A printed circuit board is crucial for many instruments used by industries. Even hobbyists can order PCBs for their own projects. PCBs can be affordable, but various factors may increase their prices. Those planning to spend on PCBs, especially first-time buyers, must know these elements to have a clearer idea regarding prices.
Number of Layers
Manufacturers produce single, double and multilayer PCBs. As a rule of thumb, having more panel layers translates to higher prices. More materials are used in producing double and multilayer PCBs, which prompts service providers to charge higher fees for these orders.
Aside from materials, creating more layers require extra labor and careful handling. Companies compensate on their offers by adding extra fees on their base prices.
Number of Boards to Produce
PCB prices may go up or down depending on order cases. Ordering one PCB board may cost more than expected since providers will only devote their time for one board, which have different layouts from other clients’ orders. The good thing about single board prices is these are still relatively cheaper than ordering PCBs in bulk.
Bulk PCB orders cost more since companies will use more materials. Furthermore, they need more hands working on the order to ensure timely delivery. Despite the production costs affecting the price, clients ordering in bulk still have opportunities to save money. PCB providers appreciate the business and may give discounts to their clients, particularly if they have been ordering for some time.
Printed Circuit Board Size
PCB sizes also affect price. Clients set the size of boards needed per project. Larger boards require more materials to use than smaller-sized boards. Customers must set their price expectation according to the board size required.
A printed circuit board doesn’t only have circuit lines embedded on the panel. It also comes with holes, which also contribute to the overall price. The number of holes and their sizes affect production procedures. Companies utilize Numerical Control drilling equipment. This expensive machine can further increase production costs. More holes mean longer production time using this machine (aside from requiring specialized labor).
Drilling hole sizes require machine modification from time to time. The drilling machines must be re-tooled to produce the required hole size. The retooling process is time-consuming and affects production cost. Therefore, more holes of varying sizes can boost production fees. Experts recommend selecting nominal hole diameter differences to slash off production charges.
Board Laminate Kind
Laminates used for boards are also different in terms of characteristics. FR-2 laminates, which are often used for consumer electronics circuit boards, are cheaper. Companies making consumer electronics stick to FR-2 laminates to maintain cheaper prices.
In contrast FR-4 surpasses FR-2’s quality. However, using FR-4 costs more because of its features. Companies manufacturing high-end electronics invest on these laminates for superior board quality.
Represented in percentage, panel utilization refers to the number of circuit boards in an array that a panel can hold. Higher utilization percentage decreases the order’s price. Those in charge of printed circuit board design must consider strategic methods to maximize the panel and save money.
Clients use PCBs for a wide array of projects. They may have specific requirements to suit their own projects. Requesting additional board features can boost fees due to the need for additional materials and specific handling procedures.
Knowing what the project requires can help clients design their printed circuit board to save money. Knowing these points can aid PCB designers in optimizing their panels and limiting the features to what a project requires. Moreover, they can consult PCB design experts for cheaper production without compromising board quality and function.
Printed circuit board have become an important part of a wide range of machineries, computing devices, automobiles, appliances, and other electronic gadgets.