Question: What information do I need for a budget quote? When should I ask for a quote?
Flex and Rigid Flex is a fast-growing segment of the PCB board market. As we face the challenge of putting increasingly complex electronic devices into smaller and smaller packages, flexible structures are a solution that many are beginning to explore. The advantages of space, weight and packaging are fully explained. However, there are often concerns about cost and due diligence to ensure that using the product makes economic sense.
This requires early advice from the PCB board designer to work with the manufacturer to ensure the product you are designing can be manufactured and to resolve any issues related to material availability. It also makes sense to ask for a budget quote early in the process to ensure that what you're designing fits within the overall budget for the project.
Here are the most critical things in budget pricing:
Proposed material stacking
Whether you have specific material constraints or material flexibility, it's best to ask your preferred manufacturer for stacking. This is a good time to learn about materials that are "common" or "usually in stock" with your manufacturer. It's also time to learn which materials (if any) in the stack have long lead times and need to be factored into the project timeline. Obviously, common materials will reduce lead times and eliminate any minimum volume charge prices. However, if a longer lead time material is required, "pre-ordering" the material when the design is finalized can help reduce the overall lead time of the project after the stack has been secured.
What size do you expect the part to be?
The price per piece depends on the number of pieces that can be nested on the production panel. The complexity of the design often dictates the size of the panels used. Typical panel sizes are 12" x 18" and 18" x 24", with at least a 1" border around the panel for specimens, tool holes, etc., effectively reducing the available space to 10" x 12" or 16" x 22". Often, flex and rigid flex PCBs have unusual shapes and the ability to economically fit these panel sizes, or creatively nest parts to help increase panel utilization, can have a significant cost impact.
Another factor that affects the price is whether this will be delivered as a sheet or an array. If you do wish to assemble the parts into an array, it is best to include this at the budget quotation stage. Work with your manufacturer, unless they have already developed one, advise them on a cost-effective array; if one has already been developed, be sure to maximize the use of the array with the larger Production panels.
What are the quality requirements?
IPC Class 2, IPC Class 3, MIL-31032 all have different requirements and different price points that are important to your estimate. Do you need to do a third part of the test? This also has an impact on the total cost.
What is the minimum drilling size?
Minimum drill size may affect price. Mechanical drilling is generally less expensive than laser drilling, and mechanical drilling smaller than 0.008" may impact cost. The added cost of smaller mechanical drilling is highly dependent on the manufacturer's equipment and process, so be sure to Learn about these features.
What is a through-hole structure?
Do you think the design is standard for via structures? Will there be blind and buried vias? Will there be microvias? If there are microvias, will those vias be filled, stacked, or staggered? How many layers? The number of lamination cycles required to make flex or rigid flex has a significant impact on cost.
What is the preferred surface finish?
Flex and Rigid Flex designs are available with the same finish options as rigid boards. Do you need HASL? Lead-free HASL? OSP? Silver? Tin? ENIG? ENEPIG? ENIG?
To answer the original question:
Asking for pricing early in the design cycle can help determine whether a design fits within the product budget, which is especially important when using flex and rigid-flex, where factors such as material utilization and through-hole construction can affect cost Significant impact. After estimating material by construction and quality requirements, layer count, please contact your manufacturer for a stacking and budget quote. This is a great time to start a conversation and ask questions to make sure you don't inadvertently add unnecessary design costs.
The above are the issues that should be considered in the initial budget cost of PCB board design. For more PCB prices, you can consult online customer service, or call 0755-86315104 for manual consultation. CHTC will serve you wholeheartedly.