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How to Control Your PCB Cost?

Peter / 2021-03-04

Contents [hide]

Why We Need To Control PCB Cost

Recently, the PCB factory continuously sent the price increase notice, because of the price increase of raw materials, higher processing cost, etc., how to calculate and control the cost of PCB board? The diversity of PCB processing price has its intrinsic inevitable factors, control the cost of PCB, accounting for the board of cost price, Spend less money to finish your project, then your boss will be very happy.

If you ask engineers and technicians, one thing they will tell you is that reducing the cost of PCB assembly operations is vital. If not controlled, the cost of PCB can go extremely high. There are multiple factors and elements that encompass the assembly and composition of PCBs. That is why controlling PCB cost is best done at the earliest phases of the board and its design. The moment the board gets printed, the factors that help facilitate cost control are limited. There's not much you can do with a product that's already finished. You can only control the cost at the initial stages. So, controlling PCB cost is vital since it helps to reduce the price of the final product.

PCB Board Cost Composition

Generally, there are two major steps involved in PCB manufacturing and they include: PCB assembly and PCB fabrication. In the fabrication stage, manufacturers get involved in the manufacturing of a bare printed circuit board. The cost of this particular step depends on quantity, the size of the printed circuit board being created, lead time, and the type of raw materials used. When it comes to PCB assembly, the electronic components are placed on the PCB. The prices of these components contribute to the cost. The price involved in PCB assembly also depends on the following: the kind of assembly and solder pads.

Factors That Would Affect PCB Manufacturing Cost

The following is to provide a general price range for reference, and of course, the price is directly related to the manufacturer.

1. The different materials used in PCB cause the diversity of prices

Ordinary double panel as an example, the sheet generally have FR4 (born yi ji, built deep, countries, three kinds of price top-down), thickness varies from 0.2 mm to 3.0 mm, oz copper thickness from 0.5 to 3 oz is different, all of these on the sheet a creates a huge price difference. In the case of welding ink, ordinary thermosetting oil and light-sensitive green oil also have a certain price difference.

2. Different surface treatment processes create a variety of prices

Common include: OSP (antioxidant), lead spray tin, lead-free spray tin (environmental protection), gold plating, sinker and some combination process, etc. The above process price is more and more expensive.

3. The price diversity caused by different difficulty of PCB itself

Each of the two circuit boards has 1,000 holes, and the diameter of one plate aperture is greater than 0.2mm and the hole diameter of the other plate is less than 0.2mm.

If the two kinds of circuit boards are the same, but the line width is different, one is greater than 4mil, and the other is less than 4mil, which can also cause different production costs.

Secondly, there are some designs that do not follow the normal process, such as half hole, blind hole, intraday hole, and keypad printing of carbon oil.

4. Different thickness of copper foil causes price diversity

Common copper platinum is: 18um (1/2oz), 35um (1OZ), 70um (2OZ), 105um (3OZ), 140um (4OZ), etc., and the above copper foil thickness is more and more expensive.

5. Customer quality acceptance criteria

Commonly used: IPC2, IPC3, enterprise standard, military standard, etc., the higher the standard, the higher the price.

6. Mould fee and test rack

  1. Mould cost, sample and small batch plate factory is commonly used form of drilling and milling, won't charge other edge milling, when doing mass requires open mould plate, so it has a set of mould fees, board factory general offer up 1000 yuan.

  2. Test fee: the sample is generally used for flying needle test, and the board factory generally collects the test fee of 100-400 yuan;

The test rack will be tested in batches, and the price of the test rack will be between 1000-1500 yuan.

7. Differences in prices caused by different payment methods

The shorter the payment method, such as cash payment, will be lower.

8. Order quantity/delivery time

  1. The smaller the quantity, the more expensive it is, because even if you do 1PCS, the factory will have to do the engineering materials, and the film will not be necessary

  2. Delivery: deliver PCB factory data to complete (gerber data, plate layer, sheet, plate thickness, surface treatment do, ink color, color characters and some special requirements to write clear)

Through the above it is not hard to see, the diversity of PCB processing price has its intrinsic inevitable factors, this article only can provide a rough price range, for reference, the specific price, of course, is to contact manufacturers directly.

How to Control PCB Board Cost

There are various avenues that you can explore to control PCB cost. With these ways, it will be possible to reduce the cost of the final product. Here are viable ways of controlling the cost of PCB board.

  • PCB Design

The ability to control the cost of PCB depends on the capacity to design the boards optimally. This involves making design decisions that will help to reduce the final cost. For example, if the manufacturing time increases, this will go a long way to control the cost. Manufacturers usually charge higher for PCBs that are manufactured faster than those that take a longer time. Moreover, you should opt for larger PCBs instead of smaller ones. Smaller PCBs are more costly because they are not easy to solder and it requires a complicated manufacturing process. For a reduced price, it's wise to go for the larger ones. These are some of the design decisions you can make to control PCB cost. Thus, in order to reduce the cost of a PCB board, it is important to make wise design decisions.

  • The Shape of the Board

The higher the complexity of a board, the higher the cost involved. If a product designer uses a complicated shape for a printed circuit board, it ends up costing more. Essentially, a complicated design deems it necessary to use equipment that can work on the complexity involved, and this leads to additional costs.

  • Holes and Rings

Holes and rings are necessary during the manufacturing process. However, the type of holes and rings that one uses determine the cost of a board. Larger holes are the best for PCB design and manufacturing because they don't need much exactness during fabrication. On the other hand, small holes require precision and control. In the end, this will require special equipment in order to come up with the final product. The disadvantage of small holes is that it contributes to a higher cost during the production of PCBs.

  • The Type of Material

The type of material used is also important when it comes to the control of PCB cost. Whereas there are different materials to use in PCB manufacturing, not all materials will help in the reduction of costs. These are the factors that one should consider when it comes to the type of material: flexibility, resistance to temperature, and tensile strength. An example of a good material to use is FR-4.


PCB boards that are of top-notch quality and cost effective as well are valuable. Now that you've known that there are factors that determine the cost of PCBs and how to control these factors, it is possible to have a cost effective, yet high quality PCB board. The bottom-line is that it is important to control the cost of a PCB board because it can be so high if certain factors are not put into consideration.

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