There are many OEMs with in-house engineering teams with expertise and experience in printed circuit board design. There are also several different options in software that make PCB design relatively easy with a basic understanding of the principals involved.
However, there is still a challenge in moving from printed circuit board design to printed circuit board assembly or PCBA. Finding a contract manufacturer with the ability to assemble the PCB to meet all the requirements for the system is a cost-effective way to move from concept to production for both small and large volume orders.
One of the challenges that many in-house design teams completing printed circuit board design have is the lack of understanding of how the design elements translate into production costs.
By working with a contract manufacturer with an in-house engineering and design team, the two groups can work together in selecting everything from specific types of components and assemblies required on the board to choosing the best method of soldering and component placement during the assembly process.
In choosing standard types of assembly processes, the cost of production can be kept low, while still providing a quality PCB assembly that is durable and reliable for general use.
When mission-critical PCBs are required, specialized types of assemblies and component placement methods can be selected. While this adds to the costs, it also increases the reliability of these systems for these high priority types of applications.
All aspects of the choices during the design process and the assembly planning also require the choice of different aspects of the board. This includes materials designed to resist high operating temperatures, the need for multiple layers for controlled impedance and specialized coatings to provide protection for the board in a wide range of usage environments.