Screaming Circuits Process Definitions
If you are new to Screaming Circuits or are new to the prototyping world, it may not be all that clear what we do here or how we look at the pcb assembly world, so here are some definitions as we see them.
Prototype PCB Assembly:
With prototyping, flexibility is the key. We can put just about any part on just about any board in as little as 24-hours. To do this, we give each prototype pcb assembly order personal attention but don’t keep the sorts of statistical data that a production process would need. We also don’t invest in set-up and documentation for prototype builds. We assume that the order will not be done again or will change if it is run again.
Generally, we treat a repeat prototype assembly order the same as an initial prototype order. To maintain the maximum level of flexibility and responsiveness, we don’t develop and keep a specific process for prototype pcb assembly orders. Each one gets personalized attention. In most cases, a second prototype assembly order will have one or more changes, so any processes would need to be customized again anyway. We do keep the stencil for 30 days, however, so if the order does not have any solder paste layer changes and repeats within that time frame, you will not be charged for a new stencil.
A short run of boards assembled in a standard manufacturing process prior to turning on volume production. It is designed to ensure the reliable manufacturability of the boards. This is where you start to see a difference between the Screaming Circuits process and the process at MEC, our parent company. MEC would use a pilot production run to ensure the manufacturability of the design and make any changes necessary to ensure consistent quality and low-cost. A pilot production run would typically be followed up with long-term volume production. In most cases, we would discuss transferring a true pilot production job to MEC.
Like a prototype, short-run production could be just a few boards to just a few hundred per month. It could also be a single run. The key difference between a prototype and a short-run production board is in the end destination. Typically, if a board is going into a saleable product, we would call it a production build – even if it is just a single board.
Volume Production Electronics Manufacturing:
Again, production boards are going into a saleable product. Our volume production electronics manufacturing process is optimized for quality and cost. We have enhanced process documentation and offer electrical testing if requested.