Contract Electronic Assembly Services
Contract Electronic Assembly Services


BLUNDELL - Blundell Production Equipment is a leading supplier of automated electronic assembly equipment

SWITCHTEC - UK Supplier of industrial, electrical and electronic components 

JPR ELECTRONICS - distributor of quality assured electronic components and accessories to PCB manufacturers

ADAMTECH - Industrial screen printing solutions

Frequently Asked Questions

What do I need to supply to obtain a quotation for PCB assembly?

All we need is a bill of materials (BOM) detailing the components to be fitted to the printed circuit board with either manufacturers parts numbers or  Farnell / RS order codes. In addition to this we would need details of approximate order volumes. If we are to supply the bare PCB we would need the Gerber file for it as below.

What do I need to supply to obtain a quotation for a bare PCB?

In order for us to quote on the supply of a bare printed circuit board we would need the volume you require and the Gerber file for the PCB. At this stage you would need to inform us of any specific requirements on the panelisation of the PCB or material thickness/ type or colour. If the exact requirement is not given we assume we use FR4 with 1oz copper with green resist.

Can I supply my own printed circuit board components?

First Choice Assembly are happy to use customer supplied components (free issue). On receipt in our goods inwards area everything is segregated and placed in its own location within our factory.

How long is a quotation valid?

Thirty days from the date of the quote. Due to exchange rate and component price fluctuations we cannot hold the price any longer than this.

How much is tooling and what does it consist of?

Tooling is an initial one off charge to cover two things. When a bare PCB is first put into production film work has to be made in order to produce the PCB. The cost of this is circa £70.00 to £200.00 depending on PCB type. If the PCB is a complex double sided PCB with fine tracks or a multilayer printed circuit board then we suggest bare board testing (BBT) to test for circuit continuity. This charge does vary depending on circuit/test complexity.

A charge will also be made for a frameless solder stencil circa £150.00 if the PCB is surface mount. This is to enable solder paste to be screen printed onto the PCB to allow for assembly of the component onto it. The solder stencil is produced from the Gerber data used to make the bare PCB. Solder stencil can be made with 72 hours.  Note double sided PCB's require 2 Stencils.

These charges are only an indication and can vary depending on order value and can be free in some instances.

What is your production capacity?

We have 10 of the latest Yamaha on the fly laser centred placement equipment with up 22,000 components per hour capacity per machine and up to 360 off different component types are able to be assembled on the machines at any one time. This means we can supply due to the ease of setup any volume of assembled PCB from 10 up to many hundreds of thousands.

We do not have a set up charge for low volume batches.

For a more detailed view of our machines capacity and specifications please have a look at the attached surface mount section of this web site.

What is your lead-time for PCB assembly?

If all the parts are available normal PCB assembly can be supplied within 4-5 weeks. This can be improved upon depending upon volume.

What is your lead-time for bare PCBs?

Prototype batches can be supplied within 10 days at no extra cost. In volume using off shore supply this typically takes around 3-4 weeks with a new PCB and around 2-3 weeks on a repeat order of PCBs.

Glossary of terms for PCB production

Active component: Semiconductor devices that change their charactertics when placed in a powered circuit on a PCB.

Annular Ring: The width of a conductor pad on a PCB that surrounds a drilled hole.


Artwork: Normally held at the bare PCB supplier and is used in PCB production. Normally the PCB data is printed onto clear film and is produced from the gerber data.

Aspect Ratio: This is the ratio between the printed circuit board thickness and the smallest drilled hole size of the PCB.


Automated test equipment (ATE):  Equipment that tests the PCB normally in its assembled state for functionality.


Ball Grid Array (BGA): A surface mount package in which solder balls on the underside of the device are soldered to the printed circuit board pads.


Bare PCB: An unassembled printed circuit board.


BBT: Bare Board Test. A test carried out on the PCB for continuity before any parts are assembled to the PCB.


Bill of materials (BOM): A listing showing all the components with manufacturer’s part numbers and normally PCB references in order for the printed circuit board to be assembled.


Chip on Board (COB): A wafer of silicon is assembled directly to the printed circuit board by the use of solder or conductive adhesive.


Component side: The side of a PCB on which the components are fitted


Coating: A thin layer of resin is applied to the PCB to protect the PCB from its environment.


Coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE): The ratio of dimensional change of the PCB to the original dimension when the temperature changes. Sometimes expressed as stretch or shrink of the bare PCB.


Copper Foil (Base Copper Weight): Normally the copper weight is expressed in oz per square foot typically 0.5, 1 or 2 oz depending on the current carrying nature of the PCB.


DFSM: Dry Film Solder Mask. Used when making the bare PCB.


DIP: Dual in line package were two rows of pins on the opposite side of a device make the connection with the printed circuit board.
Double sided assembly: PCB assembly with components on both side of the bare PCB.


DRC: Design Rule Check. Carried out to make sure the data given to manufacture a PCB follows good practise before the artworks are made to produce the printed circuit board.


Dry-Film resist: Photosensitive film is used on the copper foil of the PCB. This film is resistant to the chemicals used in PCB manufacture.


Edge Connector: A connector on the edge of a printed circuit board quite often plated with gold to connect the PCB with another PCB or electronic device.


Edge Clearance: The smallest distance a component or track is from the edge of a PCB.


Electroless Deposition: The coating of normally Gold or Silver on to the track of a PCB by the reduction of metal ions in a chemical solution without using electrodes.

Electroplating: The opposite to the above electrodes are used to deposit the plating from a electrolytic solution onto a PCB track using a DC current.


Fine Pitch: Mostly used when describing surface mount components that had a lead pitch of 25 mils or less.


Flux: A material that remove oxides and enables wetting of the a metal with solder.


FR4: The most common base material a PCB is made from. Made from woven glass fibre impregnated with epoxy resin.
Gerber File: Data used to enable photo plotting of the artwork to produce a PCB.


Ground Plane: A layer normally within a multilayer PCB that provides a common ground reference with the circuit.


Hermetic: Airtight sealing


In circuit test: Electrical test of  part of a circuit on a PCB,

Hole Density: The amount of holes on area of PCB.

Legend: The print on a PCB showing the location of components and orientation. Can also be used to display a logo or part number of the printed circuit board.


Minimum conductor width: The minimum tack width specified on a PCB that is producible.


Multilayer PCB: A PCB made up by laminating thin PCBS each with a different part of a circuit on each and interconnecting them with via holes. 4-16 layers are common.


NC Drill:  Numeric Control machine used to drill the holes in a PCB.


Netlist: Lists  the parts and their connections to each on a printed circuit board.


Pad: The area of exposed track by which a component can be soldered to the PCB.


PCB: Printed circuit board. Also known as Printed wiring board (PWB)


Pick and Place: A manufacturing process when assembling surface mount components to a PCB. The component is selected and placed onto a specific location on to the printed circuit board by means of a dedicated machine.


Pitch: The centre to centre spacing of a track or pad on a PCB.


PTH (Plated through Hole): A hole through a PCB in which an electrical connection is made to the other side of the hole thus connecting the two sides of the PCB together.


Plating Resist: Other wise known as solder resist which is the normally green material used to stop the PCB being covered with solder. This also provides electrical insulation to the tracks.


Reflow Soldering: The heating of solder paste through an oven to solder a component to the PCB.


Screen-printing: A metal screen is produced from the gerber data in order to print onto the pads on the PCB solder paste before the pick and place process.


Small Outline Integrated Circuit (SOIC): An integrated circuit with two rows of parallel pins in a surface mount format.


SMD: Surface mount Device


SMT: Surface mount technology


Solder Bridge: Solder that connects two parts of a circuit on a PCB that should not be electrically connected.


UL: Underwriters Laboratories an American approval carried by many bare PCB manufacturers.


Via: A plated hole used for the interconnection normally of the two sides of a PCB or can be buried within side a multilayer pcb to connect inner layers electrically.


Wave Soldering: A machine is used to coat the solder side of a PCB with molten solder speeding up the assembly process.

Any questions?

First Choice Assembly Ltd

Unit2, Tipper Trading Estate

Park Road


B63 2RH


Tel: +44 01384 891991+44 01384 891991


Our business hours

Monday - Thursday07:30 - 17:00
Friday07:30 - 16:00

Print | Sitemap
(C) 2022 First Choice Assembly Ltd