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So I had some question about the differences between Turnkey (they supply the parts) and kitted (I supply the parts) PCB assembly.

When I am making a batch of about 500-1000 PCB's, which option is cheaper, which option is more reliable, and how do I let the company know which part to put where?

Any information about the differences, advantages, and problems with each will be greatly appreciated!

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    \$\begingroup\$ I suspect this depends on which country you and your manufacturer are in. Both in the US is very different from you in the US and manufacturer in China. \$\endgroup\$ – Abe Karplus Dec 24 '17 at 5:20
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I am making a batch of about 500-1000 PCB's, which option is cheaper,

You can find this out "easily" by getting quotes from your vendor both ways, and also pricing out the components from whichever vendors you'll purchase them from.

Typically when ordering turnkey, you will be charged a percentage markup from the cost of the parts to pay for the work of ordering the parts, sorting them out, etc. Some vendors will be more and some less transparent about what they are paying for the parts and where they are buying them.

which option is more reliable,

Kitted assembly reduces the risk your manufacturing partner will buy counterfeit parts or just order incorrect parts due to a misunderstanding.

and how do I let the company know which part to put where?

You will probably need to supply your vendor with an assembly drawing showing the part locations visually and an "X-Y" or "pick and place" file giving the location and part number for each part.

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In the company i work in, the most (and equally) popular options are turnkey and half turnkey (some parts are supplied by assembler, some by client). There are very few clients that supply 100% of needed parts. Of course, there are pros and cons to them (for both - assembler and client).

[Turnkey]

PROS:

  • most of the time (from my experience), it's the fastest method - assembler already has many of the parts; he knows where to order remaining parts so they get there faster etc.
  • many parts are already on feeders, so it speeds up the preparations for assembly
  • parts are in "assembler-friendly" packages - long reels (not strips) etc.
  • as a client, you have lees things to worry about

CONS:

  • markup cost
  • you need to double- or triple-check your BOM, check the specified voltages, footprints etc.

[Half-turnkey]

PROS

  • good balance between turnkey and kitted; you provide only the critical, most expensive parts (IC's, expensive connectors, expensive LEDs etc.) - assembler provides all the small stuff.

  • maybe you struck a deal with some parts manufacturer - you'll get the parts cheaper from them, compared to the assembler

  • assembly preparations and assembly process will be a little bit faster

CONS:

  • you need to double check the quantities of parts sent to assembler

  • you need to consider, that during manufacturing some parts get lost or are damaged; so you need to send a little more of them (for example 5-10% for passives, at least few pcs. for ICs)

[Kitted]

PROS:

  • you have full control over cost of parts

CONS

  • you need to triple check all the parts ordered - voltages, footprints etc.

  • you need to send more parts then needed (as mentioned earlier)

  • you need to order parts in packaging they can use (for example - not every assembler can use 2mm pitch tape reels or very wide tapes)

  • if you'll send parts in some funky packaging they can additionally charge you (for example - if you send 1k resistors in 20 strips - 100 resistors each - and not in full or partial reel)

  • all the blame for ordering wrong parts falls on you

I know it's a little chaotic, but i hope it helps a little.

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