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Ensuring a successful Turnkey PCB Assembly project

There are many detailed factors involved when pursuing the right company for your electronic or PCB assembly needs. These factors can be broken down into two distinct areas, customer communication and supplier contract review. Either the customer or the supplier cannot afford time lost if there is a misunderstanding or lack of data to efficiently and effectively produce a quality product on time. Time spent up front makes for a smooth and efficient transition through the quoting and manufacturing process.

Customer communication

A majority of communications for a request for quote, RFQ’s, in today’s industry are via email. The email needs to contain the required data files and be clear and concise in regard to quantities and delivery dates, along with any details that are not stated on the fabrication/assembly drawings. Since we are talking about Printed Circuit Board Assembly Turnkey projects, let’s break this down further with the required data files for PCB and PCBA.

PCB data files:

1- Fab drawing with build details such as material type, thickness, Copper weight, Tg rating, IPC-A-600 Class, Stack-up, Drill Chart, LPI & silk screen color, Serialization, Panelization array, MIL Spec, final finish and type(RoHs/Non RoHs) etc.
2- Complete set of gerber files.
3- Drill files.
4- IPC-356 Netlist for electrical testing.
5- Read me file for additional information not stated in fabrication drawing or email.

PCB Assembly data files:

1- BOM with manufacturers part number/description and alternates if applicable or DNP’s.
2- Assembly drawing with build details, Solder paste requirements, torque specs, IPC-A-610 Class, DNP’s, serialization, etc.
3- Pick & Place file.
4- ICT or Probe testing if applicable.
5- Functional test procedure if applicable.
6- Read me file additional information not stated in fabrication drawing or email.
If all the required information and data files are complete, we have successfully met the first half of the RFQ process. With this in mind, it’s up to us to compile this information in our contract review process. Let’s take a look at what is processed on our end to complete the RFQ cycle.

Supplier Contract review

All incoming turnkey projects are given an internal number for uniqueness especially for part numbers that has been revised. They are stored in a secure file folder based on two groups of data. ITAR data is stored separately than non-ITAR data. Once the customers data is stored and secure, engineering is notified to start to contract review process for the PCB and PCBA data sets.

Contract review for PCB:

1- Gerber files are imported and overlaid into correct layer structure.
2- Drill files are imported and overlaid against the gerbers.
3- If there is no IPC-356 Net list file, we extract the net from the gerber.
4- The gerbers are ran through a design rule check for manufacturability.
5- Fab drawing is reviewed by engineering for manufacturing capability.
6- If any discrepancies are determined, customer is notified immediately, If no discrepancies, engineering hands off the internal contract review check sheet to customer service.

Contract review for PCB Assembly:

1- BOM is scrubbed to ensure all parts are identified by manufacturer and P/N.
2- BOM parts stock research from approved vendor list.
3- Assembly drawing reviewed by engineering for assembly capability.
4- Pick & Place file review.
5- Review for testing if applicable.
6- If any discrepancies are determined, customer is notified immediately, If no discrepancies, engineering notifies customer service.
7- Quoting team is notified to officially create the quote and send to customer.
Customer communication and supplier contract review is a relatively simple step in order to achieve and ensure a successful assembly turnkey project. Adhering to the steps above can make for a great partnership.