Collaborative Post

Should You Outsource Your PCB Design?


If there is one consistency in today’s digital world, it would be that technology is advancing at exponential speeds. At the heart of these advances is electronics, and at the heart of that would be the printed circuit board, PCB. Every new advancement comes with new designs and this leaves designers of gadgets and gizmos at a loss. Do you keep your PCB design in-house or do you outsource to PCB design companies? There are several points to consider before you can make that call.

Are You Updating Current Electronics?

Sometimes the gadget you are working with just needs a few tweaks and so, rather than building a whole new gadget and PCB from the start, you simply need to reroute a component or add to the existing series. In this case, an in-house designer may be your most cost-effective route and with PCB design software from companies like, even your beginner designers can make the necessary changes. That’s the point to consider. How intricate will your changes in design be and how experienced are your in-house designers?

How Many Layers Are We Talking About?

A simple printed circuit board may only require a single layer. However, as components are added, additional layers may become necessary. Only an expert PCB designer or an electronics engineer would be able to handle a job of this magnitude and if you do not have one in your employ, the better option just might be to outsource your PCB design.

On the other hand, if you have a designer who you are comfortable with and has stayed current on technology to date, with that Altium PCB design software at their disposal, you could opt to keep the job in-house. This means that you need to take a good look at just how many layers are required due to the component number and complexity and make your decision based on that.

Only an expert will efficiently handle a complex PCB design.

Time Is of the Essence

Finally, you need to remember that there is a great deal of competition out there and so time is of the essence. Here is where you need to take a good look at the time between outsourcing a PCB design project and the final product rolling out for release. That is of vital importance because, as stated above, technology is advancing literally at the speed of light and one small delay could put the competition way ahead of you in the market. Sometimes it pays to get your in-house designers better software like that offered by Altium, and ongoing training than it is to wait for an outsourced job each and every time you need a multi-layered PCB.

Do you need to outsource your PCB design? If you can feel comfortable with your in-house designers handling each of these three areas efficiently, then perhaps not. But, if you have any doubts, you just might be in the market for a reputable PCB design company. Just remember to thoroughly investigate the company you are considering because a gadget or device is only going to be as good as the PCB that makes it work. Without that, you have nothing.