Mistakes within kits of components supplied to us by clients as free issue kits are the single most frequent cause of production delay for us. Clients are advised to open every package received from distributors and to check the contents are exactly as ordered in terms of substance and quantities. Our experience is that 1 item in 50 received from distributors has an error. Our working assumption is that client supplied kits are correct. We cannot guarantee to identify wrong components. We will use our best efforts to report errors to clients. If significant additional costs arise as a consequence, then these will be additional to our quoted prices.

Take a look at the pros & cons of supplying free issue kits. Send your BOM to us for a quote

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Assembly policies

We will always try our best to place problematic parts. For example, sub-optimal SMD pad size can be tolerated by adjusting the amount of paste delivered by the solder stencil. We cut our own solder stencils so, if necessary, we can revise the stencil design and cut a new stencil the same day. If economic, we will consider modifying components to fit. Components that we are unable to fit will be returned to clients unfitted. When fitting standard Rs and Cs, unless instructed otherwise in the client’s BOM, we will fit the nearest E24 value e.g. 122 ohms will be fitted as 120 ohms. Badly labeled components, ambiguous placement locations, and unclear drawings may result in non-fitment of parts if such issues cannot be resolved by direct contact with clients.

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Bill of Materials (BOM)

BOMs usually have the normal default information such as reference designator, description, manufacturer and manufacturer part number. In addition, it is highly desirable to include Farnell part numbers, and columns to indicate whether the parts are client supplied, Newbury supplied or not fitted.

Download our free Template

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Extra Parts

We typically need 5% extra parts to allow for losses and wastage. Most parts will be assembled using automated pick & place machines. It is inevitable that some parts will be lost from the tape at the beginning and end of production runs due to trial runs and miss-picks. This will not occur on every part, but it could happen on any part. Large parts, and manually placed parts may be supplied to us in the exact quantity.

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Component packaging

All components, where possible, should be supplied on tapes and reels. Anti-static precautions should be observed with all packaging. Component packages or bags must be marked as follows:

  • Location designator (e.g. C4)
  • Quantity
  • Device code and description
  • Package fine pitch devices so that their legs remain undamaged
  • Humidity sensitive devices must be marked as such and supplied in moisture resistant bags
  • Include shipping documents
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Pick & place machine placement data

It is essential to send us the pick & place machine component placement data. This data will include the component x/y coordinate data in .prn, .csv, or .xls file formats. All CAD design software will output a standard pick & place machine component placement file which will be suitable for our needs. There will be columns for:

  • Part number
  • Reference designator
  • X/Y coordinate of the centre of the part (centroid data)
  • Rotation (0, 90, 180, 270 degrees), also called “theta”
  • Surface designator (top or bottom)
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Quality standards

We assemble PCBs to commercial quality based on IPC-A-610 Rev C – Class 1 specification, “Acceptability of Electronic Assemblies”. If other levels of build quality are required such as class 2, class 3, military, or medical ask us to quote.

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Because of the short runs, most electronic assemblies we manufacture are not tested by us. They will be inspected on a visual basis. Any defects identified during final test may be returned to NEL for re-work. We can test electronic assemblies either using flying probe test, functional test, power up test, or customer supplied test routines and test rigs. Please ask us to quote.

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2% silver loaded solder wire will be used for hand soldered components. This colophony- free flux leaves a slight “white-powdery” inert residue around the solder joints and is non-corrosive. This is acceptable for all commercial applications.

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SMD foot-print design

The normal pad foot-print design guidelines apply. In particular, ensure that via holes adjacent to BGA pads are covered with solder resist so that solder is not “wicked” away. Via pads should not be placed within BGA pads or SMD pads for the same reason.

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Benefits for client when supplying free-issue kit:
  • Parts are cheaper
  • Client selects suppliers of components
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What we do when we supply component kits:
  • We only use approved component suppliers.
  • We check part availability, re-negotiate or re-source if necessary.
  • We do not use grey market suppliers unless requested to do so by clients.
  • We offer choice of alternative parts to clients where appropriate.
  • We rigorously check that client part numbers and descriptions agree with supplier part numbers and descriptions, and report / resolve discrepancies.
  • Our good inwards check every part received for correct markings, correct labelling, and correct quantity, against our BOM.
  • We chase shortages.
  • We maintain full traceability of parts supplied.
  • We take responsibility for the fitment of correctly sourced parts. Re-work (if required) will be at our cost.
  • We maintain components in an anti-static environment.
  • Component costs are only charged when we invoice for completed assemblies, thus client’s cashflow is improved.
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Disadvantages to client when supplying free-issue kit:
  • Client has worse cash-flow, needs to pay component suppliers earlier for parts.
  • Client needs to check parts for correct delivery quantity, chase shortages, check labelling, condition of components, part references, etc.
  • Client has to deal with any errors, returns, etc
  • Client must chase shortages
  • Client must supply extras, i.e. generally, 5% additional parts to cover production losses.
  • Client has risk of purchasing faulty “grey” market components.
  • Client has risk that wrong parts supplied will be fitted, with rectification at client’s cost.
  • Client has administration cost of setting up supplier accounts, ordering, and paying on time.
  • Client has responsibility for administration and maintenance of component traceability records.
  • Client has responsibility for ensuring components are supplied in anti-static packaging.
  • Client must pack and onward ship complete kit.
  • Client has responsibility for the consequences of incorrectly supplied parts, including the cost of rework (if required).