Over one-hundred years ago, Henry Ford changed the world with the introduction of the Model-T. Not only did it redefine the automobile as a necessity in life instead of an accessory for the rich, but it also highlighted the assembly line as the new standard of manufacturing. Soon after that, many products transitioned from being individually built to mass-produced like the Model-T. The assembly line is an example of updating and streamlining product production, similar to turnkey assembly for printed circuit boards.
Instead of electronics original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) supporting the entire production process for their products, it is often more cost-effective to contract out this work. For example, building a circuit board takes a lot of unique equipment, processes, and trained staff, putting a demand on the OEM to provide. Alternatively, a contract manufacturer specializing in turnkey PCB assembly can do the entire job faster, less expensively, with better results. Let’s take a closer look at how this works.
What is Turnkey PCB Assembly?
“Turnkey” is the process of manufacturing a product or providing a service that is immediately ready for use by the customer. An example would be a restaurant that offers a ready-to-eat meal to its customers instead of groceries that must be cooked and prepared first. In the PCB assembly world, the turnkey provider handles all aspects of building the circuit board and provides a completed assembly to the customer that is ready to use.
Circuit board assembly is a complex operation that requires the turnkey PCB provider to be equipped for the following tasks:
These capabilities allow the turnkey PCB provider to build circuit boards. But to make them quickly and at the highest levels of quality requires another level of expertise:
The execution of a turnkey PCB assembly shop with all of its different functions and capabilities is a complex operation, but the benefits to the customers are well worth it. Next, we will take a look at what some of those benefits are.
How Does Turnkey PCB Assembly Benefit the Customer?
Circuit board assembly relies on the latest PCB manufacturing technologies such as solder reflow ovens, optical inspection equipment, and trained professionals to operate them. These tools and processes are usually too expensive for electronics manufacturers to own and operate, so OEMs can save a lot of money by using the services of a turnkey PCB assembly shop instead. In addition to the cost savings, there are other benefits to using a turnkey PCB assembly provider.
The turnkey assembly operation is a process that is managed by the PCB contract manufacturer saving the OEM from having to oversee the board building operation. The OEM can reallocate resources to other tasks because there’s no need to manage all of the different manufacturing areas like engineering, parts procurement, assembly, and test.
OEMs will occasionally have times where an extra amount of work exceeds the capacity of their in-house engineering resources. Instead of bringing in temporary staff, the PCB CM engineers can provide the necessary resources to get the job done.
The PCB CM’s engineering resources can take on capturing schematics, refining the PCB layout, and generating documentation for a new circuit board build. With these tasks eliminated, the customer’s design engineers are free to focus on the design rather than the paperwork.
Ultimately a contract manufacturer that offers turnkey PCB assembly will provide a more efficient and cost-effective method to build circuit boards. With their staff, equipment, and processes already in place, the PCB CM can immediately respond to customer’s needs and produce high-quality circuit boards ready to be put into service.
What Your Local Contract Manufacturer Offers for Turnkey PCB Assembly
At VSE, we have been supplying turnkey PCB assembly for our customers for over 30 years and have a reputation of excellence in Silicon Valley and the Pacific Northwest. Our services include:
|Engineering||Our staff can help with schematic circuitry optimization, PCB layout, mechanical design, documentation support, and much more.|
|Procurement||We will scrub your BOM and research the components you’re using, selecting the best prices, availability, and life-cycles from our supply chain network.|
|Prototype Builds||Our manufacturing teams will guide your prototype through the entire manufacturing process and respond quickly to any problems or changes during the build.|
|New Product Introduction||We will focus our attention on your NPI build to ensure that its design and documentation are prepared for the transition to high-volume production.|
|Low-mix High-mix Production Facilities||Our facilities are fine-tuned to quickly respond to the rapidly changing needs of low-volume builds like prototypes and NPIs. We can promptly incorporate design changes or switch over to a different production run of circuit boards.|
|Box Build, Cable Assembly, and Wire Harness Production||With our box build and cable production facilities, we can do more than build circuit boards. We can build your entire electronics system from the ground up.|