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PCB Fabrication FAQs

Click the questions below to see the answer.

  1. If I switch to Saturn, do I have to pay for tooling / test charges again?
  2. What is the highest technology that Saturn offers to its customers?
  3. How many layers can Saturn produce?
  4. How many overseas locations does Saturn have and where are they located?
  5. What colors of soldermask does Saturn offer?
  6. What is Saturn’s policy and procedure for testing of product and for quality?
  7. What are 5 reasons to give SEC an opportunity over existing supplier?
  8. How does Saturn’s cost for bare boards compare with its competitors?
  9. What certifications does Saturn possess?
  10. What is Saturn’s capacity usually running at? Why?
  11. What separates the quality offered by Saturn from its competitors?
  12. Is Saturn’s on-time delivery the best in the industry?
  13. How large is your facility?

Laminate Materials
We have been using IS410 since the RoHS conversion in 2006. To date, we have not had any failures that we can confidently attribute to the laminate choice, there has been a couple via failures that have popped up. Another PCB manufacturer informed me that when Isola purchased Polyclad they were going to obsolete IS410 and offer 370HR as its replacement.
Is this true and should we be specifying 370HR on new designs?

Surface Finish
We have been specifying Immersion Silver plating since 2006 and since then many companies have started offering Pb Free HASL (SnNiCu).
Will switching to Pb-free HASL finish reduce cost?

Through-Hole Diameter
This board has 17 different hole diameter sizes… does it pay to spend the extra time to consolidate similar holes. Changing the .036” hole to .038” for example.
Does SEC charge extra for bit changes?

 



 


If I switch to Saturn, do I have to pay for tooling / test charges again?
We have a history of working with our customers to transition business from other suppliers in consolidation efforts. We will work with you based on the package size to reduce or eliminate NREs for the smoothest transition possible.
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What is the highest technology that Saturn offers to its customers?
The answer to this question changes on a daily basis as we encounter different challenges. Please visit our products site to see if we have already produced technologies you are looking for.
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How many layers can Saturn produce?
SEC is capable of producing up 24+ multilayer PCBs
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How many overseas locations does Saturn have and where are they located?
For non-ITAR product, we have long-standing partnerships with 4 offshore facilities to aid in price sensitive, higher volume product. Furthermore, we have our own staff in China to monitor our business interests.
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What colors of soldermask does Saturn offer?
Standard colors are Green, Blue, Black, Red, and standard White. We also offer extreme high temperature white that doesn’t brown during PCB fabrication or assembly, primarily for the LED market.
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What is Saturn’s policy and procedure for testing of product and for quality?
Everything we produce is to IPC Class III, or to customer specifications if they are more stringent. Furthermore, we 100% electrically test all product.
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What are 5 reasons to give SEC an opportunity over existing supplier?
1. We’re debt-free
2. We’re continuing to invest in our facility and equipment
3. We offer standard and advanced technologies at extremely competitive prices
4. We hold a list of quality and other certifications and the systems to support them
5. All PCBs built with industry best materials and processes–but without premium pricing
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How does Saturn’s cost for bare boards compare with its competitors?
We remain competitive in the domestic and offshore marketplaces, which accounts for our growth and ranking in the Top 25 PCB fabricators in North America.
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What certifications does Saturn possess?

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What is Saturn’s capacity usually running at? Why?
65%. To leave room (flexibility for prototypes)
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What separates the quality offered by Saturn from its competitors?
Everything we build is geared toward long-term, high-reliability. We hold an automotive certification for safety, under-hood, and high-reliability applications. We achieved this certification by modifying our processes, not by building those particular boards differently. As such, all our customers benefit from it whether they need it or not.
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Is Saturn’s on-time delivery the best in the industry?
We’re currently running at 98.5% on-time delivery. This is significant because it includes quick turn prototypes, not just ongoing longer lead time production.
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How large is your facility?
In August 2009 Saturn added 5,000 square feet dedicated to a new multilayer room bringing our total manufacturing facility to 94,000 square feet.
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Laminate Materials
We have been using IS410 since the RoHS conversion in 2006. To date, we have not had any failures that we can confidently attribute to the laminate choice, there has been a couple via failures that have popped up. Another PCB manufacturer informed me that when Isola purchased Polyclad they were going to obsolete IS410 and offer 370HR as its replacement… Is this true and should we be specifying 370HR on new designs?

While it is not true that Isola is obsoleting IS-410, they are definitely pushing 370HR harder due to its longer shelf life and higher margins (though I’m not supposed to know this). At the end of the day, both of these are just brand names for the same group of laminate systems. I would suggest moving towards the IPC callouts for lead-free capable laminate groups rather than brand names. The proper grouping that encompasses both of these materials is IPC 4101/129. This will allow your vendors to find the best value laminate system for you by opening the potential types of laminate up from just Isola products to suppliers worldwide.
Click here for further details on these IPC callouts

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Surface Finish
We have been specifying Immersion Silver plating since 2006 and since then many companies have started offering Pb Free HASL (SnNiCu). Do you recommend switching to Pb Free HASL finish and will this reduce cost?

Switching to lead free HASL will save cost and fallout by increasing your storage time and being more resilient to substandard storage conditions. However, you have to be careful not to call it out on boards with tight bga’s, etc. This is still as molten solder finish that has its limitations.
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Through-Hole Diameter
This board has 17 different hole diameter sizes… does it pay to spend the extra time to consolidate similar holes. Changing the .036” hole to .038” for example. Do you charge extra these days for bit changes or is it automated enough that you simply don’t care? 

From our standpoint, we really don’t care about hole sizes above 14 mils. If hole sizes are similar enough that there aren’t standard tools to separate them, our CAD will combine them anyway. Also, our machines have fully automated tool change capabilities so the labor components is not affected by requiring extra tool sizes.
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