Top 7 Proven Ways to get the Low Cost PCB Assembly

By Mer-Mar Electronics Date posted: Last updated: November 1, 2022
Low-Cost PCB Assembly

There are a number of factors that impact the price of PCB assemblies. Being aware of them can go a long way in keeping your costs under check. Below are 7 actionable ways that can help you lower your PCB assembly cost:

#1. Sourcing Location

First up, the location from where you source your PCB has an impact on the cost. While at first glance, opting for an offshore producer may seem to be cost-efficient, you need to look at several additional factors. One of them is, of course, the shipping cost involved. Additionally, you also need to budget for any delays in shipping that can derail your entire project and have cost implications. Moreover, with a PCB manufacturer in your region, communication is far easier and errors on account of any gaps in communication can be stymied.

#2. Design Strategies

You need to begin with optimizing the schematic design of the bare PCB. Some of the factors influencing costs of bare PCBs include:

  • Optimizing the layer count – As more layers are added, typically the cost goes up.
  • Number of vias – While vias play a significant role in building interconnections on a circuit board, an increase in the number of vias adds to the cost.
  • Shape – Essentially standard shapes come at a lower cost while special shapes are typically more expensive.
  • Surface finish – The right surface finish prevents pads from oxidizing as it also improves performance. It is therefore imperative to choose the surface finish that best fits your product and the environment it has to work in.

Your design strategies can also have a significant impact on costs. Some of the design tips to keep in mind include:

  • Placing surface mount components on one side.
  • Labelling designators correctly, which makes the set-up process hassle free. In addition, proper labeling ensures any errors in manual placements can be avoided.

#3. An Effective BOM

A Bill of Material is a comprehensive list of raw materials, assemblies, sub assemblies, components and more for manufacturing. A detailed BOM should include the following details for assemblers:

  • Part Number
  • Manufacturer name
  • Reference Designator
  • Quantity
  • Description
  • SMT (Surface Mount) Method, and more.

It is also recommended that component replacements be added to the BOM. That way as components gets upgraded no time is wasted in locating replacements, thus delaying production.

With a comprehensive BOM you tend to save essential time as also cost, besides the fact that you do not need to deal with costly errors.

#4. Choose the right components

While it may seem prudent to go in for highly sophisticated parts, you need to remember that those may also cost a fortune. It is therefore important to undertake a cost benefit analysis in choosing optimal parts that do not compromise the quality, without putting undue pressure on costs. Component sourcing also plays an especially important part in determining costs. Typically, PCB Assemblers enjoy economies of scale and can offer better prices on account of their ongoing relationship with component providers.

#5. Order volume and lead time

Typically order volume is inversely proportional to the cost. It is therefore prudent to estimate your order volumes in one go to be able to place a consolidated order and reap the cost advantage. Similarly, it works well to plan your order as orders with low lead times typically command a higher cost.

#6. Turnkey PCB Assembly Services

It works best to go with a service provider that can offer you turnkey PCB assembly services as opposed to contracting different service providers. Not only do you get a substantial cost advantage, you also tend to benefit from the fact that there are no communication gaps as there is only one point of contact.

#7. Testing and inspection of Low-Cost PCB Assembly

While testing is generally considered to be a cost head, the fact remains that low cost cannot be chased at the expense of quality. In fact, from visual inspection to automated optical inspection (AOI) to automated X-ray inspection (AXI) there are a wide array of inspection techniques that a professional service provider offers which save you from costly errors at a later stage. In the absence of appropriate testing, it can lead to a situation where you may even need to deal with product recalls and a face a dent to the company reputation.

To sum up

Low-cost PCB Assembly can definitely be achieved without compromising on the quality of the PCB, by following these seemingly simple tips.

So, Are you looking for low cost PCB assembly? Mer-Mar Electronics specializes in PCB assembly services with customized features. We provide complete turnkey, low volume PCB assembly wherein we take care of the entire PCB assembly, fabrication, component mounting, assembly, testing, and delivery. With our skilled engineers and dedicated workforce, we are well-equipped for small batch PCB assembly that can be delivered in the shortest lead time and with the cost-effective manner.

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