These days, no electronic device would function without printed circuit boards (PCBs). They allow electronic components to be mounted and connected and are, thus, essential to the functioning of electronic devices. PCBs are normally mass-produced, although there are occasions where a custom PCB is necessary. The pricing of a bespoke PCB and the variables that affect it will be covered in this article.
Custom printed circuit board prices are affected by a number of variables. Some of the most important are as follows:
The size of the PCB plays a significant role in establishing the price. The greater the size of the board, the greater the cost because more material is needed. The manufacturing process becomes more complicated and expensive as boards grow in size.
The number of connections on a PCB is directly proportional to the number of layers it has. The more the number of layers, the greater the number of connections, but also the greater the complexity of the production process and the higher the price.
The price of a printed circuit board (PCB) is affected by its construction. PCBs typically employ FR4, but more expensive materials like Rogers and aluminum are also available.
Design complexity and the amount of components on the board are further factors that affect pricing. Complex designs are more expensive to produce since they need more time and labor to make.
The lead time is the duration of the PCB manufacturing process. You may have to pay more for rush fabrication of the PCB if time is of the essence.
The price of a custom printed circuit board (PCB) is highly sensitive to the aforementioned variables. A custom printed circuit board (PCB) can cost anywhere from a few dollars to several hundred dollars. Some ballpark figures, adjusted for board size and complexity, are as follows:
1. The price per square inch for single-layer PCBs that aren't too big can be as low as $1 or $2.
2. Larger, more complicated PCBs with multiple layers can cost as much as $20 per square inch.
3. Expensive high-density Boards with complex layouts might run $50 to $100 per square inch.
It's not uncommon for flexible PCBs and other types of customized PCBs to cost $500 or more per square inch.
This time, I would like to list the cost reduction methods of electronic products.
The first thing that comes to mind is lowering the cost of the parts that go into the product.
It's easy because you can use cheap ones with the same or higher specs.
However, depending on the parts you choose, you may have a hard time later, so you need to consider it carefully.
・Parts nearing the end of production: If there is no more distribution in the market, it is necessary to change to another part, and the design must be changed.
・Parts with large variations in specifications: For example, there is no problem at room temperature, but the specifications suddenly deteriorate at low temperatures.
・Purchasing from dubious trading companies: Recently, it seems that counterfeit ICs and defective products are being sold without hesitation. Be sure to buy from a reputable company.
Assembly of electronic products includes substrate mounting, wiring, and case assembly.
Of these, I would like to talk about board mounting. When it comes to mass-produced products, most of the costs involved in board mounting are personnel and equipment costs.
In other words, it should be devised so that the implementation can be completed in as short a time as possible.
Instead of conventional DIP parts (electronic parts with leads), surface-mounted parts are now mainstream. Surface mount components are more suitable for machine mounting and can be mounted in a short time.
If the board size permits, mounting all components on one side will reduce costs. Single-sided mounting requires only one reflow, resulting in a significant reduction in time. Also, metal masks only need to be manufactured on one side.
If the board size allows, it is safer to avoid parts that are difficult to mount, such as BGA and QFN. Since this is an important part of the final inspection, the inspection time may be longer. In addition, the decrease in manufacturing yield will ultimately result in higher assembly costs.
Parts used for machine mounting are basically reels and trays. Cut tapes and loose parts are expensive because they require human intervention.
For products with low shipment volumes, development costs can be a large portion of the overall cost.
In that case, it is wise to reduce the development cost even if it means sacrificing the product unit price (parts cost, assembly cost, etc.). You can reduce evaluation time and trial-and-error time by using a circuit that you already use in your company or from a reliable source (such as a recommended circuit in a datasheet).
Also, it may be a good idea to make the circuit configuration that can be said to be over-spec.
It is necessary to make a well-balanced selection that raises parts and assembly costs and lowers development costs.
If you change the processing performed by the digital circuit to the analog circuit, you may be able to reduce the cost unexpectedly.
Of course, the opposite is also true. For example, when configuring a voltage comparison circuit, which is better, digital or analog?
Using an ADC with a built-in microcomputer reduces the number of peripheral components, but 16-bit is necessary, so the microcomputer ranks higher...Actually, it can be achieved with a cheap comparator, analog circuit, digital circuit depending on the required specifications and surrounding circuit configuration Which one is suitable will change.
Analog circuits and digital circuits each have advantages and disadvantages, but using each circuit skillfully without being bound by preconceived notions can lead to cost reductions.
As with analog and digital circuits, there are also hardware and software issues.
For example, switch chattering processing can be handled by either hardware or software. If it can be realized with software, the cost will be reduced, so first of all, if you throw away your preconceptions and crush the contradictions one by one, you will see the problem.
There is no particular problem if the hardware and software development is done by one person, but if the software shop is different, the work will increase, so prior negotiation is essential.
Recently, module boards with a certain degree of functionality are sold at surprisingly low prices. Although the board looks bad, it can be cheaper to put the module board on top of the board.
In particular, recently popular IOT products are often equipped with radio circuits such as WIFI and Bluetooth, but when using products that transmit and receive radio waves globally, they are subject to the "Radio Law", and certification tests are required in advance. It is mandatory to receive
Therefore, by using a WIFI module or Bluetooth module that has passed the certification test as it is, this troublesome test may be unnecessary.
Size, complexity, number of layers, materials, and lead time all play a role in determining how much a bespoke PCB will set you back. You must think about all of these things before requesting a quote for a bespoke PCB. It's also crucial to partner with a reliable manufacturer that can deliver custom PCBs of the highest possible quality.