The traditional approach to PCB assembly and electronics manufacturing is expensive, slow, error prone, and frankly, intimidating for entrepreneurs and makers. It was designed to support huge orders, with long lead times, not prototypes and small batch runs. Fortunately, new turnkey PCB assembly services are stepping up to meet the needs of today’s hardware designers.
Turnkey PCB assembly is a new type of service that leverages cloud-based software and onshore PCB manufacturing to make developing printed circuit boards fast and hassle free for engineers, entrepreneurs, small businesses and makers. You simply upload your design files and get an instant quote. The manufacturer takes care of the rest.
Some services take turnkey PCB assembly beyond just the boards and offer the services necessary to create your finished products. They will keep an inventory of your parts and assemble the product as needed.
There are a number of reasons that hardware designers are excited by the new opportunities that turnkey PCB assembly presents.
The old fashioned approach to PCB manufacturing was not designed with speed in mind. Designers often had long wait times just to find out how much their order would cost. That is not the case with modern turnkey PCB assembly. Once the design file is uploaded into the vendor’s online portal, you’ll be able to find out how much your order will cost right away.
Instant PCB assembly is facilitated with an online portal that streamlines document management, ordering and tracking. You can log in and see the real-time status of your project, and receive email alerts and notifications as work reaches key milestones.
Producing your first prototype is traditionally a very expensive and slow process. Keeping up with multiple vendors all around the world, slow lead-times, and out-of-stock components becomes a tedious chore. You can now prototype more effectively and efficiently with turnkey PCB assembly. Iterating on your product and getting to market quickly and affordably has never been easier.
Turnkey PCB assembly manufacturers, sometimes called cloud manufacturers or kickstarter manufacturers, have the systems in place to combine many small orders into one large run. Once your design is perfect, your turnkey PCB assembly partner will be happy to produce it in whatever quantity you need. You can keep the same partner as your business grows.
The turnkey approach to printed circuit board manufacturing means that you don’t have to worry about managing multiple vendors. This is especially an advantage if the vendor will be assembling your final product. Frustration, miscommunication, and delays are a thing of the past.
Top-tier rapid PCB manufacturers also offer final product assembly, inventory, and shipping services. You can ship in components and materials, review your inventory, and build complex products, all without ever touching a box or counting a reel. Some vendors even provide an API to integrate with your ERP or e-commerce solution. When a customer places an order, it is shipped directly from the manufacturer without any hassle on your part.
Because this new approach to printed circuit board manufacturing removes the cost and quantity limitations inherent in the legacy system, anyone with a design can bring their new idea to life quickly and affordably. Turnkey PCB assembly is perfect for startups and small businesses that want to bring their products to market without the cost and risk of large inventories. It is also great for Kickstarter creators who may not know if they’ll need only a few boards, or hundreds. Hobbyists and makers also enjoy the speed and flexibility of instant PCB production. Even engineers at large organizations find it to be easier and faster than traditional sources.
With turnkey PCB assembly, the manufacturer takes care of the entire process including PCB fabrication, component procurement, PCB assembly, testing, packaging, and fulfillment. With the right partner, you eliminate the stress of purchasing, storing, and tracking your inventory as well as the delays and complexities built-in to the old fashioned approach. Now you can focus on perfecting your design and let the PCB vendor worry about the rest.
Modern PCB fabrication is a wonderful marriage between online technology and streamlined manufacturing. It makes it possible to get quotes in minutes, prototypes in days, and fully assembled products shipped directly to the customer. With fewer barriers to creation, more innovative and higher quality products get to market faster. That’s a win-win for everyone.