Printed Circuit Board Assembly Cost Estimation and Analysis

There are many attributes which adds to the cost of printed circuit board assembly. Technology and technique used, number of components, package size, packaging, regulatory compliance , testing requirements and quantity  are few factors which directly affects the costing. Non-direct factors like  lack of design reviews, lack of DFA or DFM experience ( Design for Assembly and Design for manufacturing ) , lack of skilled worker and lack of testing equipments also affects the overall cost of printed circuit board assembly.

Important criteria should not be overlooked in the design state. While designing a product , DFM describes the process to be done to ensure the manufacturing cost is low and tries to eliminate the issues in the design phase itself. The design, size and the placements of components can have enormous effect and increases cost , if not done properly.

Another process which to be kept in mind in the design phase is DFA process. The components chosen in the design phase should be looked at, and decision should be made whether the part can be considered for elimination or can be combined with other parts in the assembly. Also an estimation of the time taken to hold , grasp, manipulate and inserting the part should be considered.

Following are some of the factors which directly affect the assembly cost :

1. The technology used in assembly process like Surface mount (SMT), Through hole or Mixed (both). Assemblies which requires both SMT and through hole will add to the cost.

2. The components are placed on top side only (single sided) or its double sided (top and bottom) PCB. a single sided board assembly cost would be cheaper than double sided.

3. The total number of placements which are to be done.

4. Package size and packaging of the components. The smaller the size of components, the higher the price of overall assembly cost.

5. Quantity and how many types of components are used. Also the availability of components sometimes play major role in BOM costing.

6. Assembly Compliance  and test Requirements are also important factors for product based companies and it adds to the cost.

Argus offers complete electronic product design services, design analysis services, PCB fabrication services ,PCB assembly services and testing services.For turnkey projects Argus design methodology consists of both DFM and DFA processes which leads to cost reductions and improvement of design. Also feedback for projects are continuously shared with the customers which helps them to reduce cost and make products better over the years.

Outsourcing Your Printed Circuit Board Design

A start-up business or company deals with many risks . With limited time , money and resources to make a  product and deliver it with quality pose many challenges.

The complexity of development of products starts from idea to designing , prototyping, manufacturing and finally going into production. The  product development  cycle requires  expertise in all fields and in-depth knowledge of many technologies. Smaller start-ups and product companies who do not possess in depth knowledge of the product design and development turns to  other companies for their requirements. This helps the start-ups to focus on their strengths and utilize other companies strength to reduce the time to market  and build a better product.

Product development broadly can be divided into following stages :

1) Design phase : Design Feasibility and Cost Analysis , regulatory requirements, analysis of reliability and availability

2) Prototype and Validation phase : PCB design, embedded software validation

3) Manufacturing phase

Each of these phase requires expensive tools and capital equipment expenditures which can be lowered significantly if these can be outsourced to the external custom electronic design team that has the required tools and experience. This will in turn reduce the operational cost of the start-up business and help them to  focus on their strategy and lean them to profitability.

Outsourcing design requirements encourages accountability as experienced and reputed EMS team will be working on the project which in turn minimizes the chances of failure.

The high costs of CAD tools, maintenance and staff training  also make a good case for this approach. However, handing over your latest concept to a design bureau is not a decision to be taken lightly.  The design bureau should be capable with proven experience in delivering the product or design.

Outsourcing electronic design or product design has many direct benefits some of which are less time to market, less operational cost, more time for focusing on actual  product idea and last but not least delivering quality product.

Argus has long history working with some of the biggest names in the electronics industry, and have vast experience working with engineers and project managers who favor the ‘outsource’ model.  Thus the outsourcing model is recommended in electronic design and product design  fields and is a proven model which can be used to benefit any product development company.