Printed Circuit Board Design

PCB Layout – Should you Design it In-house or outsource it?

Posted on March 24, 2016

All electronic gadgets and equipment depend upon a PCB (Printed Circuit Board) which physically supports the socketed and surface mounted components, thereby making it easier for the electronic item to perform its task. With rapid technological advancements being made on a daily basis, the performance and efficiency of an electronic item today is directly dependent on the quality of its PCB design.

Owing to the cardinal role played by a PCB in the functioning of any electrical or electronic equipment, seasoned and experienced PCB designers are always in demand. Most of the companies who require high-quality PCB designs often face the dilemma of choosing between their in-house design team or outsourcing the work to a reputed company. If you are also struggling with the same quandary, then the following useful points will help you take the best decision.

5 Things to Consider Before you decide to Outsource PCB Designing

Some of the more important things to consider before you decide to outsource your PCB designs include –

  1. Check when the PC Board Design was last Updated

    Before you make up your mind about outsourcing, it is imperative to know when was the last time your PC board design was updated, and whether a new design is strictly required or not. In certain cases, if no major design change is required, then your in-house PCB designing team will be able to handle the project with ease. If your PC board design has been updated in the past 12 – 18 months, or is a new board, then you need not to worry about outsourcing it, but if it has been over two years since you updated the design, it is always a good idea to outsource the designing task.

  2. Verify whether your Component Library is up-to-date

    The current status of your component library can play an important role in helping you decide whether to outsource or not. An up-to-date PCB library can help you save a lot of time and money by enabling your designers to effortlessly calculate and generate PCB footprints. If you have recently updated your component library and believe it to be comprehensive enough for your requirements, then you can proceed with in-house PCB designing. However, if you lack the latest components including power supplies, connectors, passive components such as resistors, logic gates, integrated circuits, etc. in your component library, then you can choose to outsource to an established service provider who has the required component libraries.

  3. Decide the Number of Layers Required on the PCB

    As the number of layers on a PC Board increase, the task of designing it becomes more complicated and thus, only an expert in the field must handle it. A simple PCB design which requires only 2 layers can be easily designed by including two copper layers for the front and back from which the component footprints would then be etched away. But as the number of layers increase, so does the complexity of the design required. If you are unaware of how many layers your PC board would require, or if it needs more than 8 – 10 layers then you must find a reputed and trusted outsourcing company which can easily handle the task of designing your PC Board layout.

  4. Understand the Component Technology Required for your PCB

    There are various component technologies being used by PCB designers today, and range from zero surface mounts to flip chip technology. While it is much easier to carry out designing when there are no surface mount parts or when you are using SOIC ICs, 1206 PCB footprints, etc., the designing task required for fine pitch BGAs, fine-pitch ICs and flip-chip technologies is a bit more complicated. Thus, if you require complicated components and designing for your PC Board, it is always beneficial to outsource the work to an experienced company which can deliver flawless designs capable of high performance. This would also help you to divert your design team’s attention to more pressing tasks at hand.

  5. Decide how Important Time to Market is for your Requirements

    If you want to get your product to the market as fast as possible, then there is no better option than outsourcing to achieve it. Reliable PCB design companies not only have an open, concurrent design process, but also provide seamless virtual prototyping and design-through-manufacturing processes to achieve better value and faster development times. However, if you can wait for longer periods to launch your product in the market or want to give ample time for development, you can choose to carry out the work through an in-house team.

Flatworld Solutions leads the market in top-notch PCB layout designing services and offers its clients a broad spectrum of PCB routing and PCB layout services. If you are looking forward to outsourcing your PCB designing or other electrical engineering tasks, you can share your development requirements by getting in touch with us right now!

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