Cost Cutting Strategies

Improving Quality Is Vital for Cutting Costs in Printed Circuit Board Contract Assembly

With so many manufacturers faced with the prospect of cutting quality to cut costs – we’ve learned that a more quality-oriented alternative isn’t just possible, but more viable and effective in the long-term. It’s important to consider the contract assembly process a critical opportunity to add value and lower costs.

In addition to being low-cost, a company’s printed circuit board assembly (PCBA) must function well—which means that the assembly process must take into account the tolerances of both the board and its included components. A properly designed PCBA helps to improve quality, reduce manufacturing time and lower product cost.

Quality assembly takes every factor into consideration to help eliminate errors and prevent costly delays. Following, you will find the hallmarks of our approach to maximizing quality and savings throughout the contract surface mount assembly process.

  • Identify build standards and assembly documentation early: IPC-A-610 is accepted worldwide as a standard for high-quality, high-reliability PCBA assemblies. Some assemblies may require different workmanship standards as laid down by IPC-A-610.
  • Maximize automation: The more hand assembly you rely on, the greater your costs will be. It’s that simple. There are plenty of automated contract manufacturing companies in the U.S. and abroad that can help you keep costs low.
  • Minimize damage with careful placement: Components should be placed 6.35 mm from the PCB edge. Regarding potential damage during depanelization, parallel to the edge is better.
  • Plan for delicate components: Delicate components, such as ceramic capacitors, are at risk of cracking when they are placed too close to the edge. Manufacturing equipment clamping mechanisms require un-obstructed room to grab the PCB effectively.
  • Component spacing is critical: This is particularly true around ball grid assemblies (BGAs)—.150″ spacing is recommended. This spacing allows enough room for hot air rework tools if upgrades or replacement is required.

Bonus Tip: Good Assembly Documentation is Vital

In addition to all the above steps. High-quality assembly at an efficient price can never come if expectations and specifications aren’t clear. This is where assembly documentation comes in.

  • Specify the Solder Type: To prevent unwanted delays or expenses, assembly documentation should always specify the solder type. Whether it’s tin-lead material or RoHS and Flux, this is the type of essential information that should be readily available.
  • Include labeling and traceability requirements:  Identifying product labeling and traceability requirements on assembly documentation is an extra step that can severely reduce headaches further down the line. The label location should be identified with a box in the silkscreen layer.

Better contract assembly is something Distron takes seriously. Contact us today to learn how. For insight into how we approach efficient and effective contract manufacturing for a wide variety of specifications, visit our case studies page.