When you are into PCB manufacturing, one of the most important things is to figure out the cost incurred from idea generation to a finished piece. This way, it would be easy for you to charge accordingly from your clients. PCB manufacturing is an extensive and time-consuming process that depends upon multiple factors, like product performance, design complexity, type of project and complexity. Here, the worth mentioning thing is the selection of labor because it can bring a visible difference in the cost. If you go for low-skilled labor, you end up paying a small amount of money as labor cost or vice versa.
However, on average, the market has reported the price of PCB assembly to be between $0.02 and $0.05 per sq. in. The actual amount depends upon the skill-level of labor and design complexity.
Why Does It Matter?
Cutting down costs on the quality of material and labor skill may be tempting for manufacturers working on a limited budget, they cannot guarantee the finished products to compete with the versions made at a bit higher cost. Why? The answer is quite simple- there would be a significant difference in their quality, performance and most importantly, reliability and longevity.
Factors Affecting the Cost of PCB Manufacturing
There are many elements that can increase or decrease the cost to manufacture a PCB assembly. Before moving head to plan execution, you have to know the following factors to keep a control on your cost of manufacturing:
- Lead Time: It refers to the production and shipping time of the finished product. There is an inverse relation between pricing and lead time- the lesser the time, the greater will be the pricing.
- Quality: Quality is another form of how well you have worked on design and how well it performs. When a client contacts you to work on a PCB assembly and provides a design, you have to start by finding out its number in the specified product type followed by the assembly method your client will be using. This way, you can have a better picture of the type of PCB assembly to be manufactured.
- Functionality: It doesn’t matter how careful you would be, something wrong always happens during the manufacturing process. So, in order to keep control over it, you have to conduct multiple functionality tests. You have to make sure that the finished products have higher tolerance levels, lesser production delays and need of rework. This way, you can reduce the number of cycles or designs made into the products, which can eventually add up into your profitability.
- Quantity: Since the cost per unit depends upon the number of units ordered, it’s better to convince your clients to place big order so that you both can get monetary benefits.
- Technology: As a matter of fact, PCB assemblies are incomplete without technology. While every manufacturer uses something different so that they can get an edge over competitors, there are two most commonly used in the market:
- Surface-Mount Technology: Least expensive because it uses automation for work
- Through-Hole Technology: Uses more manpower and therefore, higher employee cost
- Packaging Cost: It’s your responsibility to ship fragile electronic components safe and secure. However, it also depends upon the type of PCB manufactured. Some PCB assemblies might need to pack with their connected electrical parts while others can be delivered with electrical parts being separately packed. The latter doesn’t need delicate packaging due to which, its overall cost would be lower.
Cost of PCB assembly in bulk
The bulk PCB assembly cost is closely related to the number of layers of the circuit board, the number of customizations, the sheet metal, and the surface coating process , the minimum line width, minimum line spacing, minimum hole diameter, number of holes, and shape processing methods of the circuit board. So, how does the circuit board industry calculate the price of PCB manufacturing in bulk?
Small batches PCB assembly cost
PCB manufacturers will offer the unit price per square centimeter according to the different layers and processes of the PCB.
Customers only need to convert the size of the PCB into centimeters, and then multiply the unit price per square centimeter to get the unit price of the PCB .
This method is very suitable for small batches of PCBs manufacturing with common processes.
PCB single board, FR4 material, 2000 PCS order, the unit price is 0.03 RMB/square centimeter, the PCB size is 10cm*10cm, the production quantity is 2000PCS, the unit price is equal to 10*10*0.03=3 RMB/PCS.
High Volume PCB manufacturing cost
If the raw material of PCB is copper clad laminate, and the manufacturer of copper clad laminate will follow some fixed sizes for sale in the market.
PCB manufacturers will calculate the copper clad laminate utilization rate of the corresponding batch of circuit boards according to the parameters of PCB, such as the number of layers, process, and quantity, and then calculate the material cost, add the corresponding labor cost etc,and then offer the PCB manufacturing price.
Mould fee and test fee
Regardless of whether it is a high-volume or small-volume PCB manufacturing, there is a mold fee and a test fee for bulk PCB quotations.
When the PCB is made in large quantities, it is required to open the mold and punch the board, so there is a set of mold costs.
PCB manufacturer will charge the cost of open mold ,the test frame for testing in batches, and the corresponding test frame fee .
However,PCB manufacturer will refund the mold fee and the test frame fee when the annual order payment for a single board reaches a certain amount.
Component purchasing cost
Another is the cost of component procurement.The PCBA manufacturer purchases the components according to the BOM list you provide. When purchasing components, due to the loss of materials such as resistors and capacitors and the loss of SMT chips, it will cover about 5% of the material loss. Since PCBA assembly manufacturers have long-term cooperation with component suppliers, it will reduce the cost lower：
PCB SMT chip processing cost(SMD chip + DIP plug-in)
To calculate the SMT chip processing cost, it depends on your processing volume. Low volume PCB assembly usually require additional engineering fees.Next, multiply the points by the point unit price.
The unit price of the patch point is between 0.01-0.015 RMB. The number of points is calculated according to 2 feet of SMT patch material and 1 point of 1 foot of DIP plug-in, and the two can be multiplied.
The price of SMT chip processing is almost clearly on the market, and the algorithm of how much a point is very simple.
For example, a quotation from a PCB factory:
2 feet of SMD patch material is 1 point;
0402 components are calculated at RMB 0.018 per point,
0603-1206 components are calculated at RMB 0.015 per point;
1 foot of the plug-in material is 1 point;
each point is calculated at RMB 0.015;
4 pins of socket type are 1 point;
each point is calculated at RMB 0.015;
Common IC, 4 pins are 1 point;
each point is calculated at RMB 0.015;
For dense pin IC, 2 pins are 1 point;
each point is calculated at RMB 0.015;
2 feet of BGA is 1 point;
each point is calculated at RMB 0.02;
Machine-mounted large materials are calculated according to the volume of the components doubled;
The additional fee is calculated at RMB 20 per hour.
SMT chip processing quotation includes BOM list, PDF patch image, sample image, etc., which can provide a more accurate quotation.
SMT chip processing is to mount SMD components on the pads of the PCB. Some PCB manufacturers count one pad as one point, but there are also cases where two pads are counted as one point.
If you want to calculate in a more simple way, if a pad is calculated as a point, customers only need to multiply the unit price according to the number of pads on their own PCB.
The next step is to determine the unit price of the solder joint, if you need to know the SMT processing cost.
PCBA is a PCB with components assembled. The current assembly component technology is commonly divided into two types, SMT patch and DIP plug-in technology, and SMT is currently the most popular technology and process in the electronic assembly industry.
SMT technology is a kind of surface mount components that are packaged in a matrix arrangement without pins or short leads or balls on the surface of the PCB circuit board or the surface of other substrates, and are soldered by reflow soldering or dip soldering.
PCB SMT processing cost:
Man-hours: PCB layout, number of patches, etc.;
Materials: solder paste, flux, glue, cleaning agent, etc.;
Equipment: The cost depends on the complexity of the product, which requires electricity and inert gas;
Labor: There are not a lot of SMT labor cost , about 3-4 people per line;
Others: The workshop needs anti-static, installation of air conditioners, ventilation and gas exchange, etc.
SMT chip processing cost: points X unit price of one point + solder paste, AOI inspection fee + download calibration fee + composite board cutting fee + stencil fee.
In SMT placement, charge by point + stencil + solder paste cost + download calibration + cutting board cost is a very classic algorithm.
The unit price of solder joints in the market is different now, ranging from 0.008 to 0.03 RMB per solder joint, which depends on the technological difficulty of SMT processing and the SMT manufacturer’s SMT quality control requirements and capabilities.
Manufacturers with slightly higher chip prices will have quality control processes and can provide better delivery cycles and services.
In general,the cost of PCB samples is based on the number of items. Orders within 100 pieces are SMT proofing orders, the difficulty of the board, the time to do the program, and the time to switch on the machine are different, and the cost are also different, ranging from 600 to 8,000 RMB.
After the order of small batch SMT placement processing is calculated by the number of points, the types of board components, the time to debug the placement machine, and the difficulty of making the first piece will be charged with a little start-up fee.
SMT patch needs to use steel mesh that is depends on the size of the PCB board, different types of steel mesh .
According to the precision of the chip on the PCBA board,we can choose the electro-polished stencil or the ordinary stencil. The cost of stencils for different types of stencils is about 100~350 RMB.Of course, customers can also provide stencils themselves.
Based on the above, the calculation of SMT chip processing cost is SMT chip processing cost = point * 1 point unit price (processing fee includes: red glue, solder paste, AOI inspection, etc.), and stencil fee is also required.
In addition, if the customer needs to apply conformal paint, then the cost of conformal paint needs to be added. Of course, special cases are also calculated separately.
PCBA testing and assembly cost
The cost of PCBA testing mainly includes testing labor cost , attachment and auxiliary materials.
The cost of PCB testing labor is calculated on an hourly cost. The cost of test attachment mainly depends on market conditions. The auxiliary materials are mainly oscilloscopes and computers.
We can get the PCBA test cost when adding them together, So, above four parts total cost is the PCBA cost.
Now that you have basic understanding about the cost of PCB manufacturing, it would be easy to estimate the total amount for a project, irrespective of the design complexity and other factors.