Here's a question we get asked more often than we might otherwise expect: "Why do I need a PCB assembly service?"
Printed Circuit Board assembly is one of the mainstays of consumer electronics today, although that's only been the case for the last 30-40 years. Thanks to the development of surface mount technology and other advanced production techniques, it's now become more simple for most companies to outsource their jobs to a PCB assembly service than to do it in house.
None the less, it's good to review why things have developed this way. So let's take a look at some of the major reasons a manufacturer should look at using PCB assembly services to aid in their production.
The Advantages of a PCB Assembly Service
1. Doing it in-house requires a lot of expensive investments. It used to be that everyone did their own electronics manufacturing, but that requires a huge capital investment in production lines and equipment, not to mention manpower and expertise. For most companies, there's little foreseeable ROI on an investment like that, even looking years down the line.
2. Economies of scale work. Another primary benefit of outsourcing your PCB assembly is that allows you to leverage the investments other companies have made into production technology. A large, dedicated electronics assembly plant will be able to produce more units, more quickly, and at a lower cost than you could with your own facilities.
3. Design services are often part of the deal. While this isn't true of all PCB services, many offer design services to help you refine your designs. Expert PCB manufacturers can often engineer superior solutions and help you produce better products, and more cheaply.
4. True expertise. Most major electronics assembly companies have years or decades of experience in mass-producing electronics. That's expertise that would be incredibly costly if you went looking to a specialist to oversee your own operations, but comes relatively cheap when you go with an outsourced assembly firm.
5. Guaranteed quality control. Another major issue with self-assembly of electronics components is QC. On top of the production facilities, do you have the resources to also check and guarantee the quality of the PCBs that you produce? Top electronics manufacturers have extensive QC procedures and can provide top quality components.
And all this adds up to one key point:
If you don't trust the components, you can't trust the final product.
Any electronics company with any regards for its future has to consider its own reputation to be extremely important. People today can use the Internet to instantly research your company as well as all of your competitors. If you become known for putting out low-quality products, it can become a nearly insurmountable problem.
The best way to have reliable final products is to ensure that reliable components go into their manufacture. Besides improving your own products, this will also aid your engineers as well. After all, if something does go wrong, knowing that all your components were created to top-line specs will make it easier for them to find the actual source of the problem.
So, in short, why do you need a PCB assembly service? For the lower price, for the higher quality, and for the peace of mind that comes with putting out a reliable product. There is simply little reason today to do your own manufacturing in-house, and plenty of reason to look outside your company instead.
What convinced you to hire a PCB assembly service for the first time? Was it worth it?