A printed Circuit Board is a plate designed to connect various elements using mechanical connections and electronic soldering. It is found in simple electronic gadgets such as toys and complex devices such as computer motherboards.
However, producing a PCB is not as expensive as some people think. Nevertheless, the cost of a PCB depends on various factors that include the type of the PCB, the number of layers, the method of processing used, and the thickness of the material, among other factors.
If you have been asking yourself how much it costs to make a PCB board, here is everything you need to know.
What does PCB mean?
PCB or Printed Circuit Board is an electric circuit found in electronic devices. Its work is to offer mechanical support and a pathway to the device’s elements. PCB is also known as Etched Wiring Board or Printed Wiring Board.
PCBs can be defined as the heart of all electronic gadgets. However, they are not manufactured equal. This means different PCBs are created from different materials, and the manufacturing specifications are different.
The main types of Printed Circuit Boards are Single Layer or Single-Sided PCBs with a single layer on one side of the board, Double Layer or Double-Sided PCBs where both sides of the board have layers, and the Multilayer PCB with more than three conductive layers.
Other types of PCBs include Rigid PCBs, Flex PCBs, Rigid-Flex PCBs, High-Density Interconnect (HDI) PCBs, and High-Frequency PCBs.
How does PCB work?
A basic PCB is a plastic board covered in fiberglass in most cases. Elements are mounted on the non-conductive board and then connected with tiny pathways known as traces.
The pathways or traces help the electronic elements throughout the board work by passing electricity through. In addition, the Printed Circuit Boards have tiny holes drilled where every component should be placed. A PCB has various features vital to making the board function and passes through energy or electricity.
The components work together to make sure the PCB works as expected. For instance, resistors transmit electric current, transistors control or switch the electronic signals, capacitors hold the electric charge, and inductors are used to store energy within the board.
How much does a PCB cost?
The cost of producing a PCB depends on various factors that include the material used, fabrication, design, batch size or quantity, testing, and shipping and delivery.
However, the main factors that affect the cost of a printed circuit board include:
The material used to create a PCB directly affects the PCB’s cost. Nevertheless, it is essential to select the best material for your board. Keep in mind that the material used determines the durability and performance of the board.
The most frequently used base material is fiberglass or FR4. Many people prefer it because it provides the board with thickness and rigidity. In addition, there are many types of FR4 with different thicknesses and qualities.
Another common material you need is copper. But some boards need thicker layers of copper, while others require the thinnest layer. It would help if you also had a soldering mask. Also, there are different types of soldering masks to select from. If you are not sure which one is the best for your board, you can consult the manufacturer.
The other main factor that affects the cost of PCB production is fabrication. This is the process where a circuit board design is transformed into a physical structure. It is based on the specifications offered in the design. First, different companies charge the process differently.
Also, during fabrication, there are many tasks performed and procedures to consider. One major task is PCB drilling. PCB drilling is a procedure of creating small holes in the board. Drilling affects the cost of production, particularly when the panels are compact or thick.
There are various types of PCB fabrication techniques that include milling, etching, lamination, and others. All the fabrication techniques affect the cost of production. CNC milling may be less expensive when producing PCBs in a large number.
Design is the other main fact that affects the cost of PCB manufacturing. The best strategy to reduce PCB design costs is to understand how the circuit boards are designed.
You need to know that the surface size, type, shape, and amount of layers required will determine the PCB costs. So, if your design has a complex shape or an unnecessary large board, it might be a good idea to redesign. If you manage to keep the size and shape standard, you will reduce the costs.
But the complexity of the PCB design does not mean the number of elements present. It would help if you are looking for slots, cuts, rings, or holes that can be eliminated.
Testing will affect the cost of a PCB. If the control tests need to check several elements, this means the cost of production will go up. Therefore, you need to choose from various options based on the type of board you are creating.
However, testing is an important process. By testing, you will avoid diminishing costs. But if the tests are not consistent, you are likely to experience reduced profit.
The good news is that there are several ways to test the circuit boards. In addition, the cost of testing depends on the application of the circuit boards and their complexity. Therefore, make sure you consult your PCB manufacturer for excellent testing options.
Printed Circuit boards have become very popular in recent days. This is because they are found in every electronic device. However, the cost of producing a circuit board can be high if the factors involved are not checked.
Therefore, before producing a printed circuit board, it is important to know how much it costs. In addition, know the main factors that determine a PCB cost. With that in mind, you will be able to create a quality board at a minimal cost.