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Low Volume PCB Assembly

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Low Volume PCB assembly

Quite often, a project will call for a smaller quantity of PCB boards to be assembled than the standard order. Unfortunately, PCB assembly through low-volume factories can often be difficult to find, as most providers are simply unequipped for these low-volume PCB assembly jobs. That’s why, at Venture Electronics, we have developed a solution for those that need smaller orders of printed circuit boards for demos, prototypes, proof of concept designs and more.

A. Small-volume PCB Assembly Detailed Guide

You may or may not encounter a situation where your task requires the use of PCBs or printed circuit boards, but not an extensive range. Well, if there is a problem, there is a solution. Minor batch PCB assembly is the ultimate savior. It optimizes the integrity of the PCB and is very cost-effective.

Want to explore more? Don’t worry! Please browse the following articles to explore the world of knowledge about Small Volume PCB Assembly, its benefits, types of services, prototyping options, etc.


B. What Is Low Volume PCB Assembly?

Low volume PCB assembly for mounting components on relatively small quantities of a bare board with definite flexibility is your custom solution! A low-cost PCB prototype is necessary if you consider launching a new product. After all, you don’t want to be in a position to make mistakes after high-volume production. Alternatively, you may be a low-volume PCB producer and need to produce low-volume (small batch quantity) PCBs quickly and economically without sacrificing quality. These are some reasons you need a partner specializing in low-volume (small volume) PCB assembly, where they can reliably assemble small-volume printed circuit boards.


C. Advantages Of Small Volume PCB Assembly

Before exploring anything, you must understand certain advantages of particular aspects so far. Minor batch PCB assembly is indeed no exception. So, without wasting any more time, let’s analyze the benefits of low-volume PCB assembly as follows:

It has feasible layout modifications before making excess gains. You can easily find any problems in the first stage through this process. However, it is always advantageous to correct a controversial board instead of making a bunch of defective PCBs.

Rigorous inspection. There is nothing better than precisely checking the board to meet the customer’s requirements. As a result, you may not find a better alternative to low-volume PCB assembly.

Ensure standards. Who doesn’t want a flawless, durable, high-quality PCB? Choose a low-volume PCB assembly that ensures the criterion of each board, and you’ll achieve that goal.

Cost-effective. Technicians will enhance the trustworthiness of the board due to the small number of PCBs prepared together earlier. Manufacturers can build only more boards once they properly experiment with the efficiency of a single panel. In this way, customers will understand that they are paying money for durable boards.


D. Types Of Our Low Volume PCB Assembly

Types of small-lot PCB assembly services:

Design for Manufacturing or DFM

Generally, DFM assists in performing completeness checks of engineering papers, including equipment lists, circuit diagrams, assembly catalogs, Gerber lists, etc. In this way, we review certifications, and we do not have to face further manufacturing uncertainty. That goes a long way in eliminating omissions and improving back-tracking time.

Design for Test or DFT

As enthusiastic customers are encouraged to have test points in their PCBs, these services help them understand the process better. In short, DFT includes features such as checking regulations, diagnostic pedagogy, and illustrating problems. However, many PCBA customs need their customers to whom they want to deliver Gerber records and bills of materials or BOM.

Prove your design with a small batch of PCBAs

A decent printed circuit board layout requires an ethical start to all PCB improvements. You must be familiar with several possibilities to determine your PCB plan skilfully. That is not only for assembly purposes but also shows how flexible and wise your verdict is to apply the particles.


E. Venture Small-lot PCB Assembly Process Flow

Sending quotes(including Gerber, bom, pickup place document)  =>  place formal order and pay   =>  components sourcing  =>  IQC Inspection  =>  100% Automatic SMT by Machine   =>   First Article Inspection System  => 100% AOI Inspection => DIP => Automatic Selective Wave Soldering => Appearance Inspection => QA Inspection => Test => Package and shipping.


F. Ensuring The Technology Used For Small-lot PCBs

Minimize the number of layers

It is a fundamental technique to employ when reducing the costs associated with PCB assembly. That requires a reduction in the number of layers. By doing so, the cost of components and materials will decrease.

Careful arrangement

When assembling PCBs, manufacturers must take care when arranging the number of vias. Doing so will eliminate or reduce errors, thus reducing costs.

Proper sizing

When sizing and planning essential details such as rings and holes, you must be extra careful. We mean by that that it must be kept perfect. As long as you keep the board’s dimensions to a minimum, it would be best to avoid mistakes.

Preventing internal cutouts

Prevent internal cutouts in printed circuit boards. That will help to get rid of the cost of fixing internal cutouts. With this, you can save the cost of materials for internal wiring and the cost of through-hole drilling.

Selecting the most suitable through-hole

It is essential to choose the most suitable through-hole that will not cause any trouble in the assembly process of the PCB. For this reason, you may have to purchase the through-hole at a higher price, but it will save you a lot of money in the long run.

Stick with the basic options

Always stick to the basics of PCB assembly and don’t take any chances with custom designs. Keep the PCB in its standard shape, and don’t experiment with PCBs with unusual forms.

Maintain industry standards

Ensure that standard requirements are maintained and do not venture into the unknown. In this case, utilize only the correct standard components and dimensions and choose the right surface finish.


G. The Application Of Conformal Coating In Low Volume PCB Assembly

Initially, manufacturers used the conformal coating only for printed circuit boards in high-tech fields. As users use electronic devices more and more widely in daily life, consumers are also increasingly concerned about the quality and reliability of the products. The use of standard lamination allows manufacturers to effectively improve product quality and reduce the cost of expensive warranty failures.

    1. Navigation; Both fresh water and saltwater can be harmful to the electrical wiring of marine equipment. The use of conformal coating can maximize the protection of equipment on the water’s surface and even submerged and underwaters, such as navigation and radar control systems.
    2. For civil and commercial applications, the conformal coating can protect electronic circuits in household appliances to resist: such as water, moisture, insects, and office and household harmful substances, such as Soybean milk machines, coffee machines, induction cookers, dryers, dishwashers, air conditioners, computers, bathroom electronics, electric car, etc.
    3. Aerospace; Manufacturers use the conformal coating in aerospace due to the unique nature of the environment, aviation, and aerospace on the strict electronic equipment requirements. Primarily in the rapid pressurization and depressurization conditions, but still to maintain good circuit performance. Therefore, conformal coating stability is widely used such as satellite systems, military control systems, and flight line control systems.
    4. The automotive industry; requires conformal coating to protect the circuit from the following kinds of hazards: gasoline evaporates, salt spray, brake fluid, etc. The application of electronic systems in automobiles continues to overgrow, so the use of conformal coating has become an essential requirement to ensure the long-term reliability of automotive electronics. Examples of these automotive electronics are computer control systems, air conditioning, and automotive electronics.

Conformal coating is generally used in the PCB small-batch proofing and plug-in processing. Quality control and other processing links are over. In the circuit board for coating, the specific protection effect depends on the materials and processes used. In the actual electronic processing, if you want to improve the insulation level and corrosion resistance of the surface of the circuit board, you can generally use the process of spraying once directly on the surface of the PCBA without washing. If you require it for adequate “three-proof” protection, it must be strictly according to the electronic processing plant on the conformal coating process.


H. About The Test Of Small Batch PCB Assembly

We always hear online tests during the General SMT small-batch SMD processing plant production process, so what does it mean? The online test is the SMT placement processing. DIP plug-in processing has been completed circuit board according to the electrical connection of the test point plus the upper computer software or collected data, etc. To test whether our production of this board is in line with the initial design requirements of a functional, and finally determine whether the processing is a qualified process.

Online test equipment for a set of online circuit board PBBA automatic test machines, the equipment for SMT back-end is also after the tin furnace automated testing equipment. When the tin furnace is out of the manual carrier off, the PCB board is into the splicing table line body, PCB board is automatically transported to this equipment for testing. FCT is mainly to detect whether there is a short circuit in the circuit board and capacitance-voltage impaired function. Bad FCT catches whether there is a short circuit in the circuit board, capacitance, voltage, etc. Deficient products will be automatically alarmed during the test. The test needle control board is in the top part of the conveyor belt, and each control needle touches the tin point in the PCB board for the energized test. This equipment is highly versatile, and technicians can apply it to the test PCB. It can help technicians can realize online and offline work.

Our test mainly contains but is not limited to the following:

  1. Full-function test: Professionals consider the full-function test in SMT processing a more advanced test to simulate the detection of more than 80% of the core functions of the product. This test requires using the upper computer to customize the imitation of the user operation to detect the various parts of the product.
  2. Burn MCU program: after input and output testing, when technicians burn the MCU program on the board, the user performs actions (such as long-press the switch for 3 seconds), and the MCU will issue a logic command to control the circuit switch, to achieve the design requirements. In this case, the online test can detect whether this action input and output are standard.
  3. The voltage and current are in line with the design requirements. Generally speaking, the SMT small-batch SMD processing plant of each circuit board after the power will have a variety of voltage differences, current conduction, and other data. And design engineers will set aside some test points. With these test points and ICT or FCT for connection, you can detect the board’s voltage and current data.


I. How Do Venture Electronics Control The Quality Of Low Volume PCB Assembly?

All bare printed circuit boards are 100% electronically tested.

A few trial PCB assemblies are sent to you for testing before the primary production.

After passing all tests, we proceed to the primary production with your approval.

Increase the frequency of visual inspection of all major products.

Perform AOI inspection on all major products.

Perform X-ray inspection of samples to check the assembly quality of BGA and other complex packages.

If we find any assembly problems, our experienced engineers can fix them before shipment.

Our consideration of cost reduction for small lot PCB assembly orders is the same as yours. We will waive NRE and stencil charges for repeat orders from the last shipment date for one year. We reduce your cost per part by sourcing each part number from significant component suppliers and selecting quantities to obtain the lowest price per part. Throughout our years of experience providing PCB assembly services, we have built strong relationships with key suppliers in China, the US, and Hong Kong to keep component sourcing costs competitive without compromising our strict quality standards. We are confident that we can provide the best combination of PCB turnkey services, quality, price, and lead time for your small-volume PCB assembly orders.


J. Why Should You Choose Us?

Cutting-edge small-lot PCB assembly solutions

High Precision – we are known for creating high-precision small batch circuit assemblies in a neat and orderly manner using adequately maintained and up-to-date equipment. We have an experienced team that pays strict attention to achieving the required accuracy and Precision.

First-class quality – Quality is never an accident for us. We invest heavily in all of our assembly lines so that our component sourcing and minor PCB assembly meet your company’s goals and requirements.

High Yield – We ensure high yields while preventing any common PCB assembly failures and identifying potential problems in advance. We cut and eliminate manufacturing costs and any unforeseen expenses through DFM inspection.

Unparalleled reliability – By deploying the right technology, we improve the ability of your boards to withstand any mechanical or environmental stresses, such as high temperatures. Your low-volume printed circuit boards will have high heat resistance for aerospace and defense applications.

Streamlined processes – We follow well-documented process controls according to ISO requirements for risk management, traceability, and quality control. We also manage the quality of our manufacturing operations through cleanliness standards and improved shelf life.


K. Questions You May Need To Ask

1, Q: Do you provide a one-stop service?

A: Yes, Venture is flexible. You can choose us to purchase the components, or you want to supply the elements, or to supply part of the components; both are possible.

2, Q: What documents should you provide for SMT processing?

A: You need to provide the BOM, PCB file, stencil file, bit number screenprint, and component coordinate file.

3, Q: How to ensure the quality of the products?

A: We achieve our high-quality standards through the following:

According to ISO & IATF & UL standards, we strictly control all production processes, IQC incoming material inspection: to eliminate lousy material, causing flawed processes and delaying delivery.

SPI solder paste inspection: to find in advance the front-end process work is flowing out of the subsequent process (inspection standard: 3D assessment + statistical data analysis).

Online AOI inspection: This inspection is to check whether the production of products has errors and omissions, harmful material flowing out of the next SMT first inspection: to ensure that the components attached to the production model are fully compatible with the customer’s assembly diagram and bill of materials, to prevent the flow of defective into the following process (refer to the BOM, Gerber data, an inspection of each solder joint of the first board).

Appearance inspection: It is a random inspection of all production processes and whether they are consistent with the work instructions (validation standards: each product process instructions and each post, job instruction).

X-Ray soldering inspection: It is an inspection of solder joints for components not visible to the naked eye to avoid false soldering and short circuit outflow in the subsequent process.

BGA device reworks Inspection: X-Ray detection of BGA welding defects in temperature-controlled conditions of disassembly and welding to mitigate the impact on the device and ensure the quality of repair welding.

QA inspection: It is standardized shipping finished product inspection to prevent unqualified products from being shipped; anti-static storage and shipping: anti-static packaging and safety protection into storage.

4, Q: What are the requirements for customers to provide materials?

A: Please do not buy or provide oxidized devices which are not conducive to the solderability of the solder and incoming materials. Please prepare a fair number of material losses. For the number of material losses, please confirm with the salesman docking. For the incoming materials, please adhere to the materials request list. If there are a variety of products, please separate independent packaging. In the case of bulk materials of a kind, we account for their price separately.

5, Q: What should I do if there is a problem with the processed product? Who should be responsible for such a problem?

A: If you received the goods and found that the board had a mistake or product quality problems, please contact the sales staff first. Our company will take no or return for a refund; such as the design issues caused by our company. Our company will remind the user as far as possible about any problems.

6, Q: I wonder if Venture’s components procurement channel is formal?

A: We have a procurement supply chain team of nearly 20 people, and we can procure all kinds of components for you at the most affordable price according to your needs, with 100% original and genuine products, traceable at source, minimizing your labor costs.

7, Q: Can Venture do high-volume SMT placement?

A: Venture can do mass SMT placement. You can place an SMT sample order first. After receiving our SMT sample order, test no problem, and notify us to produce mass SMT placement. You can also send us the PCB file for basic inspection and confirmation by engineering. Once confirmed, you can repeat the order and mass production.


L. Final Words

Once you have obtained the correct information about minor batch PCB assembly, I hope you will not encounter any problems regarding this topic. If you choose DFT and DFM for small-volume PCB assembly, you can easily deduce the specific execution challenges.

All you have to do is specify the right professional help to improve the prevalence of PCBs at the right price. Choosing the best service that offers unparalleled performance is imperative with the various services available. Feel free to get in touch with the professionals for the best assistance.


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