When designing PCBs, tight tolerances should be maintained not only on the circuit board but also on your wallet. Here are 14 creative and realistic ways to reduce your overall flex PCB manufacturing costs. These steps can be applied to all, even 6-layer flex PCBs.
Reduce Circuit Costs
The manner in which a circuit is designed on a board has a direct impact on your cost. This can be reduced to some extent with the help of a few smart designing techniques:
- Break down your circuit. One large circuit will cost you more. A set of smaller circuitry is the way to go.
- Unbounded areas should be kept to a minimum.
- Recommended tolerances should be strictly adhered to.
Other Design Specifications
- It is more economical to manufacture a circuit board with even layers rather than odd number of layers.
- If your design permits it, consider building a PCB with fewer layers. (Here, you must take into account assembly charges and application constraints.)
- Vias that are blind or buried will end up costing more.
- Round through-holes, as compared to slotted or square ones reduce the overall cost and time.
- Relaxed tolerances cost less compared to tight tolerances.
- Chemical Milled Dies (CMDs) are more expensive than SRDs.
- The lower the width and spacing of conductors, the higher the cost.
- Opt for stiffeners rather than using rigid-flex boards, which are more expensive.
- Maintaining the same thickness of stiffeners throughout the PCB will help reduce costs.
- The overall PCB costs can be reduced drastically by manufacturing them in bulk quantities.
- Ensure that the PCB layout is in perfect condition in the designing stage. A wrong design will ruin the PCB and increase your costs.
All the above mentioned cost-saving techniques vary according to the application. Sometimes, the money saved in splitting a circuitry or the layers of a keyboard can translate to higher assembly costs. Every situation is unique and should be dealt with accordingly. Discuss your needs with a manufacturer to understand the implications of every corner-cutting technique.