Qualifying Your Fabricator: Identifying Winners (and Losers)


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This month, I am once again weighing in with tips on qualifying a fabricator. In previous columns, I mentioned three things everyone should expect from their fabricators:

  • Quick quote responses;
  • Outstanding quality; and
  • Consistent on-time delivery.

I would like to add that, based on today’s board complexities, a review should be done prior to quote to make sure no manufacturing issues occur. This is critical when it comes to things like minimum pre-preg interfaces on high-copper coil boards or jobs with unique reference planes for various impedance scenarios. A potential customer would much rather be told up front that a given design is not producible than to wait three days for a quote, only to have the part go on hold after release to manufacturing because a good review was not done prior to release.

Quote Me on This

So, let’s start with the quote process. Whether the part is a simple double-sided part or a complex multilayer with numerous needs, you really would like to see a quote response back in a few hours, not a few days. Additionally you want accurate quotes that have taken into consideration all aspects of the board, such as drill time based on hole quantity, additional time for AS-9102 or Class 3 6012, first article reports, and any additional time if outside services are needed.

A three-day quote should be just that, regardless of your location and any outsources you may require. It is never good when a three-day is quoted but due to outside services or time zones still results in delays. Make sure any questions you have are asked up front to avoid these delays. Also, make sure there is a contact available for expedites.

Read the full column here.


Editor's Note: This column originally appeared in the November 2013 issue of The PCB Design Magazine.

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