How to Fill Online Quote Form to Get a PCB Assembly Cost Breakdown?

Aug 19,2019 Price, quality, delivery time and service, these are the four primary things the customers check in their PCB assembly manufacturers. Amongst all these criteria, the most important thing the customers usually concern about is “how much the PCB assembly project will cost”. Although most of the manufacturers claim that they guarantee unfailing products, quick turn delivery, unsurpassed service, the customer makes a final call based on the price they quote. If a manufacturer quotes a high price, the customers will obviously approach other service providers who are willing to do the project at a lesser rate meeting the highest quality. Currently, with the advancement of online business or commerce, almost all the leading PCB manufacturers maintain a section in their website as ‘Online Quote’. What is this online quote form is for? What are the main PCB assembly cost breakdown fields included in the form? How is it beneficial to the customer? Read the post to know all these.

Mandatory Things to Fill to get a Cost Estimate

PCB assembly quote is applicable to prototype and low-to-mid volume assembly orders. The PCB assembly quote online form includes some of the biggest cost drivers such as the following. (Note: All the fields are required to be filled with the right information to get an estimate of PCB assembly cost breakdown).
  • Assembly Type: When it comes to PCB fabrication, there are several assembly types involved. A few amongst them include Surface Mount (SMT), Through hole (THA), and Mixed (both), among others. While filling the quote, it is important to mention the type of assembly you require, as the cost for each type of assembly differs with respect to another.
  • Materials: Material preferences vary from projects to projects. Under the preferred materials tab in PCB assembly cost breakdown form, mention the type of substrate you would require to assemble your PCBs such as FR-4, Aluminum, Copper, Polyimide, high frequency (Rogers, PTEE, PI), etc. Again, the cost of one material differs with respect to the other. Hence, the material you have chosen will surely have an impact on the overall production cost.
  • Layers: As per the application requirements, PCBs are manufactured with alternate layers of different materials. PCBs can be made from two layers up to 14 layers. The more the layers, the higher will be the complexity of production and cost involved.
  • Component Placement: Specify whether you need only top layer assembly or double sided assembly as this is one of the major cost determinants.
  • Processes Required: PCB manufacturing involves several simple to complicated processes. A few amongst them are as mentioned here:
    • SMT pick and place
    • Through hole auto insertion
    • Through hole slide line
    • Wave solder
    • Selective solder
    • Hand solder
    • General assembly
Each PCB manufacturing project demands processes differ from others. The materials used, application area, assembly method, etc., determine the type of processes required for the assembly.

PCB Assembly Cost Breakdown
  • Surface Finish: Surface finish requirements change from one project to another. The assembly method, application area, and environment the board is exposed to etc. determine the type of finishing required for a board. Hence, filling this field holds great significance. Make a selection among hot air solder leveling, lead free HASL, electro less Nickel/immersion Gold, immersion Gold/Tin, among others.
  • Solder Mask: Choose the preferred solder mask color among green, red, yellow, blue, white, black, purple, matte black, and matte green.
  • Assembly Compliance Requirement: There are certain applications that demand PCBs to be manufactured in compliance with certain standards. The manufacturers must know this requirement prior to making PCB assembly cost breakdown. RoHS (lead free), Non-RoHS (leaded), IPC-A-610D Class I, II or III, ITAR are a few amongst the several popular standards.
  • Test Requirements: Specify the type of testing that the PCB boards must undergo. This includes power up, functional, In Circuit Test (ICT), thermal cycling, X-ray and visual inspection, among others. Since each testing is associated with different cost structure, it is an important thing to be mentioned in the quote form.
There are some PCB assembly manufacturers who ask the customers to fill the shipping requirements, special packaging requirements, and so on. Also, they leave a space for you to fill other special requirements other than the specified ones mentioned in the form. Once the manufacturers get a completed quote form, they spend quality time in understanding the requirements and then estimate a budget to complete the PCB assembly project. Most times, the initial cost quoted remains the same except for some minor changes. Next time, when you are approaching a PCB assembly manufacturer with a PCB project, make use of the online quote facility provided by the manufacturer. This helps you get a cost estimate and make yourself ready with the budget. You may also fill online quote forms of two or three PCB manufacturers and partner with the one who quotes less for the project. However, make sure to approach only leading manufacturers like Sierra Assembly Technology who maintain a proper PCB Assembly quote and cost calculator page on their website for the customers to get a PCB Assembly cost breakdown!