Archive for March, 2023

10 Tips to Reduce the manufacturing cost of Printed Circuit Board

Thursday, March 23rd, 2023

Many times, when PCB engineer or purchaser seek for a PCB manufacturer to make circuit boards, that always think the price is too high, but don’t know where makes the price is so high and how to optimize the cost on the premise of ensuring the quality of the circuit board. Herein, we share a very useful guideline about “Ten tips to reduce the PCB manufacturing cost”, welcome to read on!

  • Substrate

Different brands of substrate have different price. For a simple example, if you require a multi-layer PCB, Tg should greater than 150o, and PP need to over 0.20mm, then use GDM will cheaper than KB or SL. But GDM is usually used for making single or double-sided PCB, it is not recommended to make multi-layer circuit board. If you need to fabricate an 8 layers of multi-layer PCB, KB Tg170 is ideal for your choice since it has good performance and relatively cost-efficient.

  • Solder mask oil

In generally, what we should consider about the solder mask (S/M) are color and brand.

For the solder mask color, the most commonly used are green, white and black, if you would like to choose other special colors such as blue, yellow, gray, the price will be a little more costly.

From the brand aspect, currently the best brand is Taiyo solder mask, because it has high viscosity, stable dielectric constant, good insulation and oxidation resistance properties, but it is more expensive than others. Other brands of solder mask oil will be relatively cheap, but the quality is not particularly stable and can’t be guaranteed. So if the circuit boards need to used on bulk products, we recommend to use Taiyo to get a stable quality.

  • Printing film

If it is a bulk order with simple design and trace width/space >= 5/5mil, almost manufacturers will use printing film to generate traces. But please remember: the larger the board size, the higher cost of film. (Generally speaking, Prototypes or small orders are use LDI exposure machine to generate the trace, but for mass production, manufacturer will priority choose film and then use LDI.)

  • Line width/space

The thinner traces, the higher manufacturing price. Because the line is thinner, the accuracy of the equipment and the quality of the chemical solution are required to be relatively high, and the yield will be relatively low, resulting in higher costs. Each manufacturer has its capability, so choose a suitable supplier is most important, view Best’s website to check our capability.

  • Drill holes

The smaller the hole, the higher the price, the diameter of less than 0.3mm will increase the price. The more holes there are, the higher the price will be. Other special holes will also increase the cost, such as half holes, blind holes, PTH holes larger than 6.0mm, etc. Because the hole is small, only one board can be drilled at a time when drilling the hole on PCB material, which is low efficiency and the possibility of drilling a broken drill bitter is also large, resulting in higher cost.

  • Finished copper thickness

Finished copper thickness ≥2oz, and hole copper >25μm board will increase the cost. Because the price of copper itself is relatively expensive, the thicker the copper, the higher the price, coupled with the cost of additional electric copper, leads to the overall price rise.

  • Finished board thickness

There is little difference in the price of PCB with board thickness of 1.2mm and 1.6mm, but if the board thickness is 2.0mm or even thicker, its cost will increase correspondingly. The thicker the board, the more sheets of fiberglass, so the cost will increase accordingly.

  • Outline

If there are more slots, and the slots are less than 1.0mm, the cost will increase. This is because the gong groove of the board is more shaped, resulting in the processing time is elongated. In addition, if the width of the groove is small, processing can not be too fast, easy to break the milling cutter, so the processing efficiency is low, the natural production cost increases.

  • Surface treatment

Our common surface treatment processes are: OSP(antioxidant), lead HASL, lead-free HASL (environmental protection), gold plating, immersion gold, ENEPIG and some combination processes. The price of the above process is more expensive in turns, that is, OSP (antioxidant) < lead HASL < lead free HASL < gold plating < immersion gold < ENEPIG.

  • Tooling fee and testing fee

Tooling fee: in generally most of manufacturers use milling cutter to punch outline if this is a prototype order or small order. But if bulk order, it is needed to use a tooling jig, so there is a tooling fee need to pay.

Testing fee: flying probe tester is usually for small order, mass production need to use testing jig, and there is a different testing fee for both.

Above elements can affect the cost of making a board, you can try to follow those guidelines if you have a limited budget. Or if you want to know a exactly cost, please send RFQ to Best Technology, our sales will give you a best price.

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Why Consider Even-Number Multi-Layer PCBs For Your Project?

Tuesday, March 7th, 2023

With the great demands about high-tech electronic equipment, although the single sided PCB or double-sided printed circuit boards have their advantages, multi-layer designs are more beneficial for some applications, that’s why the more and more popular and wide usage of multi-layer PCBs.

(Multilayer_PCB)

Currently in the market and electronic industry, almost of the multi-layer PCB have an even number of layers such as 8, 10 or 12 layers, why designers didn’t consider an odd-number layers? Today let’s explore the reasons together.

  • Higher cost spent

Normally the standard layers of a multi-layer PCB in the industry are even-numbers, and as the manufacturing technology becomes more and more mature, the cost of fabricating a multi-layer PCB is relative competitive.

But if you want to produce odd-numbers PCB, may the odd-number layers save the cost of material for one layer but the processing cost increase significantly to an even-numbers. Because the core structure requirement for odd layered PCB increases the production cost greatly. However, an even layered PCB can save these costs and reduce the overall manufacturing cost, so why not consider the even number layers?

  • Long lead time

Long delivery time is unescapable because of the immature fabricating technology. In particular with the odd-layer, the stack up will be unbalance. For example, if it’s an odd layered circuitry, due to the standard symmetrical requirement, the layers will be separated to 2 layers in a one side and another side is 3 layers, so one of the copper layers will be etched away and the odd layered PCB may create uneven weight during the copper plating stage and result in irregular plating issues. This non-standard, odd-layered stack requires an extra core process for layer bonding and adds to the manufacturing time and cost. So, it’s always recommended to use an even number of layers in the PCB stack-up.

  • Potential quality issue

Quality is very important and crucial for end-application, and the best reason of why not design an odd-number multi-layer PCB is the odd-number layers PCB is very easy to get twist due to the unbalance copper layers. When the PCB is cooled after the multi-layer circuit bonding process, the different lamination tension between the core structure and the foil structure can cause the PCB to bend when cooled. As the board thickness increases, the risk of bending becomes greater for composite PCBs with two different structures.  The key to eliminate circuit board bending is to use balanced layering.  Although PCBs with a certain degree of bending meet the specification requirements, subsequent processing efficiency will be reduced, resulting in increased costs. Because assembly requires special equipment and technology, the accuracy of component placement is reduced, so the quality will be damaged.

In addition, the twist of an even-number layers PCB can be controlled below 0.7% (IPC 600 standard), but odd layers unable to reach to this quality standard. What’s more, when the warpage of a circuit board greater than 0.7% will seriously affect the operation of Surface Mounted Technology (SMT) process and the reliability of the whole product. Therefore, the designers do not design odd layer generally, even if the odd layer enables to achieve the function, will be designed into false even layer, that is, 5 layers designed into 6 layers, 7 layers designed into 8 layers of board.

Anyway, more layers it is, more complex & difficult the manufacturing will be, and more expensive the cost will be, and the lead time of multi-layer PCB also is different from normal one. So you must choose a right supplier who can provide One-stop service include designing, evaluating, manufacturing or even repairing. Best Technology is an expert in the production of multi-layer PCBs for many companies around the world for over 16 years. Contact us right now and send us inquiries, we are so confident that we can be one of your most reliable suppliers in China.

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