The electronics industry is highly competitive. Companies are keen on taking their products to the market faster than their competitors. Everyone wants to be the first to introduce innovative features and designs. No one can afford to slow down with trends shifting quickly every year. It is a long process that includes the development of the system’s block diagram, selection of critical components, design of the circuit schematic, design of the PCB, independent review, PCB manufacturing, firmware development, and debugging.
How Long Does It Take to Manufacture a PCB?
Professional PCB manufacturing requires sophisticated machinery. To cut costs, companies usually outsource this process to specialists. Selecting a fast and reliable manufacturer is vital in ensuring adherence to internal schedules. The time it takes to make a printed circuit board depends on several factors. The standard is 7-20 business days for a rigid PCB. However, some manufacturers can drop this down to 1-5 days, depending on the design complexity. For example, some can complete the task within 24 hours for up to 8 layers. It can take 3 days for up to 26 layers and 5 days for anything greater. Realistic expectations must be set from the beginning.
Factors that Affect Turnaround Times
1. Order Quantity
Small orders are easier to process than large orders. However, some manufacturers impose a minimum order quantity for their customers. Be sure to check whether you dealing with a PCB maker than suits your needs. There are those that specialize in low to medium volume orders while others are focused on enterprise-level clients.
2. Overall Volume
All orders go through the same machines and are attended by the same engineers. If the manufacturer is swamped with requests, then it could mean significant delays for those further down in the queue. It is a good idea to check through chat or email. Don’t just depend on the published turnaround times since conditions can change.
The complexity of the design will drastically affect the turnaround time of the manufacturing. The number of layers is just one of the considerations. The greater the automation, the faster it will go. If multiple manual interventions are necessary, then the process will drag on longer.
Some factors are beyond the control of both the customer and the manufacturer. For example, there may be a shortage of raw materials or a supply chain problem. If the manufacturer can’t get the parts they need, then they will need to shelve the project until they do. They may look for alternative sources and coordinate with the customer regarding projected timelines.
When selecting a PCB manufacturer, like avanticircuits.com, don’t just compare their rates. Check their published turnaround times and see which ones can deliver faster. If you have special needs, then find those that can provide them. Of course, you also have to confirm whether they are true to their promises by looking for customer reviews and asking other industry players. Find the most reputable companies out there and develop a long-term partnership.