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Low Volume PCB Assembly

What is Low Volume PCB assembly?

Low Volume PCB Assembly refers to the process of assembling a small number of printed circuit boards, typically ranging from a few prototypes to several hundred pieces. LVPCBA is ideal for startups, small businesses, hobbyists, and engineers who require custom PCBs for testing, prototyping, or small-scale production.

Advantages of LVPCBA

There are several advantages to choosing Low Volume PCB Assembly for your project:


LVPCBA is a cost-effective solution for small-scale PCB production. Since the setup costs are lower compared to high-volume production, you can save money on tooling and manufacturing fees.

Faster turnaround times

With LVPCBA, you can expect faster turnaround times compared to high-volume production. This is because the assembly process is streamlined for small batches, allowing for quicker completion of your project.

Flexibility in design changes

Low Volume PCB Assembly offers greater flexibility in design changes. If you need to modify your PCB design during the prototyping phase, it’s easier and less costly to implement these changes with LVPCBA.

Opportunity for testing and validation

LVPCBA provides an opportunity to test and validate your PCB design before committing to high-volume production. This allows you to identify and fix any issues early on, saving time and money in the long run.

The LVPCBA Process

The Low Volume PCB Assembly process typically involves the following steps:

1. PCB Design

The first step is to design your PCB using electronic design automation (EDA) software. You’ll need to create schematic diagrams, choose components, and lay out the board.

2. Generating Manufacturing Files

Once your PCB design is complete, you’ll need to generate manufacturing files, such as Gerber files and drill files. These files contain the necessary information for fabricating and assembling your PCB.

3. PCB Fabrication

The manufacturing files are sent to a PCB fabrication facility, where the bare printed circuit boards are produced. This involves printing the conductive tracks, drilling holes, and applying solder mask and silkscreen.

4. Component Sourcing

While the PCBs are being fabricated, the components required for assembly are sourced. This may involve purchasing components from distributors or using customer-supplied parts.

5. PCB Assembly

Once the bare PCBs and components are ready, the assembly process begins. This typically involves the following steps:

a. Solder paste application: Solder paste is applied to the PCB pads using a stencil or screen printing process.

b. Component placement: The components are placed onto the PCB using pick-and-place machines or manual placement for smaller batches.

c. Reflow soldering: The PCB is heated in a reflow oven, melting the solder paste and forming electrical connections between the components and the board.

d. Inspection and testing: The assembled PCBs are inspected visually and may undergo electrical testing to ensure proper functionality.

6. Packaging and Shipping

Finally, the assembled PCBs are packaged and shipped to the customer.

Design Considerations for LVPCBA

When designing your PCB for Low Volume PCB Assembly, there are several factors to consider:

Component selection

Choose components that are readily available and have minimal lead times to avoid delays in the assembly process. Consider using standard package sizes and avoid using obsolete or hard-to-find components.

Design for manufacturability (DFM)

Ensure your PCB design follows DFM guidelines to minimize the risk of manufacturing issues. This includes maintaining appropriate clearances, using standard trace widths and drill sizes, and avoiding complex or unconventional designs.


If you’re producing multiple small PCBs, consider panelizing your design to maximize the use of the PCB material and reduce costs. Panelization involves grouping multiple PCBs together on a single panel for fabrication and assembly.


Provide clear and comprehensive documentation for your PCB design, including assembly drawings, bill of materials (BOM), and any special instructions for the assembly process. This will help ensure accurate and efficient assembly of your boards.

Choosing an LVPCBA Service Provider

When selecting a Low Volume PCB Assembly service provider, consider the following factors:

  • Experience and expertise in LVPCBA
  • Quality control processes and certifications (e.g., ISO 9001, IPC standards)
  • Range of services offered (e.g., PCB fabrication, component sourcing, testing)
  • Turnaround times and pricing
  • Customer support and communication

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the minimum order quantity for LVPCBA?

The minimum order quantity for Low Volume PCB Assembly varies between service providers but typically ranges from a few pieces to several hundred. Some providers may offer prototype quantities as low as one or two pieces.

How long does LVPCBA take?

Turnaround times for LVPCBA depend on factors such as the complexity of your design, the availability of components, and the workload of the service provider. Typical turnaround times range from a few days to several weeks.

What is the cost of LVPCBA?

The cost of Low Volume PCB Assembly varies based on the size and complexity of your PCB, the number of components, and the quantity of boards being assembled. Generally, LVPCBA is more cost-effective than high-volume production for small batches.

Can I supply my own components for LVPCBA?

Yes, many Low Volume PCB Assembly service providers allow customers to supply their own components. This is known as consignment assembly or customer-supplied parts assembly. Be sure to communicate this requirement with your service provider and provide detailed information about the components.

What file formats are required for LVPCBA?

The file formats typically required for Low Volume PCB Assembly include:

  • Gerber files (RS-274X) for PCB fabrication
  • Drill files (Excellon or ASCII)
  • Assembly drawings (PDF or DXF)
  • Bill of Materials (BOM) in Excel or CSV format
  • Pick-and-place files (Centroid or XY data)

Be sure to confirm the specific file requirements with your chosen LVPCBA service provider.


Low Volume PCB Assembly is a valuable service for those seeking to produce small batches of custom printed circuit boards. By understanding the advantages, process, design considerations, and choosing the right service provider, you can successfully bring your PCB project to life through LVPCBA.

Aspect High Volume PCB Assembly Low Volume PCB Assembly
Quantity Typically 1000+ pieces A few to several hundred pieces
Setup costs Higher Lower
Per-unit costs Lower Higher
Turnaround times Longer Shorter
Design flexibility Limited Greater
Testing and validation Post-production Pre-production

As you embark on your Low Volume PCB Assembly journey, remember to:

  1. Design your PCB with manufacturability in mind
  2. Choose reliable and available components
  3. Provide clear and comprehensive documentation
  4. Select an experienced and reputable LVPCBA service provider
  5. Communicate effectively with your service provider throughout the process

By following these guidelines and understanding the intricacies of LVPCBA, you’ll be well-equipped to successfully bring your small-batch PCB projects to fruition.