The UK is a world leader in PCB assembly. This is because they have a skilled workforce, low labor costs, and highly developed engineering skills. As a result, PCBs assembled in the UK are available across the globe.
The industry has seen tremendous growth over recent years. As demand for quality, tested components increases, it presents an opportunity for those with a specialist skillset. Examples include electronic engineers, to enter this exciting field.
PCB assembly is not just about North America and Europe anymore. New markets are further spreading worldwide opportunities for those with specialist skillsets.
PCB assembly is a growing industry across the globe.
PCB manufacturing in the UK
Printed Circuit Board manufacturing in the UK is prevalent across the world. This is because the UK has a high technical level and a workforce of electronic engineers who can work with every type of PCB. So, in the UK, you can trace a PCB from design to finished product and into a customer’s hands in one fell swoop. There is no need for disassembly or re-work, which can be very time-consuming and costly in other parts of the world.
The UK has been a center for PCB manufacturing since the spread of cable television in the 1960s. More than 40 years later, it still has some of the best PCB production facilities in Europe.
The main manufacturers in the UK are either based in the outskirts of London or close to England’s northeast coast. But, there are many more specializing in specific areas of electronics. Examples include RF Remote Control, RFID, medical and digital applications.
UK-based PCB assembly companies
There are several PCB assembly companies based in the southeast of England. This area has abundant resources and is close to large cities like London, Brighton, and Cambridge. The area is well situated as we can easily access it from other parts of the UK and mainland Europe. The proximity to a wide range of transport links makes this area ideal for any distribution service for manufactured goods.
1. Blue Lightning Solutions
This is a company based in Cambridge, and they specialize in RF remote control PCBs. They have been manufacturing PCBs since 2001.
The building is on a large plot of land home to the assembly and design facilities and the repair and refurbishment of equipment. The majority of work undertaken by Blue Lightning Solutions is for the defense sector. As a result, they have the trust of major international players such as Rayming PCB & Assembly, RIMS, Qinetiq, and Ultra Electronics.
It is an ISO9001:2008 company with continually high recognition of quality in its products, services, and delivery.
2. ALN Printed Circuits Ltd
This is a company based in West Midlands, and they are an ISO9001:2008 registered company. The main product of ALN Printed Circuits Ltd prints circuit boards sold worldwide. Their customer base ranges from consumer electronics to the automotive industry.
Their service includes complete design and manufacture of products, supplying electronic sub-assemblies, small runs to full production runs. They have specialist manufacturing facilities for flex circuit assemblies. Additionally, they include rigid and flexible substrates. In addition, the company offers total custom design capability. They include high-density interconnection technology and complex laminate processing techniques such as selective soldering.
3. RUSHPCB UK
RUSHPCB UK specializes in quantity production of small to medium-sized surface mount PCBs.
They have computer-controlled assembly machines which conveyor belt the boards through their process. The machines can take a design file and process up to 1,000 boards per hour. The process involves reflow soldering of SMT parts and insertion of through-hole components. Examples include connectors, test points, and resistors. RUSH PCBS UK also offers 100% testing, de-panelization, and re-balling on their finished products.
4. Amarula Electronics Ltd
Amarula Electronics Ltd is a medium-sized manufacturer of PCBs and other electronic components. They specialize in custom products that require complex electronics. Their facility has very advanced machinery, and their products have extremely high quality.
5. Anglia Circuits Ltd
This is a PCB manufacturing company based near Cambridge. They are ISO9001 and ISO14001 registered. The facility is on the outskirts of Huntingdon, with easy access to major roads, railways, and air travel. Anglia Circuits manufacture printed circuit boards for domestic and commercial use.
Why choose UK PCB assembly companies
UK is an ideal location for PCB assembly because of the following:
1. We can use robots to reduce manual labor cost
UK PCB assembly companies have become very efficient in using robotics to reduce manual labor costs on their production lines. As a result, it makes the UK a cheaper site for manufacturers to send their goods as they can offload repetitive work and need repeating.
2. Skilled labor force
There are highly skilled and experienced engineers in the UK who can handle PCB production.
3. Time to market is reduced
In the United Kingdom, you get your product quicker than in mainland Europe or further afield. Everything is close together, and it is quicker to transport parts and components around.
4. Goods can be shipped easily around the globe
The UK has extensive sea, road, rail, and air links. It means products manufactured here are easily transported worldwide in a short space of time. This reduces shipping time and costs for a manufacturer who may be based abroad.
5. Immediate customer service
UK PCB assembly companies are often very close to their customers. It means they can respond immediately to any problem with a product. Therefore, having this level of customer service is vital in retaining business and keeping the production line fully operational.
6. UK Environments Regulations are mainly in line with Europe
Many countries in the world have strict environmental rules and regulations. It makes it very hard for a manufacturer to operate in them. However, the UK follows much of the same regulations as mainland Europe, so it is ideal for manufacturers to base their operations.
7. Consistency of quality and service
UK PCB assembly companies are much more likely to be reliable than those based in other countries. As a result, there is a higher consistency of quality and service provided. Therefore, this makes the UK PCB assembly industry very appealing to overseas customers who may have had issues in the past with their assembly partners abroad.
8. Quality control
The government of the UK has put in place the FSA, which helps regulate the quality of products present on the market. All electronics manufactured in the UK have to meet certain standards. However, this does not mean it is difficult for manufacturers to achieve this standard. It only helps to level the playing field.
Cost Comparison between China and UK
China is a very large PCB assembly market, but the cost of living increases daily. However, the cost of living in China is still much lower than in the UK. As a result, it may still be beneficial to manufacture in China, but this will be down to each case when comparing two countries.
The United Kingdom is an ideal location for electronics manufacturing and PCB assembly. This is due to its unique geographical location, highly skilled labor force, FSA regulations, etc. The UK has taken advantage of this and is a major manufacturer in the electronics industry.