As noted in an earlier blog posting, Greg Engstrom, the President of PCB Solutions, recently traveled to Asia visiting our offshore PCB & other custom fabrication suppliers. It is the cornerstone of our buisness that our frequent presence at the factories is accomplished to manage and maintain control of our suppliers at a high level. Developing and growing the relationship with a rigid or flex PCB supplier is as crucial as developing a relationship with an end customer.  We feel our suppliers better understand our customers and their needs when we are able to sit across the table and explain a customer ‘s challenges, needs and opportunities.

“Much was accomplished this trip that allowed us to improve the overall reliability of our printed circuit board supply chain,” Greg noted. In addition to the relationship development and overall communication improvements, Greg was able to fill a much needed space in our PCB offering.

For a while now we at PCB Solutions have been missing a quality supplier to manage lower volumes and tighter lead times. After months of research and conversations abroad, we narrowed down the options to two factories prior to Greg’s departure. Before his arrival we had sample boards produced that were ready for quality inspection under a microscope at the plant.

During Greg’s on-hands visit at the factory, he is able to see the overall quality of the factory’s equipment, talk with quality and production managers, and a whole host of other details from our proprietary blend of qualification requirements. There are just certain things you look for when qualifying a PCB Fabricator or any other type of custom electronics manufacturer you are sourcing from Asia. Manufacturing in Asia can be done but only under the right circumstances and with the right suppliers.

The great news for our company and for our customers is that we have found a hidden gem. This company has no minimum lot charges, aggressive pricing, works off of consolidated lead times and is poised to build and develop their exporting division. It is a great fit for our printed circuit board customers that have lower volume orders and need quicker than average lead times.

After review of our sample panels and their cross sections, we found their quality to be superb. Test results noted solder mask registration, copper plating, copper and test yields to be on par with what we expect from a quality rigid circuit board supplier. In addition, communication and customer service have proved to be in harmony with what we see from successful manufacturers.

It is an added bonus that this factory can produce a broad range of capabilities. Check out the range below:

Layer Count: 2-18

Trace & Space: 4/4

Surface Finishes: HASL, Lead Free HASL, ENIG, Immersion Silver

Copper: Up to 3oz on multilayer

Base Material: FR-4 (ITEQ), Rogers, etc

Soldermask: Standard with multiple color options (including purple!)

Lead Times of: 5-10, 14 days depending on the project

As with all our suppliers, both domestic and offshore, this supplier also holds certificates for UL, ISO9001:2008, ISO14001:2004 & TS1694:2009, and follow the IPC and ROHS standards as well.