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How is PCB Price Calculated? Comprehensive Answer Now

PCBONLINE Team

Sun, Oct 09, 2022

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PCB prices are custom. Same as other goods, the more PCBs you order, the higher price quoted to you. However, when you order PCB prototypes for research or developing, you may find your PCB supplier quotes you the same price for 1 piece and 10 pieces! Is there something wrong?

Although it sounds unreasonable, your supplier quotes the PCB prototype prices correctly.

This article reveals the reasons why PCB prototype prices are not calculated strictly based on quantity, and how a PCB price is calculated.

Part 1: What Items Does A PCB Price Contain

Usually, a PCB price contains the PCB fabrication price, engineering price, PCB testing price, and shipping price.

PCB fabrication price: PCB fabrication involves more than 20 manufacturing steps, and each step means powering on a PCB machine/line. Besides, your PCB supplier has to buy copper clad laminate for your PCBs. The costs of machine wear and raw materials are calculated in the PCB fabrication price.

Engineering price: before putting your PCB design into production, the CAM (computing assistance manufacturing) engineer from the PCB house has to do the design for manufacturing (DFM) and design the manufacturing steps and set up machine specifications. The wage for the CAM engineer is calculated as the engineering price.

PCB testing price: when each copper circuit layer is etched out, the PCB manufacturer has to conduct an electrical jig test to make sure there are no open/short circuits and bridges. If your high-end PCB is used for automotive, medical, defense, and aerospace applications, the advanced PCB manufacturer PCBONLINE additionally conducts the four-terminal sensing (also known as Kelvin 4-wire resistance measurement) to the PCB. Besides, there is the flying probe test. The costs for PCB testing are calculated as the PCB testing price.

automotive PCB

Shipping price: when the PCBs are manufactured, the PCB house delivered the PCBs to you via sea, train, or air shipping. The shipping price is for the delivery. If you or your company have a courier account (DHL, FedEx, and UPS), you pay for shipping directly, and the PCB price doesn't contain the shipping price.

Part 2: How is PCB Price Calculated

Some PCB manufacturers calculate the PCB price by how many square meters of the PCB panels (including the PCBs and leftover edges), while some companies calculate by how many pieces of PCB you order.

PCBs are custom goods, and the size of different PCBs varies. Apparently, calculating the PCB price based on the toll size sounds more reasonable.

From the one-stop PCB manufacturer PCBONLINE, for all types of PCBs (including FR4 PCB, metal core PCB, ceramic PCB, rigid-flex and flexible PCB, and Rogers PCB), the toll size of PCB prototypes is 0.2㎡, and a small batch PCB order has a toll size from 0.2㎡ to 3㎡, and a batch PCB order has a toll size of more than 3㎡.

Besides sizes, a PCB price is calculated by how many PCB layers you want, the PCB substrate materials, the FR4 TG (the maximum temperature that the PCB can withstand), minimum trace space, surface finish type and thickness, copper thicknesses of PCB holes and inner and outer layers, minimum hole size, and fabrication lead time.

The more layers, higher TG, larger copper thickness, smaller trace space and hole size, and shorter lead time, the higher the PCB price.

Please note that an online PCB calculator only gives quotations to regular FR4 PCBs and aluminum PCBs. (advanced PCBs are too difficult to set up online quotation!)

medical flexible PCB

If you want to get a quote for rigid-flex and flexible PCBs, HDI PCBs, Rogers PCBs, ceramic PCBs, copper base PCBs, or hybrid substrate PCBs, please send your Gerber and additional requirements to info@pcbonline.com. We will reply to you and give a quotation very soon.

Part 3: Why Different Quantities of PCBs May Be Priced the Same

For PCBs, especially PCB prototypes, different quantities of PCBs may have the same quoted price. Don't feel shocked by it. You will understand why now.

Reason 1. CAM engineer spends the same amount of time and energy

For a PCB project, whatever PCB quantity you want, our CAM engineer has to spend time and energy on PCB DFM and engineering, and the amount of time and energy spent on your project is the same.

PCB engineering

Reason 2. the film, jigs, and fabrication process are the same

For PCB fabrication, a film for circuit image transfer, jigs for fabrication assistance, and a designed manufacturing process are necessary, and they are tailored for your PCB project. For a fabrication project, no matter how many PCB pieces you want, the manufacturer has to provide you with the same film, jigs, and fabrication process (including the flying probe test, copper plating, etc.).

PCB film

Within 0.2㎡ of toll size (including PCBs and panel edges), different quantities of PCB prototypes share the same price. When the toll size is more than 1㎡, the PCB price is calculated in square meters, and the fractional part of the toll size amount is counted as 1 square meter. For example, a PCB project with a toll size of 6.2㎡ shares the same price as 6.9㎡. So you may find the PCB prototype price of 1 piece the same as 10 pieces.

Part 4: Quick to Figure out PCB Prices for Your Project

If you have a PCB project planned to put into fabrication and haven't settled down the quantities, you can see how much the PCB price is in different quantities by quoting from PCBONLINE.

pcb price online calculator

From PCBONLINE's online quote system, you can see the price of FR4 PCB and aluminum PCB quickly and easily:

Go to https://sys.pcbonline.com/instant-quote, click "Browse Files" to upload your Gerber in the RAR or ZIP format, and input the PCB quantities. If you need PCB prototype panelization, go to the Dimension option and choose "Panel". The PCB specifications such as PCB size, material, TG, and layer quantity automatically display on the page, and the PCB price shows on the right. You will need to check the PCB specifications in case they are wrong.

For advanced PCBs, please send your Gerber, PCB quantities, and additional requirements to the PCBONLINE team by email at info@pcbonline.com. We will give you quotations as soon as possible.

PCB manufacturer

PCBONLINE is a private own PCB manufacturer certified with ISO, IPC, IATF, REACH, RoHS, and UL. Founded in 1999, we have two large advanced PCB manufacturing bases and one PCB assembly factory, and we can complete all the PCB/PCBA processes independently.

By working with PCBONLINE, you can enjoy such advantages:

    • PCBONLINE provides one-stop PCB and electronic manufacturing services from prototype to bulk production, including PCB design, PCB fabrication, SMT and THT assembly, conformal coating, IC programming, and box build assembly.
    • Transparent and fair PCB prices without hidden prices, quick PCB/PCBA quotation.
    • High-quality PCB/PCBA fabrication and box build assembly, and we can help your end products pass qualification verification.
    • Free DFM and one-on-one engineering support throughout your project.
    • Strong PCB fabrication capabilities are able to meet every of your PCB requirements.
    • Our CAM engineer can help you reduce PCB fabrication price through optimum PCB design.

PCBONLINE provides PCB and PCBA used for medical, defense, aerospace, automotive, communication, industrial, and consumer electronics. If you want to have PCB and PCBA manufactured at a fair price with good quality, PCBONLINE is a reliable supplier for you.

Conclusion

PCB prices are custom and calculated in sizes. Regular FR4 PCBs and aluminum PCBs can be quoted and ordered online, but advanced PCBs have to be quoted by email. From PCBONLINE, both PCB quotation ways are quick and safe, and the PCB prices are the most transparent and reasonable. If you have other questions about PCB prices or your project, don't hesitate to chat with us online or send emails.


© This article is an original work of the PCBONLINE team. Please indicate the author PCBONLINE if you reprint. If the article is reproduced without permission or indicating the author's source, PCBONLINE reserves the right to investigate the infringement.

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