What to Look for in a Company that Manufacturers PCB Assemblies
Printed Circuit Board Assembly (PCBA) manufacturing is a far more complex process that it used to be, with the increasing complexity and diminishing size required for many PCB assemblies.
Therefore, choosing an electronic manufacturing company to provide the PCB assemblies needed by your business is an important decision.
Here are two things to look for to help you find a quality electronics/PCB manufacturing company:
1. Is the company ISO 9001, TS 16949, and AS 9100 certified?
Depending upon your industry, having a PCBA provider who holds the correct certification for your sector demonstrates a commitment to quality and to quality standards. Having a provider who holds multiple certifications is an even greater benefit, showing that that commitment crosses industry lines.
While ISO certification has become somewhat of an industry-standard for organizations and companies to ensure they meet the needs of their customers, it is not a requirement that all manufacturers be ISO 9001 certified. In fact, many manufacturing companies and businesses operate without any certification whatsoever.
ISO 9001 certification requires companies to fulfill statutorily and regulatory requirements that are aimed at ensuring that quality standards are upheld, resulting in a greater assurance on the part of the customer that the manufactured part they get meets or exceeds their quality requirements.
The TS 16949 certification is focused on the auto industry supply chain. Its aim is the development of a quality management system that stresses defect prevention and the reduction of waste. Companies in need of automotive electronics applications, including PCB assemblies, often require TS 16949 certification.
The AS9100 quality management standard applies to the aerospace industry. Like the other certifications, its focus is on adding an additional level of assurance that quality standards are being followed and met. If your company needs aerospace electronics, AS9100 certification carries special weight.
So look for this ‘quality trifecta’ – ISO 9001, TS 16949 and AS 9100 certification – when searching for a new PCB manufacturing company.
2. Is the company’s personnel trained to IPC J-STD-001 class 3 and IPC-A-610 class 3 standards?
As the dominant authority for electronics assembly manufacturing, the IPC J-STD-001 requirements apply to soldered electrical and electronic assemblies. The standard ensures that companies have process controls in place and the correct materials, methods and verification criteria in place to produce high quality soldered interconnections.
The IPC-A-610 workmanship standards govern the build criteria for ‘solder joints, heel fillets, component placement tolerance and other things related to building an electronic circuit card assembly’. (Source: IPC-A-610).
In both the IPC J-STD-001 and IPC-A-610 standards, Class 3 is the more stringent workmanship standard than Class 2. It is usually applied for manufactured products that need higher more intense reliability.