PCB assembly providers include:

  • PCBWay
  • Advanced Circuits
  • Sierra Circuits
  • Sunstone Circuits
  • Bittele Electronics

Tips for Successful Quick Turn PCB Assembly

  1. Ensure your design is optimized for manufacturability (DFM) to minimize potential issues and delays
  2. Communicate clearly with your provider regarding your requirements, specifications, and deadlines
  3. Provide accurate and complete manufacturing files to avoid delays and misunderstandings
  4. Consider panelizing your design to reduce manufacturing time and cost
  5. Plan ahead and allow for potential delays or issues in the manufacturing process
  6. Thoroughly inspect and test the assembled PCBs upon receipt to identify any quality issues

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What is the typical turnaround time for quick turn PCB assembly?

Turnaround times for quick turn PCB assembly can range from 24 hours to 5 business days, depending on the complexity of the design, the provider’s capabilities, and the current workload. Some providers offer expedited services for an additional fee to meet even tighter deadlines.

2. How much does quick turn pcb assembly cost?

The cost of quick turn PCB assembly varies based on factors such as the size and complexity of the board, the number of layers, the quantity ordered, and the specific services required (e.g., component sourcing, testing). Quick turn services generally come at a premium compared to standard lead times, but the exact pricing depends on the provider and the project specifications.

3. What files are needed to order quick turn PCB assembly?

To order quick turn PCB assembly, you typically need to provide the following files:

  • Gerber files: The industry-standard format for PCB design data, including copper layers, solder mask, and silkscreen
  • Drill files: Specifies the location, size, and type of holes to be drilled in the PCB
  • Bill of Materials (BOM): A list of all components used in the design, including part numbers, quantities, and descriptions
  • Assembly files: Includes centroid data (component placement) and assembly drawings to guide the assembly process

4. Can I order quick turn PCB assembly for prototypes and small batches?

Yes, quick turn PCB assembly is well-suited for prototyping and small-batch production. Many providers offer low minimum order quantities (MOQs) and flexible pricing options to accommodate these needs. Quick turn services enable faster design iterations and validation, making them ideal for prototyping and testing new products.

5. How can I ensure the quality of my quick turn PCB assembly?

To ensure the quality of your quick turn PCB assembly, follow these best practices:

  1. Choose a reputable provider with a proven track record of quality and reliability
  2. Communicate your quality requirements and expectations clearly with the provider
  3. Design your PCB with manufacturability in mind, adhering to DFM guidelines
  4. Provide accurate and complete manufacturing files to minimize the risk of errors
  5. Request inspection reports and test results from the provider to verify the quality of the assembled boards
  6. Perform your own inspection and testing upon receiving the assembled PCBs to identify any potential issues

By following these guidelines and working closely with your chosen quick turn PCB assembly provider, you can successfully order and receive high-quality assembled PCBs within short lead times to accelerate your product development and time-to-market.