How to Estimate PCB Board Price?
1.1 What is a printed circuit board?
Before moving to how to calculate the PCB board price, let us confirm that you know about printed circuit boards. PCB is an electronic circuit board made up of tiny layers of copper or another conducting material. You can solder various electronic components onto its surface. It has pads or lines that make connections between different points. Figure 1 shows a printed circuit board.
1.2 PCB Board Price Composition
PCB is manufactured by going through two main steps, i.e., PCB fabrication, and PCB assembly. In PCB fabrication, manufacturers first create a bare PCB. So, the cost of this step depends upon lead time, quantity, kinds of raw materials, and the size of the PCB.
In PCB assembly, you place the electronic components on the printed circuit board. Therefore, you will require the price of these components, that can be estimated from the BOM file. PCB assembly price also depends upon several solder pads, type of assembly, and finished types.
In conclusion, the PCB board price is determined using this single formula:
PCB board price = cost of bare PCB board + cost of PCB assembly +
cost of electronics components + testing cost
In this section, we learned how to calculate the price of the PCB board. In the next section, we will tell you about what design decisions you can take to reduce PCB board price.
Design Changes to Reduce PCB Board Price
You can make the following design decisions if you want to reduce the cost of your PCB board:
Increase the time of PCB manufacturing cycle: Manufacturers often charge high for fast delivery, i.e., within 24 hours or so. Therefore, you can choose an extended delivery date that you can afford and reduce the PCB board price.
Do not insist on using leadless BGAs and QFNs: PCBs with leadless QFN and BGA packages often require X-rays, which increases the PCB board price. So, if it is not a necessity, you should opt for visible leads packages.
Select Continuous Strips or Reels: If you ask your PCB manufacturer to use 12-inch continuous strips or reels, then you will save money.
Assembly of Through-Hole parts: You can ask the manufacturer to do surface mount parts assembly as it is less expensive. You should choose a suitable and needed soldering method according to your requirements and designs. Figure 2 shows surface mounted elements on a PCB.
Tiny PCBs are expensive than Large PCBs: Small PCBs are more elaborate, more difficult to solder so that the price will be higher, and the larger size is much easier for manufacturing and assembly.
So, you can considerably save your PCB board price by keeping in mind the mentioned design decisions. In the next section, we will explain another way of reducing the PCB board price.
How to Control PCB Board Price?
Apart from design decisions, there are some other essential factors that you can control to control PCB board price according to your need. Let us walk you through them.
3.1 Keep a check on the number of layers
If you use a large number of layers in your PCB layout, then you are increasing the PCB board price. Multi-layered printed circuit boards need more material and resources for completion.
3.2 Keep a check on the size of holes in PCB
Laser drilling is used to bore smaller holes so that it will increase the cost of the PCB board. Therefore, if you are a budget person, you should try not to design smaller holes.
3.3 Reduce the completion time of your PCB board
You may have heard that time is money; this is true in this case too. If your PCB is manufactured quickly, it will also cost less. So, don’t make complex PCB layouts which require more time to produce.
3.4 Consider the used material quality
Quality of materials that are used for PCB assembly also positively effects the PCB board price.
3.5 Keep in check the material thickness
The thickness of materials that are used for PCB assembly can also contribute to the cost of the PCB board. Generally, copper is used for making electrical connections. And, Oz measures the amount of copper that is needed. So, if Oz is higher, the PCB board price will also rise in the end.
3.6 PCB board standard
If the grading of the PCB board is higher, it will cost more. So, keep a check on its standard.
3.7 Color of Soldermask
You may have seen that almost all PCB boards exhibit green color. Do you know why? Because it is cheap as it is a standard color of solder mask. Do not choose other colors if it is not a necessity. Figure 3 shows a blue-colored PCB. Can you tell if it is costlier than a green one?
PCB Cost Drivers in China
According to researchers, labor and material costs are the two factors that are increasing PCB board price in China. We will share the results of research that considered 2-4-6 layered PCBs for testing.
Since 2007, China’s central government is steadily increasing the minimum pay of labors in different departments. So, this also affects the pay level of the educated and experienced workers in the PCB industry. Thus, this, in turn, increases the price of the PCB board. Figure 4 demonstrates workers assembling PCBs by hand in a PCB manufacturing company.
4.2 PCB Material
For the last five years, primary manufacturing industries have reported that circumstances have forced them to increase material costs in 2017. Presently, the cost of copper foil will be the first factor to increase the price of PCB boards. That is also due to material shortages. After this, the resin will follow the same trajectory.
So, in this section, we briefly explained the two factors affecting PCB board price in China. In the next section, we will tell you how to use an online PCB board price estimator.
How to use an online PCB board price estimator?
You will need to enter data in some mandatory fields embedded in an online PCB board price tool. Generally, you will need to fill in the number of layers, thickness & size of the PCB, number of boards, solder mask color, copper weight/thickness, impedance control, routing, etc. So, after adding all these necessary details, you can get an online quote of your PCB board.
However, PCB board price estimators do not usually include any shipping costs. And, you will know about the exact total cost after uploading the files needed for PCB manufacturing. Moreover, it is also vital that you upload the files in the format required by the manufacturers.
Figure 5 shows the information that you need to add onto WellPCB website to get the instant quote. Does not it look super easy to use their online PCB board price estimator? Furthermore, in comparison to other firms, WellPCB manufactures quality PCB boards at a reasonable price. This will save you time and money.
We know that engineers are looking for PCB boards that are both cost effective and of high quality. You want to know how you can control certain factors to change PCB board price according to your demand. You also to understand how you can calculate the PCB board price.
In this article, we have answered all of these questions and more. Hopefully, now you know how to manipulate PCB board price and how to get instant quotes online. Still, if you have queries of any kind, you can contact us straightaway.
WellPCB is known to provide top-notch customer care and service no matter where you are residing in the globe. You can put online order on our website to get PCB boards at an attractive price.