1. What do I need to give you so that you can quote my PCB assembly?

  • Two sample assemblies (if available)
  • Estimated annual usages
  • Other needs:  Just-in-time stocking, warehousing, quick turns, tooling, testing, etc.
  • The general size of the board, the expected number of layers, and the quantity of boards you expect to have assembled and fabricated (if different).
  • Specs of components, in the form of a Bill of Materials (BOM). Manufacturer’s name and part numbers must be included for every line item. This is very important.
  • An assembly drawing for the top and bottom side of PCB with assembly notes.
  • Any electronic data is helpful (Gerbers, PCB assembly and notes, etc.).
  • What general assembly standard do the boards  need to meet (IPC Class 2 or 3, internal standards, or other)
  • Any special requirements that might increase the complexity of the assembly (odd or specifically sourced components; who will supply which components for a partial or turnkey assembly package)
  • If you have established source for components, the source and the targeted price if you have obtained same.

2. How long does a quote take to prepare?
Quotes will take two to three working days (depending upon whether quoting partial sub-assembly, turnkey assembly, and somewhat dependent on outside component quotes if we are not quoting components as well).

3. What are the steps in the PCB assembly process; in simple terms?

  • A program manager is assigned to act as a single source point of contact at Optimum to the customer.
  • We perform a Design for Assembly (DFA) analysis of all your data. This will verify that the Gerbers, BOM and centroid data are all correct relationally, so your job starts on time (this is a separate line item if the PCB layout was not done before).
  • Any components we buy are ordered.
  • Stencils are made to allow exact solder placement for surface mount devices.
  • PCB fabrication is completed.
  • Surface mount, (through-hole or other custom parts-placing is done after reflow on surface mount parts).
  • Surface mount parts are soldered in our partner’s reflow ovens.
  • Any through-hole components are placed and soldered.
  • Any press fit components are inserted.
  • Special operations for odd shaped components are attached.
  • Mechanical operations add things like: heat sinks, stiffeners, processors, ports, power supplies, LED/LCD’s sub-assemblies, etc.
  • Final quality control is verified to the customer’s specifications
  • Any box build items are assembled (optional)
  • Logistical processes pre-mapped are executed upon including some of many dynamic processes including: intermediate transportation, exit and import clearance, cartage, inspection, warehousing and re-shipments to customer location(s).

4. What will you deliver to us when the project is completed?
PCB assemblies will be delivered to the customer or to a drop ship address if pre-agreed upon. All required documentation will be in or on the box. Packaging is determined in the customer’s specifications.

5. Do you design and layout PCBs as well assemble them?
While we are not designers, we are engineers and have decades of experience.  We can provide input or if you wish, we can use a design firm or make recommendations if appropriate.  Generally we work with customers’ designs most frequently


1. How long has M-Wave been in business?
M-Wave was originally founded as Polycircuits, Inc. in 1988. M-Wave was created as a holding company and went public in 1991.  It was spun off and became a private limited liability company in 2009.

2. How many employees?
M-Wave, as of 2011, has about 30 employees

3. When you refer to value-added services, what do you mean?
Quotes are merely an ending for many manufacturers or third-parties.  M-Wave provides at no or low cost: supply chain management services, forecasting assistance, just-in-time stocking programs, testing, logistics and warehousing and engineering input.

4. What do I call to make a quote inquiry to M-Wave? What is the mailing address?
For products: 800 578-8034 extension 501
For services: 800 578-8034 extension 502
1300 Norwood Avenue, Itasca, IL 60143

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