One of the most common debates in the electronics equipment manufacturing industry is whether one should set up one’s own PCB manufacturing unit or outsource their requirements. Various factors have to be taken into account before one could take a call on this. It is hard to give a boilerplate solution here because each company’s requirements are different and only based on the volume of the order and the type of PCBs decision has to be made. However, in general, there is a consensus that outsourcing one’s PCB manufacturing needs is a prudent move.
If you were to set up your own PCB fabrication unit a huge initial investment is required. Advanced equipment and tools need to be purchased. The setup cost itself will be huge. Secondly, you will need adequate space for the PCB manufacturing unit. Unlike the other production units, PCB production has to take place in a dust free, highly protected environment. Firstly, you need enough space and secondly, a lot of money has to be invested to put up the infrastructure required for the PCB manufacturing process. All these investments may not always be justified depending on the scale of your operation. If you have a small to medium sized operation, then it is not worth spending so much money on the setup.
In case you have high volume requirements, every month then you will be able to get your PCBs manufactured at a low cost when you send your requirements to China. You will not only have to incur the initial expenses but you will also enjoy ongoing savings month after month when you outsource.
We have so far only taken into account the material costs and the setup costs. When you have your own PCB manufacturing unit, you would be required to have your own team of technicians who are fully qualified in PCB manufacturing process and PCB assembly process. This will increase your overhead costs because you may need to retain multiple resources on a permanent basis. This adds on to the running costs. This could also be avoided fully when you outsource your PCB manufacturing requirements to a third party manufacturer in China.
Micromanaging of the PCB manufacturing process is not required when the entire process is handled outside your factory. Taking all these factors into account, it is evident that outsourcing your PCB manufacturing needs is a very prudent move. You will be saving a lot of time and a lot of money by making this decision.
Initially, you could face a few challenges when selecting your manufacturer. There are many manufacturers but you need to pick a company that best fits your needs. Select your manufacturers based on the industry reputation and on the customer ratings. Once you have established that the company you are planning to sign up for your PCB manufacturing needs is a dependable company, you could proceed to place bulk order or go in for mass production.