How to Tell if You Need PCB Assembly Services

If you’re attempting to cross the median of a busy four-lane highway, it’s entirely possible that there’s a Jersey Barrier in your way. In that particular setting, having something sturdy blocking your way is probably a good thing. On the other hand, I would bet that for the majority of you reading this, there are some barriers around you that you’d much prefer not run into.

pcb-assemblyBarriers can bring on stress, uncertainty, risk and a general sense of despair. Despair can lead to hopelessness. Hopelessness can lead to you being rolled up in a fetal position under your desk, tangled up in the nest of cables that every good engineer has under their desk. As everyone knows, if you’re under your desk tangled in cords and whimpering when your boss walks in the room, you’re probably not going to get a Christmas bonus.

That’s where smart outsourcing can help. At Screaming Circuits we talk about PCB assembly as being our speciality, but conceptually, it’s more of a case of us trying to remove some of your barriers. We’d prefer that you get your Christmas bonus rather than getting carted off on a gurney, too afraid to open your eyes for fear of the glare of your abandoned coworkers.

If you’re still not sure how to remove the barriers in your way, it might be time to ask yourself if you need PCB assembly services. The answer isn’t always yes, nor is it always no. The answer is quite often “it depends.”

When in doubt, ask yourself:

  • Does it need to be done right?
  • Is time a consideration?
  • Are there too many placements for you to deal with?
  • Are there more than one or two boards?
  • Are the parts too small?
  • Are there any BGA packaged chips?
  • Will it be monotonous?

If you answered yes to any of those questions, you need PCB assembly services. If you aren’t in a hurry, the parts are big enough and you’re seeking a fun, valuable learning experience — build the boards by hand.

With the impending advent of desktop pick-and-place machines, there will be a few more options, but the basic question will remain the same in any industry. Which do you have more of, time or money?

Duane Benson is the Chief Technology Champion at Screaming Circuits, a prototype PCB assembly electronic manufacturing company in Canby, Oregon.

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