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7 Questions To Ask When Choosing A PCB Manufacturer
Jun 26, 2018

With so many PCB manufacturers to choose from, it's easy to feel overwhelmed with picking the right one. This may come as a surprise, but not all PCB manufacturers are created equal.  In fact, by asking these questions before you choose a PCB manufacturer, you'll get to see firsthand how some manufacturers simply don't measure up to others.

1. How many years have you been in business?

When it comes to manufacturing circuit boards, experience is everything. This question not only sheds light on a manufacturer's competence, but also their ability to constantly adapt and innovate over time.

2. What are your certifications?

Often times, PCB manufacturers offer unbelievably low-priced circuit boards with lightning fast delivery…all at the expense of the quality. This question provides insight on the quality of a manufacturer's processes, materials, and of course the printed circuit boards. Beware: Some PCB manufacturers claim to be compliant with certain quality standards but haven't followed the proper procedures to become officially certified.

3. Where is your customer service team located?

Please note that some PCB manufacturers don't have a customer service team, just a sales team that occasionally performs customer service duties. This question is great for customers that value ongoing communication and long-term relationships with their manufacturers, especially if time-zone delays or language barriers make it impossible to get the service they deserve.

4. Where do you manufacture your circuit boards?

Believe it or not, more than half of the "PCB manufacturers" in the industry don't manufacture anything at all- they're actually PCB brokers, serving as a middleman between customers and manufacturers.

5. Can your pricing compete with offshore circuit board manufacturers?

This question is only useful for PCB manufacturers in the U.S., and for most of them, the answer will be "no".

6. What makes your company unique?

This question will make most PCB manufacturers cringe, simply because they won't have an answer. There are hundreds of manufacturers that do little or nothing to stand out, and are perfectly content with going with the flow. If a PCB manufacturer can't explain what makes them unique, chances are they're just like the rest.

7. Prove it!

Not all PCB manufacturers will be completely honest while answering the questions above. If something seems fishy or too good to be true, ask nicely for proof to back up a company's claim or do your own research.

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