What Are Factors That Affect the PCB Assembly Cost?

By Mer-Mar Electronics Date posted: Last updated: October 3, 2022
factors that affect the PCB assembly cost

There are a wide variety of factors that affect the PCB Assembly cost. Here is an overview of the factors as well as some handy tips to keep the costs under check:

Factors That Affect the PCB Assembly Cost

#1. Material That Used in PCB

The material used for the board has a large implication on its costs. Commonly used materials include:

  • FR4
  • Polyimide
  • PTFE
  • Metal, to name a few

While different PCB materials come at different price points, however it is important to remember that cost cannot be the sole determinant in making the choice of board as that depends on a wide variety of factors including the environment in which the PCB needs to operate.

#2. The Number of Layers

Typically the more the number of layers you need to assemble, the higher the cost.

#3. Assembly Technology

Broadly Surface Mount Technology costs lower than Through-hole technology. Additionally, some PCBs may also require to use ball grid arrays or BGA assembly which impacts the assembly costs.

#4. Labor Costs for PCB Assembly

Labor costs have a bearing on the overall PCB cost. These costs can vary by region and thus impact the final cost. However, once again it is important to remember that you should not compromise expertise at the altar of costs.

#5. Order Volume

The order quantity is typically inversely proportional to the costs. High volume PCB would largely mean lower costs while if you have a requirement for a small quantity, the costs are likely to be higher.

#6. Customization

It stands to reason that the higher the degree of customization required by you, the higher the costs. Customization could take the form of- number of layers, the coating required or the trace size, and more. Also if your requirement is for standard shapes you will tend to pay a lower price than a specific, irregular shape. Sometimes your requirements could also include waterproofing that have a bearing on the costs.

#7. Time Lines

Should you need express deliveries, you will need to contend with higher costs. This is because the assemblers will need to put extra resources behind your order, which will come at an additional cost. Also, you will need to opt for expedited shipping as opposed to regular shipping which will further increase the cost.

#8. Packaging Cost

Some components such as BGA might need special packaging, which in turn impacts the overall costs. Also the kind of testing required also has an implication on the costs. For example, the electrical pins of the BGA need X-Ray inspection to check for issues such as short circuit.

Tips to Save PCB Assembly Costs

What then are some ways to optimize costs? Here are some handy tips:

1. Optimize PCB Design

It is important that as far as possible, you optimize the PCB design. This could be in terms of shape of the board, the surface finish required, the number of layers, via technology being used & more.

2. BOM

Ensuring that you provide a comprehensive BOM that includes all the details related to the components, assemblies & sub assemblies, is crucial. A comprehensive BOM should contain details such as:

  • Name of manufacturer
  • Part Number
  • Reference Designator
  • Quantity
  • Component replacements & more


Comprehensive details available at one go will not only enable the assembler to deliver the PCB as per specifications, it will also ensure there is no delay & the costs are optimal.

3. Ensure You Go with a Trusted Assembler

An experienced assembler can go a long way in helping you reduce costs without compromising on quality. Remember therefore to check on their capabilities, certification, relationship with suppliers, as these will ensure both quality & optimal prices.

4. Order Volume and Lead Time

As far as possible ensure you place a consolidated order as opposed o placing orders in small batches as the volumes will bring economies of scale & lower your cost. Additionally plan your project in such a way that the timelines aren’t excessively rushed as they will also impact your costs.

Keeping these seemingly small aspects in mind can go a long way in optimizing your overall PCB Assembly costs & ensuring that your project is highly competitive.

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