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Offline zeqing

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How a PCBA Prototyping& Small Batch Production Runs
« on: September 12, 2017, 02:35:49 PM »
There are huge amounts of makers and hardware startups begun the creation of new hardware products, a simple but challenging work for them is the prototyping and small batch production. That is, making 1pcs ofprototyping board for debugging is really not easy for hardware engineers, there are so much work to do for that include the PCB/components/soldering, etc. After the prototyping passed, it is also not easy for the product manager to set a 100 pcs production, to have a try if the community would be interest on the product.  Traditional factories will not be interest on producing a product with 100 pcs, they want 100K~.  The product manager will need to try to persuade the factory: hey, this product has good furthers, that you will got big orders asthe small batch production confirmed.

Thanks to Shenzhen, the Asia largest electronic markets and the plenty of electronic companies. Now, designers can get a much easier way to prototype the ideas, and produce them with any quantity that they would love to.With this “Smart Prototyping& Small batch Production”,the designers can get the design into a real board in a short lead time and acceptable price, or produce 100 pcs to have a try if they works in the market, with small investment.

« Last Edit: September 12, 2017, 02:45:48 PM by zeqing »
 

Offline zeqing

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Re: How a PCBA Prototyping& Small Batch Production Runs
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2017, 02:40:52 PM »
1. Designer Requests. Designers find one “Smart Prototyping& Smallbatch Production ”vendor in Shenzhen, and send a message to the vendor, in which explanation of what  boards want, what’s the quantity , and the related files:

1.1.) PCB Gerber files and the specs.This files is for the PCB production, using the RS-274x format as it is the most widely used PCBfiles in Shenzhen.  Remember that theDrill file(PCB name.txt ) also needed.PCB spec, include the color/pads finish/thickness/copperweight.   The most popular color isgreen, while some other color such as blue/red/white/yellow/black available,but maybe some extra fee for those un-popular color.  The pads finish can be Hasl/ENIG, or someothers.

1.2.) BOM list.  This is the most import file and often themistakes happen here.  Some tips: ·List the same items in the same row;·Mouser/Digikey parts number would be help toavoid misunderstanding.

1.3.) Parting mappingfile for soldering.  This is not mandatory.distinct silkscreen on the PCB would be also works for hand soldering. If thereis no , or not enough silkscreens, a mapping file is needed.
 

Offline zeqing

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Re: How a PCBA Prototyping& Small Batch Production Runs
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2017, 02:47:01 PM »
2. Vendor Quotes. As receiving the request, the vendor will estimated thetotal product cost. For a PCBA production, the main cost includes:

2.1.)PCB Fee, basedon the PCB spec and production difficulty. Normally, the PCBA vendor will not produce the PCB by themselves, thePCB will be produced by the PCB factory. there are some “express PCB” factoryin Shenzhen, such as the HQ PCB and JLC PCB, that can provide the PCB with low starting fee(Less than 10$)and shortlead time, but the quantity relative lower, just fit for those prototypingproductions and lower spec  requirements.  If the customer needs the PCB quality higher,or the PCB spec is high, for example, 6 layer PCB, the minimum trace interface4 mils, some industry-level PCB factory maybe needed. The starting fee would behigher, and the lead time normally 7~10 days.

2.2.) BOM List Fee. It is indeed there are some PCBA vendors can auto analysis the BOM list, if thecustomer provide standard BOM list with Mouser/Digikey code or vendor internalcodes for all the components, but the disadvantage is obvious:  it needs the customer provides all the partsnumbers, but it is time-cost for customer to do this when a simple componentsneeded such as a 1uf 0603 resistor, and also the price will be high, as thesystem will fetch price from Mouser/Digikey directly.  Actually in Shenzhen, for some components, muchlower price than Digikey/Mouser is available.  A more ensured, but low efficiency way is reviewing the BOM list by human. For some IC, the Shenzhenprice would be much lower than that of Mouser/Digikey, that a more completiveprice can be given to the designer.

2.3.) Soldering&Assembly Fee. Soldering and some other works such as programming andtesting. In Shenzhen, there are plenty of the soldering factory dedicated on this,but the starting fee is high for prototyping or small batch, as actually thereare lot of works to start the production. The special prototyping &smallbatch production vendors organize all the small productions together and makethis kind of production “Smart”, with lower cost and shorter lead time.

2.4.) Shipping  Fee.  In Shenzhen, the DHL/Fedex/UPS are allavailable with completive price. Besides, as Shenzhen not far from HongKong,some company use the shipping service in HongKong, with even more lowershipping cost.
 

Offline zeqing

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Re: How a PCBA Prototyping& Small Batch Production Runs
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2017, 04:08:06 PM »
3. Negotiating and Customer Paying. After negotiating, the designer pay the money. It is more safe to use the PayPal for the buyers, as the PayPal would be a good 3-rd party to ensure the money is safe.  The disadvantage the PayPal charges about 3.5%~4%, so for larger transaction and trusty parter, some other payment method is also popular used such as the wire transfer.
 

Offline zeqing

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Re: How a PCBA Prototyping& Small Batch Production Runs
« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2017, 04:10:11 PM »
4. Production Start. It is really not a simple work to explain this process, very rough steps:

4.1.) Engineering: need to firstly check how the PCB productionand panelizing, and how the boards will be soldered, and if there is anyspecial requests, how the boards testing…. That is, a detailed production guideis needed to control the whole production.

4.2.) Start the PCB production, normally 3~5 days for prototyping and 5~8 days for small batch production, based on the PCB spec andquantity.

4.3.) Preparing the components.  This is the most important step in the whole production that absolutely unlike the traditional mass production.  In mass production, all the components isstable, the related sourcing man can check again and again the price, the certifications, slowly. But in the prototyping &small batch production,this must be done quickly, it needs really experienced components engineers,and stable& reliable vendors, to provide these components with low volume  and completive price, and of course the most important, ensured quality. This is not a work for one day, need a long time to find& cooperate the most proper vendors.

 4.4.) Soldering& Assembly. The vendor may solder all the PCB themselves or find some other “bare solderingfactory” to help, with human soldering or pick-n-place machine.  This is really a long story, that we will discuss in a separate article later.

4.5.) Washing and visual checking.  Wash the boards to keep them good looking, and check if there is anything wrong. This step needs experienced QC workers for this. If there is functional checking request, do them here.

4.6.) Repairing.  It is almost impossible to ensure 100% pass rate in the production.  If 100 pcs were produced, it is a good production if 95 pcs passed. An experienced soldering man needed here to repairthe failed boards.

4.7.) Packaging .  For international shipping, it is important to package all the boards safety.  Remember the package will be thrown back andforth by the DHL workers, it is better to ensure all the boards in safe withgood package.
 

Offline zeqing

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Re: How a PCBA Prototyping& Small Batch Production Runs
« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2017, 04:13:12 PM »
5. Ship the package to customer, and track the shipment until the package arrived to the buyer.  This is not the end, get the feedback of the buyer and if any mistakes happened, analyze the reason and take the related responsibility! the buyers‘’ satisfaction is the only target for all works.
 

Online ataradov

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Re: How a PCBA Prototyping& Small Batch Production Runs
« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2017, 04:23:56 PM »
Why is this spam here?
Alex
 

Offline zeqing

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Re: How a PCBA Prototyping& Small Batch Production Runs
« Reply #7 on: September 12, 2017, 04:31:05 PM »
Why is this spam here?

a rough illustration about this kind of production as my experence, without any recommendation, if the Administrators think this spam, i am willing to remove this...
later will write some big mistakes that may happen in the communication/production for this small batch PCBA production.
 

Online IconicPCB

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Re: How a PCBA Prototyping& Small Batch Production Runs
« Reply #8 on: September 12, 2017, 09:58:16 PM »
This is the kind of service Iconic PCB provides out of Brisbane with the added advantage of IP remaining within Australian jurisdiction.
 

Online JPortici

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Re: How a PCBA Prototyping& Small Batch Production Runs
« Reply #9 on: September 13, 2017, 03:52:48 PM »
Traditional factories will not be interest on producing a product with 100 pcs, they want 100K~.

this is simply not true. There are many services in europe that will do small runs and as soon as you do something bigger / more complex that your traditional 5x5 cm max double sided board with a handful of components... it won't even cost you that much more than the chinese.
companies that do not accept small orders are companies who don't need new clients, good for them.

+1 for spam
 


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