The Ultimate Guide to Turnkey PCB Assembly Services

New electronic companies will often run into the obstacle of finding printed circuit boards that they can use for their electronic devices directly. However, there’s a workaround to that dilemma which is through turnkey PCB assembly.

In this article, we’ll be covering a comprehensive guide to turnkey PCB assembly services wherein we’ll cover its advantages to up-and-coming electronic companies and brands; and what services entail turnkey assembly.

Turnkey PCB assembly: An overview

Before we proceed further in this guide, we’ll need to know what is turnkey PCB assembly. The term “turnkey projects” describes services or products that are ready to use for the client upon purchase. That means all of the work in assembling the printed circuits is conducted by your partner manufacturer.

From procurement of parts to assembling key components to form a functioning printed circuit board, the manufacturer that is collaborating with you has it all covered. However, there are two types of contracts – a full turnkey and a partial turnkey contract. The full variant has the manufacturer handling all matters whereas the partial contract requires you to contribute in certain steps such as procurement of materials and design feedback.

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The perks of turnkey PCB assembly

Since we now have an idea of what turnkey PCB assembly is, let’s proceed deeper into this discussion where we’ll cover the advantages that a small electronics business can get from this type of service. The most notable advantages that a small business can obtain through this service include the following:

1. Lowered overall costs and heightened business relationships

The biggest advantage that small electronic brands or businesses can enjoy from turnkey PCB assembly services is the significantly lower expenditures. With a turnkey contract, businesses won’t have to worry about waiving extra fees to have the finished printed circuit boards delivered to their work venue.

In addition to lowered expenses, small to medium electronics establishments tend to form better working partnerships with PCB manufacturers making turnkey contracts not only a budget saver but a way to help them develop better business interactions.

2. Quick detection of underlying problems in PCBs

In a turnkey contract, manufacturers can offer services that can preemptively detect issues in PCBs before they are integrated into any of the small business’s products. As a part of their protocols, businesses are asked to submit specifications of their proposed PCB designs. Before the partner manufacturer proceeds to assemble the boards, they will first check whether the specifications go well with the devices that it will go into and detect if any possible errors can arise from the design. 

If there are some issues, the manufacturer will request you to correct the design until it is practical for the device to use. After all, the last thing a small business wants is piles of defective boards left unused in their storage.

3. Streamlined negotiations with vendors

Whenever you avail of turnkey PCB assembly services, your partner manufacturer will be the ones negotiating with vendors and suppliers instead of your small business. That means negotiations will be smooth and quick as your partner manufacturer can quickly procure the materials needed to create the PCBs that you need. 

This also minimizes the likelihood of miscommunication as your manufacturer knows how to strike a deal with vendors which can further lower your expenses.

What services are included in turnkey PCB assembly?

In this section of our guide for turnkey PCB assembly services, we’ll cover the four services that a partner manufacturer can provide to you; assuming that you avail a full turnkey contract. Otherwise, you’ll be handling some of the matters such as procurement. With that said, here are the services that a PCB turnkey assembly contract entails.

1. Reviewing of the proposed PCB design

In a turnkey contract, your partner manufacturer will review the PCB design that you proposed and will provide a comprehensive review of it. They will share what works and what doesn’t and what changes can you apply to the PCB design so that it is compatible with the device you intend to integrate the PCB to and of course, to ensure its functionality.

2. Manufacturing of PCB bare boards

Your partner manufacturer is responsible for fabricating blank boards that will be used in the creation of the PCB you proposed to them. Fabricating these blank PCBs that can be used as a template will be either done within the factory or they’ll have to outsource and negotiate with another factory to do it for them.

3. Procurement of parts and components

In most cases, your partner manufacturer will be responsible for handling the purchase of necessary components to assemble your PCB. They’ll be negotiating with many vendors in their supply network to obtain quality materials to ensure proper PCB functionality. However, if you opted for a partial turnkey contract – it is likely that you have to do the procurement yourself.

  • On a side note, your partner manufacturer will also assist you in matters related to managing component obsolescence. Be aware that technology will come and go and some parts will be rendered too outdated for use in the present day. Your partner manufacturer can assist you in finding parts that are functionally similar to the obsolete components as a substitute.

4. Assembly and conducting of test runs

If you opt for a turnkey contract, your partner manufacturer will also handle the assembly and testing procedures for your PCBs. They’ll put together all the parts that have been procured so that they can create a PCB for your devices. Your partner manufacturer will double-check the PCBs after assembly whether all parts and placed in the right sections and have proper linkages.

Your partner manufacturer will also offer you testing services to see whether the boards are working as intended and if they meet the specifications provided by you. However, keep in mind that in a partial turnkey contract – you might need to get directly involved in the assembly and testing process.

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Turnkey PCB assembly services: Save time and money

To sum up what we’ve covered in this guide – when you’re starting in the electronic gadgets niche, finding circuit boards that are within your budget can be a tough matter to handle. However, you can work around that issue by opting for turnkey PCB assembly services and choosing whether you want a full or partial PCB turnkey assembly contract. Once you’ve settled the contract, leave it to your partner manufacturer to handle all or most of the matters for you.