Printed circuit boards (PCBs) form the foundation of electronics products and systems. From consumer devices to industrial equipment, PCBs provide the interconnect platform to mount and connect components and Integrated Circuits (ICs). For any new hardware product development, identifying a capable PCB fabrication and assembly partner is crucial.
This article highlights the top 10 PCB fabrication and assembly suppliers that offer high-quality, cost-effective and fast turnaround solutions catered to prototyping and production needs. We evaluate their capabilities across parameters like technology expertise, quality certifications, production capacity, turnaround time, and ease of doing business.
Overview of PCB Fabrication and Assembly Process
PCB fabrication refers to sequentially building up the copper layers and drilling holes within a laminated board substrate. Multilayer boards can consist of more than 12 layers of circuitry. The overall fabrication process involves activities such as:
- Design – Creating schematics and PCB layout using CAD software
- Prototyping – Producing initial test boards in low volumes
- Fabrication – Sequentially processing raw PCB panels by adding layers of copper and etching circuitry
- Drilling – Machining holes for vias and component pins
- Plating – Electroplating copper surfaces and plating hole walls
- Solder mask – Applying epoxy layers to protect copper traces
- Silkscreen – Printing reference designators, legends, solder pads
- Testing – Electrically testing boards for defects
- Panelization – Integrating multiple PCB designs into a panel for efficiency
- SMT Pick-and-Place – High-speed machine population of SMT components on pads
- SMT Reflow – Heating boards in an oven to fuse solder paste and attach SMT parts
- Through-hole insertion – Manual or automated pushing of leaded components into plated holes
- Wave soldering – Passing boards over flowing solder to fuse leads
- Testing – Validating assembled boards for correct placement and electrical connectivity
- Conformal coating – Applying protective finishes on assembled boards
By leveraging fabrication and assembly providers offering the complete end-to-end manufacturing capabilities, product teams can accelerate time-to-market and achieve volume production.
Benefits of Using Full-Service PCB Manufacturing Suppliers
Here are some of the key advantages of partnering with an expert PCB manufacturing supplier providing fabrication through final assembly services:
- Faster time-to-market – Integration saves time versus separate fabrication and assembly vendors
- Streamlined logistics – Smoother transfer of bare boards from fabrication to assembly lines
- Quality – Unified process control results in higher reliability
- Cost optimization – Eliminates duplicated setup costs and overheads
- One-stop shop – Simpler to procure all services from a single vendor
- Design assistance – Early DFM feedback to avoid manufacturability issues
- Ramp to production – Consistent quality from low-to-high volume output
- Supplier relationship – Working with fewer, trusted partners reduces risks
Combining PCB fabrication and assembly under one roof enables build optimization, standardization and responsiveness not possible with disjoint suppliers.
Top 10 PCB Fabrication and Assembly Suppliers
Here are the top 10 premier PCB manufacturing service providers offering integrated fabrication through assembly capabilities globally:
1. RayMing Technology
Founded in 2000, RayMing is a technologically advanced PCB and EMS solutions provider catering to a broad spectrum of industries with over 500 employees globally.
- Seamless PCB fabrication through complete turnkey assembly
- Wide technology expertise – multilayer, HDI, flex, rigid-flex
- High density PCB fabrication with 6L/6H line width/spacing
- SMT assembly with component size down to 01005 (0.4mm x 0.2mm)
- 0.2 mm microvia, LASER via forming
- Complete testing – flying probe, boundary scan, x-ray
- Wide certification – ISO-9001, ISO-13485, AS9100, UL, TS 16949
RayMing provides dedicated engineering resources across geographies to support customers through the entire product development cycle – from prototyping to design, fabrication, assembly, inspection, testing and logistics.
With robust quality systems certifications, automated manufacturing processes, capacity scalability, and optimized global supply chain, RayMing enables customers to achieve accelerated time-to-market at the right cost points.
2. Advanced Circuits
Headquartered in Colorado, USA, Advanced Circuits is a leading PCB solutions company catering to over 100,000 customers globally. They offer a complete suite of fabrication capabilities from prototype through volume production.
- Seamless 24/7 online quoting and ordering process
- Multilayer PCBs with 16-layer stacking capabilities
- Flex and rigid-flex PCB manufacturing
- Volume production – up to 60,000 sq. ft. weekly output
- SMT assembly with lead-free and RoHS compliance
- Design – schematic capture, layout, DFM analysis
- Testing – bare board electrical, flying probe, functional
- Controlled impedance traces, 1 oz copper available
Advanced Circuits provides free PCB design software plus design analysis services to optimize manufacturability. Their online tools enable transparent quoting and order tracking.
3. Sierra Circuits
Sierra Circuits is an award-winning full-capability PCB solutions provider located in California, USA. They are heavily focused on new product introduction services tailored for prototyping and low-to-medium volume production.
- Fast quoting within hours and instant online ordering
- High-mix/low-volume and quick-turn fabrication expertise
- SMT assembly with lead times as low as 5 days
- Packaging assembly and box build services
- In-house PCB design, fabrication and assembly engineering support
- PCB sizes up to 60″ x 80″, panelization offered
- Testing services include flying probe, ICT and functional testing
Sierra Circuits provides user-friendly online tools for design data transfer, DFM analysis, transparent quoting and order status updates. They are certified to ISO 9001:2015 quality standards.
Established in 2006, PCBWay is a leading prototype and production PCB fabrication and assembly manufacturer based out of China. They have extensive global presence across North America, Europe and Asia.
- One-stop fabrication through complete assembly services
- Optimized for low-to-medium volume production
- SMT assembly with component density up to 0.4 mm pitch
- 6-layer PCB manufacturing at minimum line/space 2/2 mil
- Assembly testing – flying probe, AOI, X-ray, Vision Inspection
- Seamless order management through web-based platform
- UL, TS16949, ISO9001, and RoHS compliance
PCBWay offers dedicated engineering support for DFM analysis, resolving technical issues and providing cost optimization inputs throughout the fabrication and assembly process.
JLHPCB provides advanced one-stop PCB fabrication and assembly solutions catering to a global customer base. They are headquartered in China with manufacturing facilities in the United States and South America.
- Streamlined PCB fabrication through turnkey component assembly
- Monthly capacity of 500,000 square feet of PCBs
- SMT assembly with 01005 components, 0.3mm pitch BGAs
- Flex PCB manufacturing support
- Testing services – flying probe, AOI, X-ray, ICT
- Seamless data transfer and order tracking through web interface
- UL, TS16949, AS9100, ISO9001 certifications
JLHPCB offers dedicated engineering resources to review designs for DFM and resolve assembly issues during new product introduction. They also assist with component sourcing and procurement.
ALLPCB provides advanced one-stop PCB fabrication and assembly services enabling customers to seamlessly transition ideas from design to high-volume production. They are based out of China.
- High mix PCB prototyping through mid-volume production
- SMT assembly with component sizes down to 0201 (0.6mm x 0.3mm)
- 0.15mm microvias, 6 layer PCBs, 2 mil line/space
- Testing offerings include flying probe, boundary scan, x-ray
- Seamless interchange of data using online customer account
- IATF 16949, ISO 9001, UL, RoHS certified
- Design reviews, DFM, sourcing and supply chain support
ALLPCB offers online DRC checks, quotation generator, and transparent order tracking capabilities. Their focus is on providing the highest quality using automated manufacturing technologies.
Founded in 2006, WellPCB provides advanced one-stop PCB fabrication and complete assembly solutions catering to over 50,000 customers globally. They are headquartered in China.
- High-mix, quick-turn fabrication and new product introduction
- SMT assembly with 0201 components, 0.3mm pitch BGAs
- HDI PCB manufacturing with 6 layers/0.15mm microvias
- Testing offerings include flying probe, AOI, boundary scan
- Engineering assistance for DFM, component sourcing
- UL, TS16949, ISO 9001, RoHS certifications
- Online order tracking at each stage
WellPCB focuses on optimizing quality while reducing cost and manufacturing cycles for PCB fabrication through final assembly.
8. Seeed Studio
Seeed Studio is an open hardware facilitator providing mini-batch PCB fabrication and assembly catered to makers, educators, and engineers. They are based out of Shenzhen, China.
- Low volume PCB fabrication and assembly services
- SMT assembly with 0201 components (0.6mm x 0.3mm)
- Testing includes flying probe, automated optical inspection
- Engineering support for design review and assembly issue resolution
- Integrated order tracking and project management
- Open hardware community engagement via Seeed Fusion
- Eco-friendly manufacturing processes
Seeed Studio enables educators, makers, and engineers to transform ideas into tested open hardware solutions using their fabrication and assembly services combined with modular components available in the Seeed Fusion marketplace.
MacroFab is a leading provider of prototype and low-to-medium volume PCB fabrication and assembly services for engineers and contract manufacturers across North America.
- 24 hour rapid turnaround quotation and ordering
- Optimized services for NPI engineering teams
- SMT assembly with 01005 components and 0.4mm pitch BGAs
- Functional testing, flying probe, and X-ray inspection
- Seamless order upload and transparency through web tools
- Design for manufacturing review and optimization
- Supply chain assistance with component sourcing
- IPC, ISO 9001, ITAR, and MIL-PRF certifications
MacroFab specializes in efficiently fabricating and assembling low quantities within days to help accelerate product development cycles. Their focus is catering to engineers needing fast turn functional boards.
Epec is a full-capability PCB solutions provider with fabrication and assembly facilities across North America. For over 50 years, they have delivered boards for mission-critical defense, aerospace, medical, and industrial applications.
- Defense, aerospace, medical, industrial electronics focus
- Quick turn fabrication and new product introduction
- SMT and through-hole component assembly
- Conformal coating, potting, and overmolding
- Testing services include X-ray, CT scan, functional
- Counterfeit component avoidance processes
- Cybersecurity management: NIST 800-171 compliant
- ITAR and ISO certified manufacturing facilities
Epec provides end-to-end optimized and secure PCB production solutions, tailored for regulated industries requiring high reliability and stringent quality.
Key Factors in Selecting a PCB Production Partner
Here are some of the key factors to evaluate when selecting the right PCB fabrication and assembly partner:
- Evaluating capabilities in latest PCB technologies (HDI, flex, high layer count, controlled impedance)
- DFM analysis and guidance during design stage
- Skills in assembling high density BGAs, uBGAs and other complex component packages
- Availability of testing services like environmental stress screening (ESS)
- Certifications – ISO, IATF 16949, AS9100, ITAR, UL
- Process controls and procedures – design, manufacturing, change management
- Upfront validation – design reviews, first article inspection, qualifications
- Supply chain management – approved vendor lists, anti-counterfeiting
- Pricing model – setup charges, tooling charges, unit price discounts
- Standard vs. custom services provided to control costs
- Geographic location – local vs. offshore pricing differences
- Value engineering – component substitution, design changes
- Cycle times for prototyping, low-volume and higher production
- Assembly – spacing between fabrication, procurement and assembly stages
- On-time delivery history and capacity bandwidth
- Responsiveness to quoting & engineering requests
- Ordering process ease – documentation, file transfers, tracking
- Overall communication thoroughness
- Packaging and logistics services offered
Carefully evaluating PCB partners against the above criteria will help identify the right fit for your specific project needs in terms of capability mix, quality, affordability, responsiveness and ease of doing business.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What benefits does having both fabrication and assembly under one roof provide?
Having unified PCB fabrication and assembly enables greater quality process control and standardization. Materials and workmanship consistency from bare board manufacturing through final assembly avoids many defects. Engineering change coordination is smoother with a single partner managing the entire value chain.
Q: What testing is recommended for assembled PCBs?
Functional testing provides the highest level of validation by verifying assembled boards against electrical performance requirements. Other common testing includes in-circuit testing (ICT) for shorts/opens, flying probe testing for node/net connectivity, and automated optical inspection (AOI) of solder joints.
Q: How can new PCB suppliers be qualified for use in medical and automotive sectors?
Stringent qualification is required before approving new PCB suppliers for regulated industries like medical and automotive. It involves process audits, quality systems reviews, testing standards compliance, reliability studies, customer-specific qualifications, and site visits to analyze capabilities first-hand.
Q: What support do PCB suppliers offer if prototypes have issues?
If issues are identified during prototyping testing and validation, suppliers provide failure analysis support to diagnose root causes. Design modifications can be implemented through engineering change orders (ECOs). Components may be swapped based on learnings. Suppliers also leverage lessons learned to improve process controls.
Q: What are some key factors in maximizing PCB assembly yield?
Critical factors that enhance assembly yield include robust component sourcing processes, handling QFNs/BGA using no-clean flux, maintaining process consistency between runs, implementing inspection points, optimizing placement for difficult assemblies, matching reflow profile to paste, and having test points to verify soldering.
Selecting the right PCB fabrication and assembly partner is a crucial step in turning electrical designs into functioning boards ready for integration and testing. A streamlined, high-quality supplier with expertise spanning prototype to volume production enables product teams to accelerate time-to-market and achieve cost targets.
This article highlighted premier suppliers that offer integrated fabrication through assembly services under one roof. Leveraging their technical capabilities, stringent quality controls, responsiveness and seamless support ultimately results in higher reliability of delivering industry-leading electronics solutions.