PCB manufacturing is often costly as it involves lots of processes. Especially, some factors increase the cost, such as a large production, PCB with many vias, very small holes and traces, and a circuit board loaded with components. But, the increase in cost is non-linear, if the board quantity is double, it won’t make the total fabrication cost double. As PCB manufacturing involves both fixed and variable costs. The price per PCB reduces with a reduced order due to the tooling cost involved. Fixed costs in PCB Board Assembly include:
Different pricing strategies can help you reduce assembly costs. PCB design also affects assembly cost, so focus on it. Likewise, you should select the right manufacturer, in this case. Let’s discuss some proven ways and strategies which can help you have an economical PCB.
Consider Cost While Designing a PCB
Design is the first step of any PCB, so you should do it carefully in terms of cost. You must see if your design will have standard manufacturing or not. The DFM is important in this case, as it guides you about assembly costs and how to reduce them. The following design considerations can help you have a low-cost PCB.
You can also use other design strategies to reduce the PCB cost according to your experience.
BOM is Mandatory
You must have the bill of materials ready before PCB manufacturing and smt assembly. The BOM consists of materials, components, and assembly items. Makes sure that BOM has all important entries, such as
You can also use the already available BOM template provided by assemblers and it can also help you get the right quotation. Don’t forget the component replacement while preparing the BOM, as advanced electronics result in the rapid upgrades of PCB components. The assembly time might prolong if you don’t find the replacement item, so they need an evaluation before time. A fast quote can help you have your PCB assembly faster.
Know the Component Distributors
You must know where to get cost-effective and durable components for a circuit board. You can also trust the manufacturer or assembler in this regard, as they know how to get cheap components at a wholesale price. Eventually, you can have a PCB within your budget. You can also ask the manufacturer to give you the invoice for all purchases.
Learn To Manage the PCB Volume
More PCBs mean a cost-effective assembly, as you can assemble them all with the same tools. Your order can be low, medium, or high, depending on your requirements.
Manage the Lead Time
Different assemblers calculate the lead time differently, and you should know what is more effective. You should also know if PCB manufacturing will start the same day when you pay or if it’s the order day, or else. Generally, a longer lead time will reduce the PCB price.
Check For Inspection Costs
Both designers and manufacturers test a PCB to see if it works well. If you are getting a testing service, be aware that its price will affect the final price of the board. Generally, the PCB inspection increases its final cost but you can control it by getting your product inspection service from the manufacturer. Individual PCB inspecting companies can cost you more, besides, it involves more effort.
You can have a product test according to your needs and design standards to ensure that it’s exactly what you want. Some inspection methods are as below:
You can choose whatever suits you according to the nature of the Printed Circuit Board like it can be simple or complex. In the case of high-volume production, you can inspect the initial or first article before a full-volume inspection. As it reveals the issues that you can resolve in the beginning and prevent big damage. Eventually, less money would waste, and you will have an effective circuit board. It would be better to have a long-term PCB assembler, instead of changing it quite often.
Select An Economical Assembler
What Drives The Fabrication Cost Of Printed Circuit Boards?
There are some core factors that drive the fabrication cost of a PCB, so you should consider them while calculating the manufacturing price, such as:
What Drives The Assembly Cost Of Printed Circuit Boards?
Similarly, some factors drive the assembly cost of a PCB, and you should consider them while calculating the manufacturing price, such as:
However, these strategies don’t end here, as there are still so many other factors that can affect the total price of a PCB. You can also follow your own experiences in this case. You can easily manage the total cost of the circuit board if you know each process well, from design to assembly and the selection of the material.
Many factors can increase the PCB cost, but you can reduce it by following various strategies. Hand assembly can cost you more than machine assembly, especially in larger productions. The type of assembly also matters, such as SMD can cost you 50% higher than a through-hole PCB assembly. You should also select an assembler according to your budget without sacrificing the quality of the circuit board.
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