If you are a business person, you probably know that one of the essential things about a business is finding ways to save money. By accomplishing this feat, you can quickly develop high-quality, affordable goods and avoid losses in the long run. Moreover, if you are in the PCB industry, you probably know that price and quality go hand in hand. But, unfortunately, most people compromise on price to gain low-quality goods and vice versa. But what if there was a way to save money and still gain high-quality PCBs?
The final price of a PCB depends on a couple of factors. Therefore, if you wish to accomplish a low-cost Printed Circuit Board Assembly Process to save on the cost of your PCB, you need to consider all these factors. But which factors are these? And how much can you save in the long run?
Tips To help you Generate Affordable PCB via Low Cost PCB Assembly
Source your Printed Circuit Board from Convenient Locations
Where you purchase, your PCB will determine how much you pay for it. Hence this is a significant factor to consider.
Generally, Printed Circuit boards will sell at a higher cost in America and Europe. However, if you opt to make your PCB purchase from an Asian company, you will most likely get a fair deal. To be precise, if you find a Chinese manufacturer willing to assemble your PCB, go for it; this will save you tons of money.
Moreover, most Chinese Printed Circuit Board manufacturers guarantee fast delivery time. In most scenarios, the delivery time of a manufacturer in china is at most 24 hours. Therefore, going with this Manufacturer will also help you get your PCB in time.
Additionally, if you purchase your Printed Circuit Boards from a local manufacturer, you will save on shipping costs. Moreover, if you can easily access your manufacturer that means that you will be able to follow up on the progress of the assembly process with ease. And you can also negotiate the assembly price to get a price that suits your needs. However you have to compare prices of different local PCB manufacturers before you decide to settle on one.
Adopt Intelligent Design Strategies
For a PCB assembly process to be low-cost, the PCB’s design has to be simple. That is because complex designs take more time to manufacture, and they require more effort; hence, they cost you more.
Of course, the number and the type of PCB also influence the overall PCB assembly cost. But before you get to this point, you must go through the designing phase.
Here are a few tips to help you generate simple PCB designs:
Place Surface Mount Element on one side only to avoid multiple Assembly Lines
Most Printed Circuit Board cost estimators reveal that circuit boards bearing surface mount elements on either side of the board cost more. That is because PCBs bearing surface mount elements on one side go through a single pick-and-place iteration. However, those with components on both sides must go through two pick-and-place iterations. Hence they require twice the effort of the first type of PCB.
Therefore if you are looking for a low-cost PCB fabrication and assembly process, you can start by placing surface mount elements on one side during the design phase.
Label Designators Accordingly
Designators help technicians identify various components on a PCB. When PCB identifiers are precise and close to their corresponding parts, technicians quickly assemble your PCB.
Moreover, labeling your PCB design eliminates negative issues that tend to occur during the manual placement process due to labeling errors.
Panelize your Printed Circuit Boards
If you plan to produce your PCBs in bulk, you should panelize them during the design phase. Doing so will boost your PCB’s efficiency and also minimize PCB manufacturing costs.
Making many iterations of a Printed Circuit Board in one group tends to reduce Surface Mount Technology (SMT). In addition, doing so makes the Pick and place process easy for the pick-and-place robots.
Minimize the size of the Board
A PCB’s board size, as you would expect, significantly affects the PCB fabrication and assembly budget. Therefore, when developing Gerber files for your PCB, It would help if you had this in mind.
A large Printed Circuit Board might be simple to design and route. However, since they use more materials to build, they tend to cost more. Therefore, to lower the cost of assembling your circuit board or PCB prototype, minimize the size of your circuit Board during the designing phase.
Tips to Save more Money when you seeking PCB Assembly Service
You can also save money by utilizing a few tips to make the assembly process smoother by manipulating product requirements. Remember, a smoother assembly process tends to lower the cost of producing your PCB.
One tip that you can make use of is altering the specs of your PCB. For instance, you can opt to lower your board’s layer count to less than fourteen layers. That is because PCBs with a layer count that lies within this range tend to cost less money to produce. Hence you get to save more money.
Additionally, you can alter your board’s thickness and maintain it at a range that is above 1 mm. Boards with this thickness bear a lower cost to manufacturer.
Also, it would help if you considered utilizing standard materials such as FR4 rather than expensive options and avoid high density PCBs. Lastly, avoid tiny packages. These packages tend to be pretty expensive.
Other tips include:
Avoid Low Volume PCB Assembly
Buying your PCBs in bulk almost always guarantees you a bonus. Therefore, when making your PCB order avoid low-volume assembly runs; this will automatically cost you more.
On the other hand, for those with small projects that require a small batch of PCBs, you should opt for PCB manufacturers that deal with small quantity circuit board production. Moreover, you can also reach out to PCB manufacturers that deal with the production of prototype PCBs. These PCB assemblers and manufacturers will undoubtedly provide you with better prices even when you are purchasing low volumes of production.
Utilize the Knowledge of Suppliers
If you have a good relationship with your supplier, you can seek PCB assembly advice from them to help you save more money.
Many PCB suppliers have a lot of knowledge when it comes to PCB assembly. Therefore, using their advice, you can generate low-assembly-cost, high quality boards. Moreover, they can guide you on the best Manufacturer to utilize to gain the best deal depending on your design.
The PCB assembly Process tends to be pretty complex; hence, most Manufacturers ask for a lot of money to undertake it. However, using the tricks in this article, you can make the assembly process easier for your Manufacturer and hence negotiate better prices. Doing so will help you develop cost-efficient PCBs without compromising the board’s quality.