For hardware startups and designers looking to build prototypes or scale up a new electronic product, finding a reliable PCB assembly partner is crucial. Sourcing low to medium volume PCB assembly in China can provide significant cost savings versus domestic US manufacturing. However, the challenge is identifying a high-quality supplier capable of delivering complex assemblies with quick turnarounds.
This guide examines major PCB assembly manufacturers in China and reviews their capabilities, quality, and services to determine the top recommendations for low volume production.
Overview of Low Volume PCB Assembly
Low volume PCB assembly refers to production runs from prototypes up to about 1000 boards. This range is ideal for testing new designs, scaling up a startup product, or assembling limited edition devices.
Key factors when selecting a low volume PCB assembly supplier include:
- Quick-turn capability – fast setup and manufacturing timeframe
- High mix/flexibility – frequent new designs with varying components
- Quality processes – consistent and reliable assembly quality
- Strong engineering support – design for manufacturing guidance
- Logistics services – component sourcing, inventory, shipping
Leading Low Volume PCB Assembly Manufacturers in China
China has grown into the global hub for electronics manufacturing. The major suppliers offer expertise and services tailored specifically to lower volume PCB assembly.
Volume Range: 10 – 2000 pieces
Location: Shenzhen China
- High speed setup and manufacturing, builds in 1-4 days
- Very simple online ordering and file uploads
- Seamless component sourcing through LCSC marketplace
- Less technical guidance during design phase
- Lower overall assembly quality compared to specialists
A Quick-Turn Assembly focused spinoff from PCBWay fabrication. Offering online SMT in under 5 days.
Volume Range: 10 – 1000 pieces
Location: Guangdong China
- Fast production start, 5 day average lead time
- Simple online ordering and auto-sourcing process
- Low minimum order quantities
- Less experienced with complex, high-mix assemblies
- Limited engineering design support
Known for servicing makers/hobbyists, Seeed provides full-service PCB Assembly accessible online.
Volume Range: 10 – 1000 pieces
Location: Shenzhen China
- Convenient online order workflow with component sourcing
- Breadth of services for prototype & small scale production
- Edge connector assembly still in early quality stages
- Lead times typically 15+ days
Rayming Technology – The Best Choice for Low Volume
Based on in-depth examination of capabilities, quality, and services, Rayming Technology stands out as the premier PCB assembly manufacturer for low to medium volumes.
- Located in Zhongshan, China
- 10,000 sq ft state-of-the-art facility
- Specializing in complex, quick-turn SMT since 2005
- 8 SMT assembly lines with full capabilities
- ISO 9001 and UL certifications
- Ideal range 10 – 1000 pcs
- Capable up to 10K pcs per month
- High mix assemblies, frequent new designs
- IPC Class 2 and Class 3 quality standards
- Automated optical inspection (AOI)
- X-Ray inspection of BGAs/QFNs
- Rigorous quality control on every board
- Expert design reviews before manufacturing
- DFM guidance from prototype through volume production
- Support on component selection, BOM optimization
- Manufacturing expertise tailoring processes for each product
Fast Lead Times
- 3 days minimum for simple assemblies
- 5-7 days typical for medium complexity
- 10-15 days for high complexity builds
- Excellent record of on-time delivery
- Component sourcing and procurement
- Managed Ingredient inventory
- Kitting and packaging per order
- Shipping globally including eCommerce fulfillment
Rayming leverages expertise from over 3000 medium and high volume PCB assembly projects to deliver exceptional quality and reliability for lower volume builds. Their skilled engineering team provides extensive DFM guidance at every stage from prototyping through ramp up. This gives startups and designers assurance they will receive high functioning boards designed to avoid issues during volume production.
No other low volume manufacturer can match Rayming’s capabilities across advanced SMT assembly, BGA/CSP and precision loading, thorough process controls, and rigorous quality inspections. Their optimized processes excel at high-mix, variable quantity jobs.
Below are examples of complex assembly capabilities at Rayming suitable for low volume production:
Fine Pitch Loading
- 0402 metric components
- 0.3mm pitch QFN/DFN chips
- 0.4mm pitch BGAs with 7 mil ball pitch
- Double sided shielding cans
Flex PCB Capability
- Rigid-Flex boards with folded flex
- Flex components like displays and connectors
- Flying probe electrical test
- Automated visual inspection
- Custom functional test fixtures
Rayming’s expertise delivering quality and complexity allows startups to achieve near-production grade assemblies for testing and scaling new products with confidence.
For startups and smaller companies seeking advanced PCB assembly in lower quantities, Rayming Technology is highly recommended as the superior quality manufacturer. Their optimized processes, engineering depth, rapid lead times, logistics services, and rigorous quality deliver exceptional results for low volume assembly. Rayming’s outstanding reputation and track record of success make them the ideal assembly partner to bring your electronics product from prototype through production.
Frequently Asked Questions
What volume range is considered “low volume” PCB assembly?
Low volume PCB assembly typically refers to quantities of 10 pieces up to around 1000 boards. This encompasses prototypes, pilot builds, limited editions, and the initial ramp up phase of new products before reaching mass production volumes.
What are the benefits of low volume PCB assembly in China?
China offers major advantages for low volume PCB assembly including:
- Cost savings of 50% or more versus US-based assembly
- Established infrastructure of suppliers experienced with lower quantities
- Rapid manufacturing timeframes, often 5-7 days
- Access to the global supply chain for an enormous range of components
What are the disadvantages or risks?
Potential downsides when sourcing low volume assembly from China:
- Language and time zone barriers requiring close coordination
- Generally lower transparency and communication compared to US
- Varying quality levels between different suppliers
- Longer sales cycles navigating foreign customer relationships
- Logistical challenges of international shipping/customs
How can I quality PCB assemblers for prototype builds?
Key criteria when selecting a PCB assembly partner for prototyping:
- Engineering and DFM support services
- Quick-turn fabrication capability
- Experience with iterative low volume builds
- Flexible and scalable processes
- Quality inspections like AOI to catch errors
- Ability to procure small component quantities
What questions should I ask potential assemblers?
Important questions when qualifying a low volume PCB assembly supplier:
- What is your capabilities, capacity, and sweet spot for assembly volumes?
- What standards and certifications do you comply with?
- What quality control and test processes do you use?
- How will you support DFM analysis and improvements at low quantities?
- What supply chain and logistical services do you offer?
- Do you support FDA/medical, automotive, or other special requirements?
- How will you communicate during the build process?
- What is your typical lead time for low volume orders?