If your business needs printed circuit boards, you’re going to want to get quality service for an affordable price. That might sound obvious, but PCB fabrication and assembly can be quite expensive if you’re not careful. That’s especially true when ordering low volume or prototype PCB assembly. However, if you’re careful with your design and take certain actions to adjust your request, your PCB assembly quote should be lower than you expected.
What Will Impact Your PCB Assembly Quote?
There are any number of factors that go into the cost of prototype PCBs, and the final price can vary greatly from project to project. That being said, there are some common factors to keep in mind, especially if you’re trying to keep costs down.
Here are some things to consider before you start looking for PCB assembly quotes:
- Number of Layers — Most multilayer boards feature between four and 10 layers, but the most complex circuits will include up to 42 layers. If you request a significant amount of layers, the quote will most likely increase accordingly.
- PCB Size — For the majority of fields and applications, standard PCB sizes will suffice. If you’re in need of exponentially larger PCBs, you can expect a higher quote. However, and this might sound counterintuitive, if you use the largest panel size available, you’ll be lessening the cost of assembly because there will be little to no downtime for pick and place.
- Thickness — PCB trace thickness is measured in ounces of copper. Although certain PCB designers use 1oz or 2oz copper, many manufacturers can provide up to 6oz thickness.
- Complexity of Design — When you start making custom and complicated requests for certain specifications, you’ll end up raising your quote. Some of these advanced specifications are helpful, but it’s important to realize they could increase your cost. Be sure they’re absolutely necessary.
- Lead Time — The best circuit board assembly services can complete the majority of PCB requests in a short amount of time. That being said, if you require an extremely short lead time, you can expect to see that reflected in your quote.
- Ask for Help — Many engineers are hard-wired with a problem-solving, I-can-figure-this-out attitude. While that might make you a great engineer, asking for input and feedback should be a crucial part of your design process. Whether you ask a friend, colleague, or your PCB manufacturer, don’t hesitate to ask someone to review your design before you place a costly order.
While many of these factors will affect your initial quote, there will also be many more opportunities for cost saving down the line. Once you’ve finalized your design, you can save money by ordering PCBs in volume from the same service that delivered your prototype.
If you’re looking for quick-turn PCB assembly and want to get an affordable PCB assembly quote, contact Advanced Assembly today.