What Is Turnkey PCB Assembly?
When the most innovative small businesses and startups need to make use of printed circuit boards (PCBs), they often find that, when it comes to assembling those PCBs, they face certain challenges, like the need to carry a large inventory and have an in-house team to create it.
Turnkey PCB assembly is an electronic assembly solution offering efficient and cost-effective means of building and testing circuit boards for new products, with the shortest lead times possible. In this guide, we'll discuss the meaning of turnkey solutions for PCB assembly and the benefits associated with it.
The Meaning of "Turnkey" in PCB Assembly
The meaning of "turnkey" projects is any product or service that comes ready for the buyer to operate. In terms of PCB assembly, turnkey assembly is a service where all aspects of the PCB project are handled by your supplier on your behalf. The supplier procures parts and components and assembles the PCB.
Turnkey PCB assembly typically uses cloud-based software and powerful machinery to put together circuit boards more efficiently and at a greater volume than small and medium businesses can handle on their own.
The Benefits of Turnkey Assembly
The most obvious benefit of turnkey PCB assembly is that businesses don't have to take their focus off critical processes like continual innovation to spend time figuring out the assembly side. There's no need to expend time and energy finding the best component costs, going through a frustrating process of procurement and then needing an in-house team to assemble them skillfully. The most significant benefits of turnkey assembly include:
1. Cost Reduction
With a turnkey contract, there is no extra cost to deliver freight to an assembly workshop, meaning you save a significant amount of money. Turnkey services also have good working relationships with component manufacturers and can almost always get a better price for parts than small or medium businesses.
2. Issue Identification
A major time and money-saving advantage of turnkey PCB assembly is the ability to spot potential issues before the circuit boards make it into any products. As part of the process, you submit a netlist file to the assembler. Before assembly begins, the assembler will check to be sure specifications match the application and identify any errors that may be present. Should any errors be found, you have the opportunity to correct the design and avoid being saddled with thousands of unsuitable circuit boards.
3. Streamlined Management
Dealing with multiple vendors can be stressful and a time drain, especially on small businesses with fewer human resources to go around. With turnkey manufacturing solutions, you stand a far less chance of experiencing a miscommunication because you're managing multiple channels of interaction. These potential miscommunications can happen between you and a vendor, or even between vendors, and can lead to derailment of your timeline and wasted money.
Your turnkey supplier will likely provide you with a single point of contact through which all business will be conducted, providing you with peace of mind and lightening the burden of management in the assembly of PCBs.
Partial Turnkey vs. Full Turnkey
Turnkey PCB assembly comes in two varieties: partial and full. Partial turnkey services are a form of consignment manufacturing, in which only part of the assembly process is outsourced. In a partial turnkey project, the technology developer retains responsibility for a portion of the supply chain. This can mean involvement in purchasing or assembly. The consignment model sees the tech developer in charge of obtaining, sorting and packaging materials for delivery to the assembler.
For businesses that already have a majority of the necessary parts on hand, partial turnkey services can expedite the manufacturing process and save money. However, if you don't have parts, aren't sure where to order the right ones or don't know which components are right for your circuit board design, full turnkey service is the more appropriate option.
Full turnkey PCB assembly sees your assembly provider do all the work of putting your circuit boards together. They source the parts and create the circuit order. All you have to do is provide:
- A bill of materials
- Gerber Files
- Product dimensions
- Packaging and shipping information
Please note, if you do not have the resources listed above please reach out to us and we can help procure everything needed to start the process.
A full turnkey service is naturally more of an investment than a partial or consignment service, but it can dramatically improve your experience with acquiring PCBs — especially if you are new to dealing with circuit boards.
EMSG's Turnkey PCB Assembly
If you like the idea of full turnkey services, a box build assembly may suit your needs even better. A box build assembly is a service that performs other necessary assembly work besides the assembly of the PCB itself. Sometimes called systems integration, box build assembly services complete the steps remaining between the assembly of the PCB and the final product delivery.
Examples of steps covered can be as simple as placing the assembled circuit boards into an enclosure, or as complex as connecting the PCB assembly to a user interface. Other assembly work involved in a box build includes:
- Sourcing and installing cables and wiring harnesses.
- Designing and installing sub-assembly components.
- Neatly packaging all assembled components into a custom enclosure.
- Loading software.
- Configuring systems.
- Packaging and labeling.
To perform such electromechanical assembly, businesses need dedicated staff, specialized equipment and a significant amount of production space that most small businesses can't afford.
One of the most important services a box build assembly provides is inspection and testing of the finished boards. Testing in a facility with a quality management system registered for ISO 9001 ensures the testing process is as rigorous and up-to-date as possible, so you don't have to worry about expensive product failures and the resulting extensions to your project timeline.
Reach Out to EMSG for All Your PCB Assembly and Manufacturing Needs
When working with a supplier of turnkey assembly for your product line, you need a partner you can trust. EMSG is an ISO 9001-registered company with years of experience assembling PCBs and providing box builds. Our experienced personnel and suite of advanced equipment are capable of meeting all of your electronic assembly needs, from prototyping through high-volume production. With exceptional attention to detail and the drive to consistently raise the bar, EMSG is the ideal partner for even the most complex projects.
If you are looking for turnkey assembly services in the East Coast metro area surrounding York, PA, EMSG is your source for quality service. We service a wide range on industries, including the medical, telecom, industrial, construction, energy, transportation, architecture, marine, lighting and electronic systems industries.
To find out more about why we are a national leader in box build assembly, call us at (717) 764-0002 or request a consultation to discuss what we can do for your business.