PCB Basics for Buyers: A Quick Guide to the PCB Industry

PCB Tariffs Will Do More Harm Than Good

November 16, 2021: Tariffs fly in the face of a free market. It is anti-capitalist for the U.S. government to dictate to a company where they are allowed to buy PCBs for consumer products. Quite un-American if you ask me. Even with the addition of the tariff, most—if not all—PCBs manufactured in China are still less expensive than what can be built domestically. This arbitrary cost added to PCBs (and [...]

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Act Now to Lift Tariff on 2 and 4-Layer PCBs

November 11, 2021: The Office of the United States Trade Representative ("USTR") has posted a Federal Register notice inviting comments on whether to reinstate previously granted Section 301 tariff exclusions on certain Chinese-origin products. If granted, the exemption will pertain—as it did before—to 2 and 4-layer rigid printed circuit boards made of epoxy glass only. The tariff will continue to apply to single-sided and higher layer counts, flex, and other substrates such [...]

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Establish a Procedure Now for Future PCB Quality Problems

November 9, 2021: PCB buyers often invest a lot of time at the beginning of their relationship with a supplier, signing non-disclosure agreements (NDAs), spelling out manufacturing specifications, sending quotes, placing orders, etc. But too often, they don’t put enough time into developing a procedure for handling the inevitable quality problems. The PCB is a custom-made item that involves over 100 individual processes performed by both humans and machines. In [...]

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PCB Buyers: Adding Good Suppliers Is Easier Than You Think

November 4, 2021: Why are PCB buyers often hesitant to move business from one vendor to another, even when it is clearly warranted? Perhaps it’s the overly cumbersome process required by many EMS and OEM companies before PCB orders can be moved. I understand we are all busy these days. And I understand that adding a new vendor to the approved vendor list (AVL) can be time-consuming. But it’s important [...]

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Do PCB Buyers Have to Pay Electrical Testing Charges?

October 28, 2021: This is Part 2 of a post on whether PCB buyers should pay tooling and electrical testing costs. Click here to read Part 1. Let’s talk about whether your company should pay ET costs. In the past, dedicated electrical text fixtures were the industry standard. With dedicated fixtures, electrical testing charges are based upon the hole count or test points required. The charge also includes material and time required [...]

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