Obtaining accurate price quotes is essential when sourcing custom printed circuit boards (PCB). Many manufacturers provide instant online quoting tools to estimate costs. However, it is important to understand the difference between getting a PCB fabrication quote versus a PCB assembly quote.
This article explains key distinctions between PCB manufacturing quotes and assembly quotes including:
- PCB fabrication vs. PCB assembly
- Factors in PCB fabrication quoting
- Considerations for assembly quoting
- Online quoting calculators
- Comparing quote pricing
- Optimizing quote accuracy
- Questions to ask about quotes
Understanding quote requirements for PCB fabrication versus assembly ensures designers budget appropriately and set realistic expectations on pricing.
PCB Manufacturing vs. PCB Assembly
PCB manufacturing refers to the fabrication of bare printed circuit boards while PCB assembly is the process of soldering components onto boards.
- Bare board manufacturing only
- Multi-step process to produce bare boards
- Costs driven by board complexity, size, layer count, tolerances
- Stuffing components on boards
- Automated SMT pick-place and manual assembly
- Driven by component types, lead times, quantities
Manufacturing + Assembly
- Some companies provide turnkey fabrication + assembly solution
Factors in PCB Fabrication Quoting
Key elements considered in bare board fabrication quoting:
- Layer count – more layers increases costs
- Board dimensions – larger areas cost more
- Board thickness – standard 1.6mm or thicker boards
- Copper thickness – common 1oz/ft2 or 2oz for heavy copper
- Material type – FR4, High TG, RF materials, etc.
- Board complexity – HDI, blind/buried vias, dense routing
- Line width/space – typical minimum 5/5 mil lines
- Hole size – standard 0.3mm, microvias 0.15mm
- Tolerances – 8 mil typical overetching
- Hole plating – through-hole or conductive hole wall
- Via filling for HDI boards
- Controlled impedance – additional constraints
- Pad finish – HASL, immersion gold, ENIG, etc.
- Volume manufacturing reduces cost per board
- Low volume batches have high NRE costs
- Prototyping incurs additional handling
- Standard 15 days, rush builds increase cost
- Fast turn prototypes can increase prices
Considerations for PCB Assembly Quoting
Key factors in generating PCB assembly quotes:
- SMT parts – 0201 to large QFP packages
- Through-hole parts – axial, radial, connectors
- BGAs – underneath solder ball connections
- High pin count chips – FPGAs, microcontrollers
- Component volumes with pricing breaks
- Digikey, Mouser, Arrow part numbers
- Consigned parts vs procurement
- Pick-place machine types – high speed, multi-head, etc.
- Solder paste printer adjustments
- Soldering – SAC 305, lead-free, etc.
- Inspection – AOI, x-ray, ICT test cost
- Through-hole insertion
- Odd form component handling
- Wire harnessing
- Assembly equipment optimization
- Setup cost amortization over runs
- Economy of scale savings
- ICT fixtures for bed of nails testing
- Functional test system programming
- Burn-in, environmental tests
- Automated optical inspection
- Standard or certified assembly process
- Box build, coating, potting operations
Online PCB Quoting Calculators
Manufacturers provide web-based quoting tools:
PCB Fabrication Quotes
- Enter board size, layers, qty, etc.
- Material selection like FR4 or high frequency
- Desired lead time
- Instant price estimate
PCB Assembly Quotes
Comparing Quote Pricing
When evaluating and comparing PCB quotes:
- Compare quality levels – standard, prototype, high-rel
- Match requirements for tolerance, line width
- Consider lead times acceptable
- Review included services – DFM, testing, etc.
- Confirm material types meet specifications
- Compare volume discounts at breakpoints
- Understand typical NRE costs for low volumes
- Request customer references and example orders
Optimizing Quote Accuracy
Strategies to get the most accurate quotations:
- Provide complete fabrication drawings
- Call out board thickness, material type
- Specify finished copper weight
- Note any controlled impedance zones
- Highlight tight tolerance areas if applicable
- Submit detailed component BOM with part numbers
- Identify odd shape or custom footprint parts
- Specify lead-free vs leaded solder preference
- Note any cable harnessing or bracketry
- Describe production and functional testing needs
- Disclose expected order volumes or range
- Outline quality expectations and requirements
- Provide as much detail as possible upfront
Questions to Ask About Quotes
Important questions when reviewing PCB quotes:
- Are all my required specs and options included?
- Does the quality level match my reliability needs?
- Are lead times acceptable for my schedule?
- Are prototyping and NRE costs clear?
- Are volume discounts reasonable at breaks?
- What services are excluded or additional add-ons?
- Is the manufacturer able to produce this design?
- Can you provide references for similar work?
There are fundamental differences between obtaining PCB fabrication quotes versus assembly quotes. Fabrication cost is driven by board size, layer count, tolerances, and complexity. Assembly pricing depends on component types, quantities, processes, and testing needs. Using online quoting tools provides convenient estimates but optimizing accuracy requires detailed specifications. Asking the right questions ensures suitable budgeting and alignment with PCB suppliers on deliverables.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some common questions on PCB quote comparison:
Q: What key details are needed for an accurate PCB fabrication quote?
Important parameters are dimensions, layer count, material type, finished copper weight, line width/spacing, hole size/tolerance, and quantity.
Q: What are key inputs required for a PCB assembly quote?
A complete BOM with part numbers, packaging styles, lead types, quantities as well as production processes and testing requirements.
Q: Should PCB fabrication and assembly be quoted separately?
Yes, it is best to get separate quotes focused on fabrication and assembly specifics. Some companies can provide combined pricing.
Q: What questions should be asked when evaluating PCB quotes?
Review that all specifications are included, lead times are acceptable, NREs clear for low volumes, and manufacturer capabilities match your needs.
Q: How can PCB cost reductions be achieved?
Higher volumes, less complex design, looser tolerances, standard materials, and increased panel utilization lower cost.
Part I: Total Price for PCB prototyping
|Layers||S≤0.1M2||S≤0.1M2||Delivery Time S<1M2|
|2||80USD||100USD||3 Business Days|
|4||180USD||200USD||5 Business Days|
|6||250USD||270USD||6 Business Days|
|8||350USD||370USD||7 Business Days|
4 Reasons to choose RayMing as your PCB and PCB Assembly manufacturer, We will be your good electronics contract manufacturer,Rayming wil provide good price and good delivery to you .
At RayPCB.com, all Printed Ciruict boards will be undertaking the most stringent tests other than the basic visual check. We adopt most of the testing and inspecting equipments of the industry, such as Flying Probe Tester, X-Ray Inspection Machine, A.O.I. Automated Optical Inspection (AOI) Machine.
Through the years we are proud to have been keeping an on-time delivery rate of 99%. We know, apart from PCB quality, the other most important factor is the shortest possible lead-time, which is crucial for engineers’ R&D works, especially in the stage of prototyping. We work in three shifts to make sure your PCBs will be on your desk as agreed up and as early as possible.
Our pricing structure is transparent and has no hidden cost in it, We will give the best price to you ,Maybe is just a fraction of what other American or European fabricators normally charge you. Even many price-sensitive customers like students and hobbyists largely rely on us for their PCB prototype and fabrication orders. We try our utmost to save your money and time.
RayPCB.com also offers SMT Assembly service for our Printed circuit boards customers.We will quote you in a short time, we will follow your bom list to purchase components,and guarantee all components is original,We provide competitive prices for PCBA services like our PCBs. All your projects can be done under one roof:PCB manufacturing,SMT assembly,PCBA Testing !
Part II PCB delivery time
|Quick-Turn PCB leadtime|
|Expedited leadtime||Normal leadtime||Expedited leadtime||Normal leadtime|
|1layer||1 working days||3 working days||3 working days||5 working days|
|2layers||1 working days||5 working days||4 working days||7working days|
|4layers||2 working days||6 working days||6 working days||9 working days|
|6layers||4 working days||7 working days||8 working days||11 working days|
|8layers||5 working days||8 working days||9 working days||12working days|