How much does a PCB cost?

How much does a PCB cost?

Written by Ramsay, In Technology, Published On
December 10, 2022
Last modified on December 22nd, 2022

Printed circuit boards have become a necessity in modern electronics. Even though they have been used for many decades, PCB engineers and designers continue to make them powerful, reliable, and smaller.

Due to complexity, the cost of a PCB is determined by a number of factors. So, for you to know how much a PCB costs, you need to look into factors that go into manufacturing them.

How much does a new circuit board cost?

Normally, the cost of producing a printed circuit board is between $10 to $50 per board. However, the cost is determined by several factors that include the type of board, number of layers, size of the circuit boards, and many others.

What are the main factors that affect the cost of a Printed Circuit Board?

PCB cost

  • Type of PCB material

Printed circuit boards are made of various materials that include polymer inks, fiberglass, and solder mask. In addition, the conductive layers are normally made of silver, gold, or copper.

The above materials can affect the cost of a PCB and the way the board reacts to heat. This is because circuit boards have thermal and temperature reliabilities. Moreover, they should have mechanical properties that might affect the board’s performance.

Therefore, the materials you use when making a PCB can easily affect the cost. If you use higher-grade materials, the cost will be higher than when you use standard materials.

  • PCB size and the number of layers

Other factors that will determine how much a printed circuit board will cost are board size and the number of layers. This is because some circuit boards have more layers than others.

Printed circuit boards that run high-tech electronics have many layers. They are composed of several layers and have components on both sides of the board. Thus, a board that needs many elements will cost more than a circuit board that requires fewer components.

Moreover, a large circuit board costs more than a smaller board. This is because the space that consumes the elements increases the cost of the PCBs. The cost is higher not only because of the large board, but because it takes more time to manufacture several layers.

  • Size of circuit board holes

The size of the circuit board holes is another factor that can affect the cost of production. This is because the holes need precise drilling or CNC milling. The process of drilling is different when the circuit boards are compact or thick.

The holes are essential because they help the printed circuit board fit together and also send messages through various components.

  • Cost of labor

Another vital element that affects the cost of producing a printed circuit board is the cost of labor. First, you need to engage experts to handle the job. In addition, you need automated machinery that is specifically made for PCB manufacturing.

The cost of labor affects the production cost because no one would want to engage with inexperienced workers. You need people who are skilled and knowledgeable when creating the essential components of a PCB.

It is wise to pay the staff well to ensure they build high-quality circuit boards. You do not want to have low-produced printed circuit boards.

  • Expected turnaround time

The turnaround time is another factor you cannot ignore when producing PCBs. This is because it can highly affect the production cost. Some manufacturers produce the boards with a quick turnaround.

However, when a PCB manufacturer is asked to build printed circuit boards quickly, they normally charge more. This is because they need to put you on hold for other orders to turn around your order.

So, if you would like to reduce the production cost, it is essential to place your orders as early as possible. This is to ensure you give the manufacturer enough time, and that you do not force them to pay over time.

  • The quality of the order

When you produce PCBs in bulk, you can lower the production cost. Moreover, once you create a prototype, it is easy to duplicate the order. Even though building a prototype is expensive, it can save you a lot of time and money in the long run.

  • Technology used

The technology that a PCB manufacturer uses to build a circuit board also affects the cost of production. This is because there are various types of technology used.

For example, there is through-hole technology and surface-mount technology. The surface mount is less than through-hole technology because it is more automated and needs less manpower.

  • Other unique specifications

The cost of PCB is also determined by your custom specifications. Hence, if you want to reduce the cost of production when creating a circuit board, it is wise to have a few customer specifications. You can try using component designs from other boards to reduce the costs.

What to consider when looking for a PCB manufacturer?

Before choosing a circuit board manufacturer, it is important to consider all the other factors. This is because there are so many things you need to look into, such as the type of PCB you want to build.

For example, you do not want to contact a PCB manufacturer that builds high-tech washing machine boards when you want to create circuit boards for smartphones.

Therefore, look for a PCB manufacturer who meets all your needs. Consider factors such as skills, experience, cost, the technology used, and other factors. Hence, make sure you research more about the manufacturer before hiring them.

Once you find a manufacturer who meets your needs, then check if they produce high-quality circuit boards at an affordable price.

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