How to calculate PCBA cost?

The assembly cost of a PCB is something all engineers must know before starting a project, which will help you plan the entire project. From the perspective of our suppliers, letting customers understand this knowledge is not only our responsibility but also reduces the time for communication in this regard.

If you choose turnkey PCBA assembly services, the cost drivers include the following: PCB bare board manufacturing cost Electronic Component + SMT and DIP Assembly Fee + PCBA Test + Package

The assembly cost of PCB is a priority for many people when choosing a PCB assembly manufacturerMany people will choose to use the PCB assembly cost calculator, here FS Technology will explain to you “how to calculate PCB assembly cost” in the form of text. By reading this article, you will get more benefits of small volume PCBA assembly from Chinese companies.

Factors affecting the cost of PCB assembly

PCB manufacturing cost

Circuit board material selection:

I believe this is very easy to understand, even if you buy the same style of clothes of different materials, the price is not the same. Ranking the prices of our acceptable circuit board types in the same situation: Ceramic PCB > Aluminum > Rogers > FR-4 > Cem-3.

PCB Process costs:

Different PCB production processes will cause different costs. For example, gold-plated plates and tin-sprayed plates, gong (milling) plates and beer (punching) plates for making shapes, using silk-screen lines and dry film lines, etc., will form different costs. 

Difficulty in manufacturing circuit boards:

Even though the materials are the same, the PCB manufacturing steps are the same, the difficulty of the PCB itself will cause different costs. For example, if there are 1000 holes on two kinds of circuit boards, and the hole diameter of one board is greater than 0.6 mm and the hole diameter of the other board is less than 0.6 mm, different drilling prices will be formed; if the two kinds of circuit boards are the same, but the line width and line spacing Different, one is greater than 0.2 mm, and the other is less than 0.2 mm, which will also cause different production prices. Because the difficult board has a higher scrap rate, the cost will inevitably increase. 

Layers and Dimensions:

It is very logical that the size and number of layers of the PCB affects the amount of material and the difficulty of manufacturing the PCB. The unit price is about 40% higher from 1 to 2 layers. In addition, the cost of your entire project is not just price, but also the lead time will be longer. The price of the PCBA board is little affected by the size of the board. The following picture is a comparison of two circuit boards: the left picture is a small but more expensive main control board, and the right picture is a larger but cheaper power board.

                                expensive control board                                                     cheap power PCB

Size comparison of control board and power board

Customer’s special request:

The level of customer requirements will directly affect the yield of the PCB factory. For example, a board according to ipc-a-600e, class1 requires a 98% pass rate, but according to class3 requirements, it may only have a 90% pass rate, resulting in different costs for the board factory.

Lead Time:

It goes without saying that time is money. When we receive your order, we will schedule it immediately and estimate how long it will take from production to delivery. If your item is very urgent and needs to receive the goods in a short time, then you need to pay some expedited fees. Because we need to put some existing orders on hold and invest more manpower and time to fulfill your order on time. This expedited fee is partly used to pay workers for overtime and partly to compensate for orders on hold.

Components Cost

Components cost is the main cost in PCBA Processing. FS Technology purchases components according to BOM. That is to say, the cost of this part is mainly dependent on your project, and if your project requires components with high TG, thermal rating or low dielectric constant, then more expenditure will be required. Fortunately, FS Technology advocates a win-win situation and has a team of designers. When we receive your BOM purchase form, we will advise you on replacement components to help save costs on your project (Under the premise that the quality is not affected).

In the values of FS Technology, quality is always more important than price. The quality of components greatly affects the performance and service life of PCBA boards, especially in ICs or integrated circuits. In addition, high-quality components are a prerequisite to support complex circuits. In our past services, we have encountered many customers who cannot measure price and quality, but we have always advocated that quality should be the first priority.

Assembly Technology Affects PCBA Cost

SMT and THT costs are calculated by the number of pad points, the more pad points, the higher the price. The price of THT is higher than that of SMT. If you want to save project overhead, you can use SMT technology instead of THT.

SMT assembly:

SMT is the most mainstream assembly technology at present. SMT allows more components to be mounted on the same circuit board. It can be fully automated placement so its price is cheaper. However, SMT can lead to the need for through-hole drilling to mount additional surface mount devices (SMDs), which can lead to soaring costs.

THT assembly:

THT is a traditional plug-in technology, more people call it DIP assembly. With the development of technology, THT has been gradually replaced by SMT due to people’s pursuit of small-volume equipment and automated production. If only these two technical means are discussed, the price of THT is higher, it can only be installed manually, and large-scale automated production cannot be realized (According to the strength of the processing plant, it is not absolute). Therefore, more manpower and labor costs need to be invested.

Stencil Cost

Assembly pcb cost also depends on stencilA stencil is required to print solder paste on the PCB pads during the PCB assembly process, and it is a basic tool used in PCB assembly. This cost is usually a one-time cost as long as the manufacturing files have no any change. 

PCB Assembly Inspection Cost

PCBA testing accompanies this production and assembly process and is an important step in ensuring product quality. In order to provide higher quality circuit boards, there is no charge for general testing services, but if you need additional testing services, you will need to pay a fee. This cost depends on the complexity of the test process and test time. In order to make it smoother for you to order PCBA services, FS Technology has organized the following contents about PCB assembly inspection fees for you:

  • Visual inspection includes MVI, AOI and AXI, all service providers are free of charge.
  • ICT tests are generally free of charge, including flying probe tests and bed of needles tests. Flying probe testing is used for small batches of samples and is relatively slow. If you need to do high volume testing then you need to do bed of needles testing, which may incur a portion of the testing cost.
  • For the detection of design errors, you need to do PCBA programming and functional testing. Depending on the test time and difficulty, you will need to pay a test service fee for this.

Conformal Coating Cost

There are two ways in this link, conformal coating sprayer and manual coating. The conformal coating spraying machine mainly generates the man-hour and material cost of spraying. Manual coating mainly involves labor costs and consumables. If customers’ PCBA has conformal coating requirements, there will be conformal coating cost charged. 

Order Quantity

Regardless of the industry, there is an economic effect of mass production making products cheaper, faster and of higher quality(this is not a linear relationship). 

The reason for this phenomenon is because the finished cost of PCBA is divided into variable cost (Material, Assembly) and fixed cost (startup cost and programming overhead). Variable costs increase as the number of PCBAs increases, but the unit price allocated to each PCBA does not change. The fixed cost itself is not affected in any way, but as the production volume increases, the cost allocated to each PCBA becomes lower. 

In the long run, increasing the number of printed circuit boards can save cost for companies by avoiding unnecessary one-time costs.

Package Cost

Every customer’s PCBA size and requirements are different, so the package ways are always different. Usually the manufacturer will be responsible for packing each product well. But if customers have some special requirements for the package and they need custom packages, then there will be package cost charged. 

Suggestions for Reducing PCBA Assembly Costs

  • Define project requirements before manufacturing. Choosing the right PCB type according to the requirements of the project is the key to reducing the cost of the project.
  • Solve the PCB manufacturing cost problem from the design aspect. FS Technology recommends removing blind/buried vias or vias on SMD component pads under the premise of quality assurance.
  • For turnkey PCBA assembly customers, our design team will evaluate the above bill of materials after you submit the BoM file. If we find a component that can be replaced with a lower price, we will communicate with you in time.
  • Reduce unit price through mass production. If it is a new project or a first-time supplier, FS Technology recommends you to make a PCBA prototype. These samples help you to check whether the supplier is qualified to fulfill your order. 

In Conclusion, PCBA costs are made up by many factors. Any factor will cause different PCBA cost difference, so customers can choose the supplier according to your own requirements. If you recognize the capabilities of FS Technology, please contact us by email, we have a 24-hour one-to-one service, and we will provide you with FS Technology’s printed circuit board price list.

That’s all for “cost of pcb assembly”, thanks for watching FS Technologies’ PCBA Blog.

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