Elektor: What are the main services provided by PCBWay?

PCBWay: As you can see from our website, currently we are not only offering quick PCB prototyping and manufacturing service, but also PCB assembly and even PCB design and layout service. We are proud to say that we can meet your PCB needs totally under one roof (Figure 1).

PCBWay can meet your PCB needs
Figure 1: PCBWay can meet your PCB needs

Elektor: What are your general PCB fabrication capabilities?

PCBWay: We are able to produce up to a 14-layer PCB, and we have a wide range of services, including HDI boards, aluminum PCB, flex and rigid-flex PCB. Also, we have many choices to customize your boards, based on your special needs in terms of solder mask colors and surface finish processes, etc. What’s more, some of the advanced PCBs that we have produced have been widely used in automobiles, medical devices, and aerospace equipment. You can check out the details on our “Capabilities page".

Elektor: Are there minimum quantities for ordering PCBs and PCBAs?

PCBWay: No MOQ actually. But we suggest you to order five or 10 pieces to enjoy our special offers. For new customers, you can get a $5 coupon, which can possibly make your first order free.

Elektor: What is the order process? Is it complicated?

PCBWay: Not at all. All you need to do is just upload the required files (like a Gerber file, BOM file, etc.) and fill out other parameters online to customize your boards. We also have a “Quick Order” option that makes everything even easier. Based on our online quote system (Figure 2), you can get the price instantly, so it’s quite easy to place an order on our website. Anyway, if you still face any difficulties, just feel free to drop a message to the service representatives. We will reply to you timely and patiently.

You can get a quote instantly
Figure 2: You can get a quote instantly

Elektor: Could you tell us more about the Quick Order option?

PCBWay: Sure. We have been committed to providing our customers with a more convenient and efficient way to place orders. That’s why we offer two ways for you to get the instant quotations. Actually, you could tell the characteristics from its name; it's quick. Differing from our standard PCB process, there’s no need to fill out the information of PCB like dimension, space of tracks, etc. Just upload the Gerber file, since our parameters tool can catch all the information automatically. If the default specs of PCB are all correct, then you may save this order to your cart. Our engineer will check the design and finish the review before your payment (Figure 3).

PCBWay's quick-order option.
Figure 3: The quick-order option.

Elektor: How long will it take for the engineer to review an order?

PCBWay: Actually, it depends on what kind of orders you’ve created. For regular PCBs, it normally takes three to 10 mins. And for Flex or other boards with special techs, it normally takes a few hours, as the design is more complicated, we need to analyze the file carefully. As for Assembly orders, it normally takes one day, because we need to check the price of components unit by unit, which is time-consuming. If any orders are urgent, you may contact customer service whose e-mail address could be found at the upper right corner of the web page, and then your orders could take priority for review.

Elektor: After the file has been passed the audit successfully, is it possible to change the parameters of the order, like soldermask color?

PCBWay: Yes, of course. For the quantity, the option of lead time, solder mask, and silkscreen color, you may change it on your own. Moreover, for other specs — like board thickness, surface finish, etc. — just contact customer service or use the online chat to meet your needs (Figure 4).

change order parameters.
Figure 4: You can change order parameters.

Elektor: When the Gerber is under review, what will the engineer check for?

PCBWay: Three parts. The first one is the completeness of the file. We’ll check if the design has all the layers or not — namely, copper layer, silkscreen layer, solder mask layer, etc. The second one is the basic information of PCB, such as dimension, layers of copper, minimum hole size, etc. If there is anything different from those specifics having been set up, then we will adjust according to design. And the last one is capability, such as the space between BGA or IC pads.

Elektor: What is the process for repeating order at PCBWay?

PCBWay: That’s quite easy. Find the orders that you want to repeat under the list of “Completed orders” and then click the button “repeat order”. All you need to do is choose the quantity and submit it.

Elektor: What if there’s a need to change something for the repeated order?

PCBWay: Don’t worry. Customers can add a note about changes when creating repeated orders online. Our engineer will change the order’s specs according to the note. Please remember that for repeated orders, we will use the exact same working file of the previous order. So, if there’s any change in the file, it would be a better choice to create a new order instead of repeating an order.


Elektor: How do you place a PCB assembly order at PCBWay? Is it the same as the PCB order process?

PCBWay: At PCBWay, we’ve been trying to make everything easier for our clients and minimize their operations, so placing a PCBA order can be very simple and quite similar with the PCB order process. Fill out the basic information, upload the required files, and get the final price to proceed (Figure 5).

PCB Assembly quote and order.
Figure 5: PCB Assembly quote and order.

Elektor: What files are needed for a PCBA order ?

PCBWay: Normally, you need to provide a Gerber file, Parts List (BOM), and pick-and-place/Centroid file for a PCBA order. Our engineers will check the files and give you the final accurate quotation in a timely manner. Then you’ll get the access to make a payment to start the fabrication after the files have passed the audit.


Elektor: What is required for the BOM file?

PCBWay: The following content has to be included:

  • MFG Part Number: Used to describe manufacturer part number.
  • Designator: Used to describe positions of components on PCB, such as R1, C1, U1, etc.
  • Quantity: Component amount used per every single PCB.
  • Footprint: Used to describe component package, such as 0402, 0603, 0805, QFN-48, etc.

It’s surely better if you can provide more information, like:

  • Description: Used to describe components part number, specification, tolerance, etc. For example: "100nf 80%-20% 50V".
  • Type (SMD/THT): Used to describe the soldering type. For example, ‘SMD’ refers to Surface Mounted Devices and ‘THT’ refers to through-hole technology.
  • Instructions/Notes: Some special instructions for components. For example, component soldering notes, component polarity or orientation, component soldering temperature, component firmware loading, component testing instruction, component soldering or not soldering (DNP,DNS), customer-supply components or not, etc. (Figure 6)
Required information in a BOM file.
Figure 6: Required information in a BOM file.

Elektor: After the BOM is uploaded, how long will it take for you to provide the quotation?

PCBWay: Normally, you will receive a quotation within one business day. However, if there are really a lot of different types of components, it may take longer but not more than the next day.


Elektor: Are there any other features on your website that you want to describe?

PCBWay: Check out the PCBWay community, where you can find thousands of useful shared projects, and the reviews with great reference value from our clients.

Moreover, there is a Gerber viewer (Figure 7) for you to check your Gerber files before placing an order, as well a gift shop where you can purchase practical gadgets and tools by PCBWay beans. Lastly, subscribe to our blog and Youtube channel to keep updated with the latest news and promotions.

Just have a look at PCBWay.com. You’re going to love it.

The Gerber viewer.
Figure 7: The Gerber viewer.