A global circuit shortage in 2020 sparked fears of price hikes among customers and sellers in the circuit board business. Unfortunately, that shortage is still ongoing and PCB prices are on the rise.
Luckily for you, this blog has ideas on reducing the cost of PCBs (printed circuit boards) for your business, allowing you to save, profit more and invest your money in other operational areas of your business.
Like any other commodity in the market, PCB prices can rise and fall based on the economy. However, simple changes to your PCB design go a long way in lowering your costs.
Some retailers are known to charge you extra for performing cut-outs. That cost can go higher if you plan to buy designer-style PCBs.
Your brand recognition and functionality don’t always depend on such unique cut-outs. However, by skipping some unnecessary features, you will automatically reduce the cost of your PCB purchase bill. Therefore, unless you need internal cut-outs to help mount your PCB, we suggest you avoid this feature.
One of the easiest ways to buy low-cost printed circuit boards online at reduced prices is to keep your purchase requirements simple. You can buy simple boards and then optimize them later in the review stage. Any good engineer will want to optimize the PCB elements on their final board selections. It would help if you got PCBs on a small form factor with clearance for varied components.
Different design options to accommodate those elements come with varying price tags, so keep an eye out for the most straightforward options and go from there.
If you plan to buy multiple boards or want to make large orders for PCBs, remember to keep the overall board shapes the same or similar to one another. Such consistency in the total design of your PCB boards will reduce the overall cost you’ll be expected to pay.
Even if you have a handful of PCBs that are inconsistent with the rest of your order, keeping your boards similar or the same design will reduce the overall cost.
You have three distinct vias for PCBs: blind, buried, and through-hole. Through-hole vias progress through the entire PCB board, are easier to make and, therefore cheaper. Buried vias go-between at least two inner layers and are invisible from the outer layers. These are slightly more challenging to make, and the cost will reflect that.
Finally, blind vias come in from either the top or bottom portions of the PCB and progress toward a layer somewhere in the middle without touching the top or bottom of the board. Depending on the supplier, these are the most expensive type of via.
The most affordable PCB vias are through-holes, so try to use them wherever you can. However, your costs can spike with buried or blind vias, so unless you’re working with high-density and high-frequency PCB boards, we suggest you avoid buried and blind vias altogether.
The size of PCB boards is vital during the assembly process. If the PCB is too small or complex, manufacturers will need more time and techniques to put it together. This means more expenses for you. However, you can save space on your PCB board without having to choose a small board that makes assembling unnecessarily complex.
Many buyers have struggled with printed circuit board spacing requirements. Experienced professionals in this field recommend that you rely on common shapes like rectangles or squares to reduce PCB costs. So avoid choosing bespoke printed circuit boards and opt for something simpler instead. The more complex the shape, especially if it happens to be irregular, the higher the cost of your PCB.
The annular holes and rings on your PCB board should be designed to fit your board. They should also be only as large as you need them to be. This will save you money by helping you avoid the use of precision machinery for boards with small-diameter holes, which will require expensive equipment.
With annular rings, the minimum distance between the borders of the hole and the pad needs to be uniform. This idea applies even to oblong hole shapes. You can reduce your total PCB production costs by choosing the right sizes for holes and rings.
Optimizing your PCB manufacturing process also goes a long way in cutting your costs without compromising on quality when done right. Here are a few ways to do it:
One final tip we’d like to leave you with is to always strive for quality. While you can buy cheap PCBs by following some of the ideas in this blog, you need to understand when it is an excellent idea to save and when you must spend those extra few bucks. The last thing you want is to buy cheap PCBs only to lose money when consumers return your products and demand refunds.
Instead of taking a risk buying them from several relatively unknown online sellers, we recommend trusted sources, established PCB prototype manufacturers, and one-on-one engineers like those working in Omni PCB.
Finding a trusted and professional PCB supplier can be challenging. You have to perform plenty of online research to find the right ones. You may also have to attend electronics trade shows to do so. Requesting factory images, testimonials, and other details takes even more time.
Omni PCB has established itself as a leader in the field and has been trusted by companies across the globe to deliver quality, custom PCBs at the most competitive rates. Connect with us to discover how we can help you buy printed circuit boards online.
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