Turnkey PCB Assembly: Hassle-Free PCB Production and Assembly Service

We’ll discuss turnkey PCB assembly in this article.

Time is money, and you will most likely waste precious time handling some tasks in the PCB assembly process. 

If you have better things to do or don’t want to go through the hassle of searching for parts, we recommend getting a turnkey PCB assembly. 

This service has several benefits, which we’ll look at below. But first, let’s define a turnkey PCB assembly.

What Is a Turnkey PCB Assembly

Turnkey defines a product or service ready for use straight out of the box. In PCBs, the term refers to getting a ready-made circuit board that you can plug into use immediately.

So suppliers handle all the PCB manufacturing, parts sourcing, and assembly processes, leaving you to focus solely on the design process.

 And the turnkey process can even cover prototyping for real-world testing before mass production.

Turnkey PCB Assembly Types

This PCB assembly service comes in three types.

Box Build Assembly

This box-build assembly is the most comprehensive turnkey PCB assembly type because it involves carrying out all other services besides manufacturing.

Also known as mechanical system integration, box build assembly covers the following.

  • Software loading
  • Helping design and install component sub-assemblies
  • System configuration
  • Packaging assembled circuit boards into enclosures
  • Helping source and install cables/wire harnesses
  • Packaging and labeling the complete product
Packaged PCBs ready for shipping

Packaged PCBs ready for shipping

Box build turnkey assemblies give designers the advantage of getting critical inspection and testing services on their products.

Without this service, you must ensure the layouts align with the best PCB industry practices and work to specification.

So this service is ideal for designers who want everything taken care of after they hand over their:

All they want is the final product delivered to their doorstep without doing any additional tasks.

Full Turnkey PCB Assembly

This assembly service ranks lower than the box-build assembly above because it does not cater to the additional tasks listed above.

 But the contract manufacturer sources all the components required to assemble the circuit board.

Component reels loading parts into a pick-and-place machine

Component reels loading parts into a pick-and-place machine

And the assembly covers everything else until the final product is ready for the customer. 

So this service would be ideal if you don’t have the time to handle any aspect of the assembly process.

Partial Turnkey PCB Assembly

With a partial turnkey assembly service, the designer handles a portion of the supply chain by outsourcing part of the assembly process.

 In most cases, the designer has to supply all required components to an assembler for soldering and testing.

This assembly model is ideal for customers with multiple electronic parts in stock.

 In this case, it is cheaper to send the components to the assembler and save the sourcing.

 But you have to handle the cost of sorting, packaging, and shipping these electronic components.

Also, if you are an experienced electronics engineer or technician and know your way around parts, you can buy them separately and ship them to the assembler.

But if you don’t have the components and don’t know where to source them, we recommend paying for a box build or full turnkey PCB assembly service.

Turnkey PCB Assembly Stages

The process involves these six general steps.

Prototype PCB Assembly

Prototyping is costly because it involves manufacturing a few boards and testing them iteratively until you get the required results. 

Most manufacturers could not undertake this process in the past because their factories could only handle large orders profitably.

So designers had this headache; manufacturers could not handle the prototyping or take low-quantity orders for testing.

A prototype PCB project

A prototype PCB project

But things changed due to software innovations. 

Designers can now upload their PCB design files to manufacturer websites, then get instant quotes and their prototypes delivered within a short window.

And even if you want the manufacturer to handle everything, factories can do the complete or box-build assembly at reasonable prices.

PCB Manufacturing

After prototyping and perfecting the design, the following process is mass production

If you handled the prototypes and enhanced the board designs, you only have to follow the same procedure of uploading the updated design files.

Manufacturer websites have online pricing tools that help designers calculate the cost of building PCBs per piece. 

Plus, you can keep track and report on the process if anything goes amiss.

Component Sourcing and Assembly

Having a seamless turnkey PCB assembly process means having the same PCB fabrication company handle the assembly process.

This task combination helps cut costs and eliminate shipping delays because the fabricator will order the parts before manufacturing ends to have them ready for soldering immediately after production.

Using a different assembler means shipping blank boards, which wastes time.

PCBA Storage and Management

After assembly, the turnkey PCB assembly manufacturers rent space to keep the assembled boards safe before shipping. 

But you will most likely enjoy this service when using the box-build turnkey service.

Customer Satisfaction

Customer satisfaction involves seeing the product through to the last phase of its life cycle. 

Considerate PCB turnkey services will handle the product distribution task on behalf of the user or designer and ensure customer satisfaction. 

You will only have to pay for the shipping costs.

System Integration

After distributing the PCBs, the turnkey assembly service provider should ensure the products integrate with existing systems and operate seamlessly.

Benefits of Turnkey PCB Assemblies

You should consider turnkey circuit board assembly services due to the following benefits.

Streamlined Management

Partnering with different vendors for manufacturing, assembling, parts supply, etc., is a hassle because you have to maintain multiple communication channels. 

Also, you have to coordinate the vendors to handle the project effectively.

But with a turnkey PCB assembly process, you only deal with a single contact until the product is ready. 

This simplified management eliminates potential miscommunication issues and cuts the lead time.

Electronics factory workers assembling circuit boards

Electronics factory workers assembling circuit boards

Cost Reduction

Handing the manufacturing, parts sourcing, assembling, and testing tasks to one provider cuts shipping costs. 

And since the project is significant, you will build long-term cooperation with the assembly workshop, creating the possibility of getting discounts.

Valued-Added Services

A box-build assembly introduces value-added services to the assembly process, such as packaging, shipping, software loading, system configuration, etc.

A technician writes code for machine tools (production equipment programming)

A technician writes code for machine tools (production equipment programming)

Issue Identification

Contract manufacturers and assemblers have the experts and systems to detect design errors quickly. 

So they can determine and let you know if any issues require changes before commencing the process.

And after component attachment, they deliver products with no assembly errors.

Versatile PCB Assembly Services

Turnkey PCB manufacturing and assembly includes several services, such as:

  • Prototype production
  • Low or high-volume assembly
  • Shipping
  • Inventory management
  • System configuration
  • Labeling

So you can use this service from the start to receiving your final product.

Wrap Up

As you can see, turnkey PCB assembly services are lifesavers for PCB designers because they simplify the electronic building, testing, and assembling processes. 

So the solution remains vital in electronics manufacturing, especially for startups and novice engineers who want to focus solely on design. 

But you must get a reliable turnkey PCB assembly services provider to get your boards to the market in good shape. 

Check out our services or drop your Gerber file to get a reasonably priced quote today for your project.