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How to Decrease PCB Fabrication and Assembly Costs While Maintaining High Quality

At Bittele Electronics, we understand it is extremely important to reduce the cost of PCB fabrication and PCB assembly for your turnkey PCB orders. Whether it is for a small volume prototype order or a high volume production run, we strive to reduce the assembly and fabrication costs of our client’s printed circuit boards without sacrificing quality or turn-time. We approach every project from an engineering point of view. This means evaluating each PCB design on a case-by-case basis to determine what features may be affecting the cost of production, and how these features might be altered without compromising the quality or functionality of the final PCBs.

First, we will address PCB fabrication costs by examining various design choices, such as blind/buried vias, vias on pads, board material, or panelization options. We can reduce PCB fabrication costs greatly if blind/buried vias or vias on SMT component pads are removed from the design. Panelization is another great way to optimize your project in terms of cost – when multiple designs are ordered together, we can look at panelizing those designs together in order to reduce the overall tooling and setup cost. In addition, we always encourage our clients to opt for ENIG surface finish on their PCBs, as it comes standard within our PCB fabrication pricing model. A misconception for reducing PCB costs are based on the size of the board and by reducing the board size, the overall cost can be reduced. Although this is normally true for medium and large boards, reducing the size of a small printed circuit board may increase the cost because it requires more precise manufacturing to produce. Similarly, decreasing the board material used (by adding slots or drill holes) can increase the cost as well. By adding large numbers of drill holes and slots, either plated or non-plated, further tooling time is required to produce the board which at a certain point can cause the price of the PCB to increase significantly.

Next, for Full Turnkey PCB orders, we will perform thorough assessment of our clients’ Bill of Materials. We will focus on the most expensive components in your BoM to determine if we can obtain the part from another authorized vendor for a lower price. Finally, we will discuss with the client if there are any cheaper substitute components they are willing to use which could cut the cost of assembling their printed circuit board. We can use our extensive network of partnerships with North American vendors to offer lower prices for components. As well, if our clients have pre-arranged pricing with their own vendors we can purchase them for the client or accept them as consigned parts. We also provide free passive parts from our stock absolutely free of charge! See our database of parts at http://parts.7pcb.com/. All remaining stock from your orders can then be stored at our production facility for future use, further decreasing the parts costs.

Finally, there are several ways we can cut down on PCB Assembly and Full Turnkey PCB Assembly cost for our clients’ PCB Assembly and Turnkey PCB projects. A common way to decrease assembly costs is to remove extremely small passive packages; switching 0402s out for 0603s can be a relatively easy change and can reduce assembly cost as much as 10 – 15%. In addition, lead-less package types such as QFNs and BGAs require extra care when assembling, to ensure that they are accurately aligned with their footprints. By swapping these components for parts with extending leads, such as QFPs, the PCB Assembly costs can be substantially reduced overall.

If are interested in receiving a quote for PCB Fabrication, PCB Assembly or Full Turnkey PCB service, you can reach us any time by telephone at 1-416-800-7540 or by email at sales@7pcb.com. Ask one of our PCB specialists about how to make sure your quote matches your budgetary targets. If you have already received a quote, you may contact your account manager to review your quote together, and determine which cost reducing options are available.

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