What do you know about the pcb cost ?

Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs) are a vital component of electronic devices, and their cost significantly impacts the overall economics of a product. Understanding and mastering the cost structure of PCBs is crucial for companies to reduce costs and enhance market competitiveness. This article aims to delve into the cost composition of PCBs, explore the main influencing factors, and propose strategies for cost optimization.

PCB Cost Composition

1.Material Costs:This includes the expenses for substrates, copper foil, solder, solder mask, silkscreen, and other raw materials. The selection of the substrate material has the biggest impact on costs, as different materials, thicknesses, and sizes can significantly affect the final cost.

2.Manufacturing Costs:These cover the expenses related to processes such as lamination, drilling, copper etching, plating, soldering, silkscreen printing, surface finishing, and PCB shaping. The complexity and precision requirements of these processes vary, leading to different costs.

3.Equipment Depreciation and Maintenance: PCB manufacturing requires high-value equipment, and the depreciation and maintenance costs are a significant part of the overall PCB cost.

4.Labor Costs: The production of PCBs requires a significant amount of manpower, including operators, technicians, and quality inspectors. Their salaries and welfare benefits also contribute to the cost.

Factors Influencing PCB Cost

1.Design Complexity:

Higher design complexity leads to increased material, manufacturing, and labor costs. Strategies such as optimizing circuit design, simplifying wiring, and reducing component count can help reduce PCB costs.

2.Material Selection:

The choice of substrate material has a significant impact on PCB costs. Different materials have varying costs, and their performance, stability, and reliability also affect the overall PCB cost.

3.Manufacturing Processes:

Selecting and optimizing manufacturing processes are crucial for cost reduction. Adopting advanced technologies, improving production efficiency, and reducing waste rates can help lower PCB costs.

4.Batch Size:

Batch size significantly affects PCB costs. Larger batches lead to lower unit costs. Companies should plan production batches based on market demand and production capacity.

5.Lead time:

Lead time describes ordering and shipping times for your product. There is an inverse relationship between lead time and pricing, with extended lead times resulting in lower pricing.


Quality refers to how good your design is, i.e., how well a design performs. Factors such as complexity, reliability, and yield determine the quality of your PCB. Complexity is often measured in terms of area for a given via count and has several components, including PCB tracks, soldering points, and so forth. To evaluate whether your PCB design is complex or not, you will need to determine what the average number is in a specified product type and assembly method your company will use.


Some design errors are easy to spot, while others can be difficult to find. Therefore, the more functionality tests you perform on your PCB design, the better quality control you will have. It will lead to higher tolerance levels and ultimately reduce rework and production delays. By improving efficiency in PCB manufacturing and assembly, the number of order cycles (designs built into the final product) will decrease significantly. This improves profitability for your company.


There is a fixed cost per square inch for each quantity order (except for bulk orders). Therefore, the more units you order, the lower the cost per unit.

Once you know your costs, you can develop a budget for your project and determine how much profit margin you need to build into your PCB assembly quote. Once you do that, it will be easy to set your prices for each product produced by your company.

Strategies for PCB Cost Optimization

1.Design Optimization:Simplifying circuit designs, reducing wiring complexity, and minimizing component count can help lower PCB costs. Optimizing component layout and wiring design can also improve PCB reliability and stability, reducing future maintenance and replacement costs.

2.Material Substitution:Where performance allows, cost-effective materials can be substituted for higher-cost options. For example, using more cost-effective substrate materials and solders can help reduce material costs.

3.Process Improvement:Enhancing manufacturing processes, improving production efficiency, and reducing waste rates can help lower manufacturing costs. Automation, process parameter optimization, and precision improvement can be effective strategies.

4.Rationalizing Production Batches:Companies should plan production batches based on market demand and production capacity to minimize unit costs. Balancing production with sales to avoid inventory accumulation and capital waste is also crucial.

Why is PCB Assembly so Expensive?

PCB assembly is expensive because the basic materials themselves are expensive. This is not to say that no companies manufacture cheaper PCB assemblies; its purpose is to say that quality remains unaffected, regardless of its costs. It is not unheard of for companies to offer or exceed the price listed in the example above if they feel that you, as a valued customer, will be more willing to spend the extra money to receive better quality in your final product.

PCB Assembly Costs by Product Type

Manufacturers design, manufacture, and assemble PCBs to meet the needs of different industries. Therefore, factors directly related to the industry, product type, and assembly option affect the cost of PCB assembly. The following list gives a rough estimate of where you can expect to find your typical cost for each product type.

Assembly Process Manufacturing Costs

    ●Stamp/Shrink +$1.00 per unit +/- 1%
    ●Solder +$1.00 per unit +/- 3%
    ●Spot +$0.05 per point +/- 2%
    ●SMT/LGA +$1.00 per unit +/- 1%

PCB Assembly Costs by Assembly Option

The Assembly process affects the cost of your PCB assembly in two ways:

    ●Materials themselves are more expensive
    ●Each assembly process requires a certain amount of retesting because of inconsistencies in the manufacturing process.

The following list shows each method used to assemble your PCB design and how much it costs you.

    ●Turnkey No Processing No Manufacturing No Assembling $0.52 per square inch +/- 2%
    ●General Process Assembling -$1.00 to -$1.20 per square inch
    ●Turnkey Processing +$0.72 per square inch +/- 1-2%
    ●General Process Manufacturing -$0.20 to -$0.52 per square inch
    ●Turnkey Manufacturing +$1.00 per square inch +/- 1-2%
    ●General Process Manufacturing -$0.20 to -$0.72 per square inch
    ●Turnkey Assembly +$1.00 per square inch

PCB costs play a pivotal role in determining the economic viability of electronic products. By understanding the cost composition and influencing factors of PCBs and implementing cost optimization strategies, companies can effectively reduce costs and enhance market competitiveness. As technology continues to advance and markets evolve, PCB cost optimization will remain a key area of focus and research.