PCB manufacturing involves several stages. It is a time consuming process and if you want to get your PCBs manufactured in a timely fashion, you will have to get started with the screening process well in advance. Let us try to understand the various steps in the PCB manufacturing process.
The first step in the PCB fabrication process is requirements analysis. You will have to review your requirements carefully and create a technical specifications document. It is very crucial that the technical specifications documents include all the required details so that your manufacturer will be able to easily understand your requirements.
The next step is prototype building. Prototyping gives shape to your idea and only when the prototype is successfully built, the product feasibility could be established. Until you are able to create a fully functional PCB prototype, it would not be possible for you to take your concept to production.
Prototype building will involve several rounds of corrections. The first attempt itself will not be a successful attempt. You will have to therefore take into account the time required for all these iterations before you could come up with the final prototype. Every time a prototype is built, it has to be tested fully so that all the bugs in the prototype could be addressed before you go for production.
Once the prototype is fully tested for its functional suitability, then PCBs should be manufactured. The initial round of manufacturing will be done in smaller volumes to test the PCBs in the actual devices. Once this too is tested, the PCBs will be taken to mass production.
The mass produced PCBs should be assembled and all the components in the PCBs should be installed. Either the manufacturer or you should source the PCB components. Sourcing all the components could be a challenging process. At times, you may not find the required selection of PCB components in the required quantities. This could delay the manufacturing process, as you may not be able to proceed with the manufacturing process even if a single component is not available.
Next comes the assembly of the components to the PCB. This could be either done by the same manufacturer or it could be sent to a different company that takes care of PCB assembly needs. The assembled PCBs should be fully tested for issues and only after being tested, it has to be installed in the actual device and tested for operational issues.
None of the steps discussed above could be skipped. All of them are crucial for the successful building of the PCBs. Top brands send their requirements to the most dependable PCB manufacturers. They try to identify companies that offer end to end services. When you have the option to send all aspects of your PCB manufacturing services to a single manufacturer, you should proceed with such a manufacturer. We cannot emphasize here enough about the importance of PCB testing and quality control measures. Always ensure our PCBs are of outstanding quality to build dependable electronic equipment.