PCB manufacturer in UK

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Introduction to PCB Manufacturing in the United Kingdom

The United Kingdom has a robust and growing printed circuit board (PCB) manufacturing industry, with numerous suppliers offering a wide range of PCB-UK services. PCBs are essential components in electronic devices, serving as the foundation for mounting and connecting various electronic components. The UK’s PCB manufacturing sector caters to diverse industries, including automotive, aerospace, medical, telecommunications, and consumer electronics.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the landscape of PCB manufacturing in the UK, discussing the types of PCBs available, the manufacturing process, and the key factors to consider when choosing a PCB-UK supplier. We will also highlight some of the leading PCB manufacturers in the UK and provide answers to frequently asked questions about PCB-UK services.

Types of PCBs Manufactured in the UK

UK-based PCB manufacturers offer a wide variety of PCB Types to suit different applications and requirements. Some of the most common types of PCBs produced in the UK include:

Single-sided PCBs

Single-sided PCBs have conductive traces on only one side of the substrate. They are the simplest and most cost-effective type of PCB, suitable for basic electronic projects and low-density designs.

Double-sided PCBs

Double-sided PCBs have conductive traces on both sides of the substrate, allowing for more complex layouts and higher component density compared to single-sided PCBs. These boards often incorporate through-hole technology to connect the circuits on both sides.

Multi-layer PCBs

Multi-layer PCBs consist of three or more conductive layers separated by insulating layers. They offer the highest density and complexity, making them ideal for advanced electronic applications that require compact designs and high performance.

Flexible PCBs

Flexible PCBs are made from flexible materials, such as polyimide, allowing them to bend and conform to various shapes. They are commonly used in applications that require flexibility, such as wearable electronics and compact devices.

Rigid-Flex PCBs

Rigid-Flex PCBs combine the benefits of both rigid and flexible PCBs, featuring rigid sections for mounting components and flexible sections for connecting different parts of the device. This type of PCB is often used in applications that require a combination of stability and flexibility, such as aerospace and medical devices.

The PCB Manufacturing Process in the UK

The PCB manufacturing process in the UK typically involves several key stages:

  1. Design and Layout: The PCB design is created using specialized software, such as Altium Designer or KiCad. The layout includes the placement of components, routing of conductive traces, and the creation of Gerber Files for manufacturing.

  2. Substrate Preparation: The substrate, usually a glass-reinforced epoxy laminate (FR-4), is cut to the required size and shape. Copper foil is then laminated onto one or both sides of the substrate.

  3. Drilling: Holes are drilled into the substrate to accommodate through-hole components and provide interconnections between layers in multi-layer PCBs.

  4. Patterning: The desired circuit pattern is transferred onto the copper foil using a photolithographic process. This involves applying a photoresist layer, exposing it to UV light through a photomask, and developing the resist to reveal the desired pattern.

  5. Etching: The exposed copper is etched away using a chemical solution, leaving only the desired conductive traces on the substrate.

  6. Plating: The holes are plated with copper to provide electrical conductivity between layers, and additional surface finishes, such as tin, gold, or nickel, may be applied to protect the copper and improve solderability.

  7. Solder Mask Application: A solder mask layer is applied to the PCB surface to protect the conductive traces and prevent solder bridging during component assembly.

  8. Silkscreen Printing: A silkscreen layer is applied to the PCB surface to add text, logos, and component identifiers for easy assembly and troubleshooting.

  9. Surface Finish Application: The final surface finish, such as HASL (Hot Air Solder Leveling), ENIG (Electroless Nickel Immersion Gold), or OSP (Organic Solderability Preservative), is applied to protect the exposed copper and enhance solderability.

  10. Electrical Testing: The manufactured PCBs undergo electrical testing to ensure they meet the required specifications and are free from defects.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a PCB-UK Supplier

When selecting a PCB manufacturer in the UK, there are several key factors to consider to ensure you receive high-quality PCBs that meet your specific requirements:

  1. Manufacturing Capabilities: Ensure that the PCB-UK supplier has the necessary equipment and expertise to manufacture the type of PCBs you require, whether single-sided, double-sided, multi-layer, flexible, or rigid-flex.

  2. Quality Control: Inquire about the supplier’s quality control processes and certifications, such as ISO 9001, ISO 14001, and UL listing. These certifications demonstrate the supplier’s commitment to maintaining high standards of quality and reliability.

  3. Turnaround Time: Consider the supplier’s lead times and their ability to meet your project deadlines. Some PCB-UK suppliers offer expedited services for time-sensitive projects.

  4. Pricing: Obtain quotes from multiple suppliers to compare pricing and ensure you are getting a competitive rate for your PCB manufacturing needs. However, be cautious of suppliers offering significantly lower prices, as this may indicate compromises in quality or service.

  5. Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ): Some PCB-UK suppliers have minimum order quantities, which may not be suitable for low-volume prototyping or small-scale production. Look for suppliers that offer low MOQs or prototype services to accommodate your needs.

  6. Design Support: If you require assistance with PCB design or layout, look for suppliers that offer design support services or have Partnerships with design firms.

  7. Customer Service: Good communication and responsive customer service are essential for a smooth PCB manufacturing experience. Look for suppliers with a proven track record of excellent customer support.

Leading PCB Manufacturers in the UK

The UK is home to several renowned PCB manufacturers that cater to various industries and applications. Some of the leading PCB-UK suppliers include:

1. PCB Train

PCB Train is a leading UK-based PCB manufacturer offering a wide range of PCB services, including single-sided, double-sided, and multi-layer PCBs. They also provide PCB assembly and design support services.

2. Ragworm

Ragworm is a well-established PCB-UK supplier with over 30 years of experience in the industry. They specialize in quick-turn prototyping and low-volume production, offering a variety of PCB types and surface finishes.

3. Eurocircuits

Eurocircuits is a European PCB manufacturer with a strong presence in the UK market. They offer a comprehensive range of PCB services, including standard and advanced PCBs, as well as PCB assembly and design support.

4. PCB Planet

PCB Planet is a UK-based PCB manufacturer known for its fast turnaround times and high-quality products. They offer a variety of PCB types, including flexible and rigid-flex PCBs, and provide PCB assembly services.

5. Hi5 Electronics

Hi5 Electronics is a leading PCB-UK supplier that offers a full range of PCB services, from prototyping to large-scale production. They specialize in high-reliability PCBs for demanding applications, such as aerospace and defense.

Manufacturer PCB Types Services Certifications
PCB Train Single-sided, Double-sided, Multi-layer PCB Assembly, Design Support ISO 9001, UL
Ragworm Single-sided, Double-sided, Multi-layer Quick-turn Prototyping, Low-volume Production ISO 9001
Eurocircuits Standard, Advanced, Flexible, Rigid-Flex PCB Assembly, Design Support ISO 9001, ISO 14001, UL
PCB Planet Single-sided, Double-sided, Multi-layer, Flexible, Rigid-Flex PCB Assembly ISO 9001, UL
Hi5 Electronics High-reliability PCBs Prototyping, Large-scale Production ISO 9001, AS9100, NADCAP

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. What is the typical lead time for PCB manufacturing in the UK?

Lead times for PCB manufacturing in the UK vary depending on the complexity of the design, the type of PCB, and the supplier’s capacity. Typical lead times range from 1-2 weeks for standard PCBs and up to 4-6 weeks for more complex designs or larger orders. Some PCB-UK suppliers offer expedited services for faster turnaround times.

2. How much does PCB manufacturing cost in the UK?

The cost of PCB manufacturing in the UK depends on several factors, including the type of PCB, the number of layers, the size of the board, the quantity ordered, and the chosen surface finish. As a rough estimate, single-sided PCBs can cost around £10-20 per board for small quantities, while multi-layer PCBs can cost £50 or more per board. It’s best to request quotes from multiple PCB-UK suppliers to compare prices and find the most cost-effective option for your project.

3. Can I get PCB assembly services from UK-based manufacturers?

Yes, many PCB-UK suppliers offer PCB assembly services in addition to PCB manufacturing. These services can include component sourcing, surface mount assembly (SMT), through-hole assembly (THT), and testing. Some suppliers even offer turnkey solutions, handling the entire process from PCB design to final product assembly.

4. What file formats are required for PCB manufacturing in the UK?

Most PCB-UK suppliers require Gerber files for PCB manufacturing. Gerber files are industry-standard files that contain all the necessary information for fabricating the PCB, including the copper layers, solder mask, silkscreen, and drill data. In addition to Gerber files, some suppliers may also request drill files, bill of materials (BOM), and pick-and-place files for PCB assembly.

5. Are there any environmental regulations for PCB manufacturing in the UK?

Yes, PCB manufacturing in the UK is subject to various environmental regulations, including the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directive and the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive. These regulations aim to minimize the use of hazardous substances in electronic products and promote the recycling and safe disposal of electronic waste. When choosing a PCB-UK supplier, ensure that they comply with these regulations and have the necessary certifications, such as ISO 14001, which demonstrates their commitment to environmental management.


The UK’s PCB manufacturing industry offers a wide range of high-quality services for businesses and individuals in need of printed circuit boards. By understanding the types of PCBs available, the manufacturing process, and the key factors to consider when choosing a PCB-UK supplier, you can ensure that your project’s PCB requirements are met with the utmost precision and reliability.

When selecting a PCB manufacturer in the UK, consider their manufacturing capabilities, quality control processes, turnaround times, pricing, minimum order quantities, design support, and customer service. By working with a reputable PCB-UK supplier, you can bring your electronic projects to life with confidence and success.