Choosing a Printed Circuit Board manufacturer for your project is challenging. Are you confused about whether to go with an overseas manufacturer or a local Canadian supplier? A wrong decision here has consequences.
What to look for in a PCB supplier
When you choose a PCB manufacturer or supplier, consider both the short-term benefits and how the relationship will bring you success in the long run. Overseas manufacturers are known for low-cost, high-volume production and fast turnaround time. Sounds good, but don’t be lured by these checkboxes—there are problems associated with overseas manufacturers. High shipping costs and undisclosed or unforeseen international tariffs are two unknown factors with overseas PCB suppliers. But the more significant factors are quality and hands-on support.
When you select a PCB supplier, look at their production process, capabilities, quality standards, and customer service record. Here’s a look at the main criteria to consider when choosing a PCB manufacturing partner:
Ability to meet your requirements
Is the manufacturer willing to work with your specifications? Beyond that blanket “absolutely,” do they actually fulfill your requirements? Do they make all types of PCB solutions, such as rigid, flex, rigid-flex, and multi-layer PCBs? Do they offer turnkey PCB services? Check out their client list. If they produce for recognizable brands, it is safe to assume they are credible suppliers.
Do they freely discuss anticipated problems and resolve them in time to avoid rework and delays?—because silence is not golden here. Silence means lost revenue later on. From the design stage to the final delivery, the manufacturer must be willing to interact with you to obtain your feedback so that the process moves smoothly. If that back and forth isn’t mentioned, that’s not encouraging.
Do they offer services for PCB prototyping and fast turn? The manufacturer you choose must be willing to commit to on-time delivery and adhere to stringent timelines for quick turn PCBs and prototypes. But here’s where you need a keen eye; is that turnaround too fast? You’re shooting for efficient production, not rushed production.
Do they have state-of-the-art process equipment to produce a quality product?
They must maintain the specified quality while meeting the delivery schedules, including for fast turn PCBs. Determine how the company controls production quality. Do they outline their QC/QA policy? Do they emphasize this? A higher number of QC steps during the manufacturing process correlate with a lower probability of manufacturing defects.
Does the manufacturer offer Design for Manufacturability (DFM) review services? You want to correct any design problems that may cause delays in the production process before manufacturing starts.
Flexibility and responsiveness
Will they take up smaller volumes on priority? Are they flexible enough to deliver fast turn PCBs? Do they accommodate changes in specifications during manufacture quickly and without a fuss?
Size of the manufacturing facility
Smaller factories may not have all processes in-house. Find out if the supplier outsources some activities. Remember that outsourcing makes maintaining delivery times and quality control more challenging.
The benefits of Canadian PCB manufacturing
Let’s compare how a Canadian PCB supplier like MIS Electronics fares versus overseas counterparts based on the selection criteria discussed above:
Canadian manufacturers use the highest quality components and materials. Quality should be your number one concern—your reputation depends on it. Gadgets fitted with low-quality PCBs generate more customer complaints, putting a strain on customer service and may lead to revenue losses, reduced profit margins, and product recalls.
Overseas manufacturers tend to value quantity over quality. While overseas PCBs are cheaper to purchase, they are more expensive to ship and support!
Canadian manufacturers retain a highly skilled workforce and maintain quality checks at multiple stages of the production process.
For a local Canadian supplier, parts and labour are more expensive than for an overseas manufacturer. Conversely, shipping is an added cost for procuring PCBs from overseas. Products have to go through strict customs rules and regulations and are subject to prevailing import duties and taxes, adding time and cost. Canadian products enjoy expedited shipping and are not subject to import duties or border delays.
Due to lax laws in low-cost production hubs, intellectual property theft is common with overseas suppliers. There is a credible risk that your design may be replicated without your permission and sold at a lower cost.
Products with high specifications or classified certification (like in the medical field or Mil specs) require constant oversight during production. How do you know that constant oversight is happening halfway around the world?
Overseas manufacturers are inclined toward mass production and may therefore specify minimum order quantities. Canadian manufacturers are more willing to cater to low volumes and prototypes.
Language barriers and time zone differences make communicating with an overseas manufacturer difficult at times. It may even require travel to their factory, adding to costs and elongating delivery schedules.
Rapport is effortless with local Canadian PCB manufacturers. On-shore PCB suppliers are hands-on when it comes to serving customers, sorting out issues at any stage of the process from quotation to post-purchase service. This fosters a long-term relationship between the supplier and the client and a comfort measure for future endeavours. Overseas PCB manufacturers tend to be more production-oriented than customer-oriented.
Canadian manufacturers are more likely to offer turnkey services. They handle every aspect of the manufacturing process, from concept to PCB assembly. They partner with you all the way and offer support to resolve problems at an early stage. For overseas manufacturers, offering turnkey production is a logistical challenge.
Why MIS Electronics?
MIS Electronics is a turnkey PCB manufacturer based in Ontario with over two decades of experience. MIS provides a comprehensive range of PCB services from design to delivery with turnkey solutions.
Our PCBs save lives: PCBs designed by MIS are vital components of sophisticated medical devices. They are manufactured in adherence to strict medical and quality standards and regulations. We make PCBs for medical products ranging from small wearable devices like smartwatches to glucose monitoring machines and imaging equipment like MRI and Ultrasound machines.
We also manufacture PCBs for mining and agricultural machinery, construction equipment, electric vehicles, charging systems, electrical testing equipment, and measuring instruments.
Our innovations power the future: MIS is also at the forefront of developing futuristic innovations. We have pioneered and developed technologies like HPAuth, LED lighting, Nanobiophotonics, and touchless faucets.
Our work on automatic sensor faucet technology has gained trusted recognition with COVID-19 pandemic safety and hygiene guidelines—the demand for touchless automatic faucets is growing manifold.
Our certificatiions and assoications
MIS is proud of its Made in Canada products. We are certified and registered with industry associations according to governing standards:
- Member of Surface Mount Technology Association (SMTA)
- Member IPC
- ISO 13485:2016 Certified
- Controlled Goods Program (CGP) registered
- ALPHA Lead-free Process Capability Certificate
Are you looking to partner with a reputed and reliable local Canadian PCB supplier? Talk to MIS about your project and get a no-obligation PCB quote.