volume pricing for PCBs (100K+ units)

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Hi - does anybody have a good feel for how volume pricing of PCBs works? It is mostly based on technology + board area? ie 2 million of a 2in^2 PCB would cost the same as 1 million of a 4 in^2 PCB?

Have any suggestions for a high volume fab?

Also, any recommendations for how to give clients budgetary quotes for high volume PCBs? Any online calculators?

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I can't speak for everyone but ours has always been based on panels. For example a panel might be something like 10.6" x 16.6" of which you could fit a certain number of your PCB's on. You pay an initial setup cost and a certain amount for the first panel, then you pay for each panel after that.

Futurlec have an online calculator for their pcb manufacturing. Their quality isn't quite as good as the australian company we go through (silkscreen is hard to read) and their manufacturing tolerances aren't so great in terms of minimum track distances and hole sizes. On the bright side they're super cheap, but you also have to account for a lead time of a month or so.

So answering your question, 2 million of 2in^2 vs 1 million of 4in^2 would be basically the same. The difference comes when you're making small quantities and the setup cost has more of an effect on price per pcb. What is on the PCB shouldn't matter as long as the manufacturer can deliver those tolerances.

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Thanks both of you - very helpful. I wonder how competitive Gold Phoenix's prices are - they strike me as being fairly high (12 cents/in^2!)

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The industry reported pricing is cents/square inch, last year the average price was 16 cents/square inch for production quantities (100K+ boards) for 8 layers board with no special requirements. Figure 1/3 to 1/4 of that for 2 layer boards.

Price quotes vary widely depending on what each PCB house specializes in. A 16+ layer house with very expensive equipment might not want to do 2 layers and give you a high quote to meet their margins they require to pay off their equipment. A 2 layer only house with basic equipment quote might be 1/2 price. Another 2 layer house may only be capable of low volume and charge you more as their shop will be unable to produce any boards for other customers for a large period of time.

So you need to search out a pcb house that specializes in your requirements (both technical and quantity capability). Also a pcb shop may need a bunch of work to keep their employees employed to the end of the month, so you might get a oddball low price once in a while for no reason.

Takes a lot of legwork to get a good price and knowing what fab to call for a particular board. Going into it cold and just sending out requirements to a random few fab shops you know nothing about means you will most likely get screwed.

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nleahcim wrote:
Thanks both of you - very helpful. I wonder how competitive Gold Phoenix's prices are - they strike me as being fairly high (12 cents/in^2!)

There may be cheaper places, but Gold Phoenix is consistently high quality, a very reliable supplier and a pleasure to deal with. Something else to take into account is shipping costs. I have only ordered from Gold Phoenix in 100 quantities, not millions, but shipping has always been free (or rather, included in the price).

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I saw somewhere that it can be as cheap as 5 cents per square inch for 2 layer stuff.

I get my PCBs made in the 100s. MyroPCB has consistently given me the best prices on higher qty stuff. Their proto service now is among the best in terms of value, turn around time, and quality. Quality is about the same as gold phoenix, both I consider them to be slightly above average.

Also worth getting a quote from PCBpool, their prices for volume stuff is 2-3x what myro charges me. But holy shit their boards are nice. Anyone who has played around with PCBs will see right off the bat that your pcb is the cadillac of PCBs.

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Setup costs for a PCB is roughly $100. From then on it's just area that cost.
I've been using www.pcbwing.com for a number of designs of various complexity and I'm very satisfied with the results.
For large quantities like that, you would most likely panelize and should contact the manufacturer for a quote. The online calculators are usually not meant for such large numbers.

/Jesper
http://www.yampp.com
The quick black AVR jumped over the lazy PIC.
What boots up, must come down.

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If you need to make 100K+ PCBs, then you’ll also want them to be populated, making the PCBs alone, is the cheapest part(as long you don’t need 8+ layers), populating them + the parts is going to be more expensive.

I’ve used MyroPCB(The fabric is based in China, but the headquarters are based in Australia, from what I understand) in the past, and found them to be the cheapest, even for low quantities, I also let them populate the boards, and may say that the quality is good. You can provide your own parts, or they will give you a quote for the parts, as it was only for a small (30 pcs) quantity, their price was equal to Digikey, so I let them purchase the parts.

An example of what I let them fabricate:

The only thing to say is that they forgot to place some parts on the board(if you look closely, you can spot them) and also switched two resistors, which took me some time to debug. But they took them back, and resolved the problem.


The final product, it’s a display used for aftermarket automotive ECU’s, which displays all engine related parameters, with configurable led’s for alarms and such. It’s not a professional product, it’s more aimed to the ‘advanced’ amateur.

Machined the plastic case myself, and glued the carbon fiber on top of it.

I also used PCBPool, for a different project, but as it was only for a prototype or three, did not let them populate the boards, but they give you a ‘free’ SMD laser stencil, so I populated the boards myself with their reflow-kit. As already mentioned, PCBPool is more expensive, but closer to me, and wanted to try reflowing my own boards.

For my part, fabricating PCBs is one thing, parts and populating the boards is another thing to consider, especially for that kind of numbers.

I would let two or three companies compete between them, and go for the best price(and eventual best service, you never know what can happen).

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On volume lots, I have seen a few of the pricing formulas. They generally consisted of an area cost, then an adder proportional to the number of pad holes of each size plus an adder for vias plus an adder for the number of unplated holes. Then, there is another increment added for for gold plating (card edge connectors, etc), often in proportion to the total plated area. Depending on the company, there may be no cost for routing or there might be a cost for non-standard routing beyond a regular rectangular route. In these formulas, there is often an adder for internal routing.

There is a LOT of variability as to how these various costs are weighted. Once you get beyond the simple shape with a few drill sizes, it often pays to shop.

Jim

 

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