When you get the quotes for your PCB manufacturing needs you would notice that the quotes given by no two manufacturers is exactly the same. Each company offers a different quote and if you want to make the right choices you must have a complete understanding of how the PCBs are priced. You may need to work on gaining some knowledge and familiarizing the costing factors.
Does your PCB manufacturer offer PCB design service or are you getting the PCB design handled in-house or from an independent PCB design engineer? In other words, does the quote include PCB design services or not. You may have to pay for this service at some point of time; it could be your PCB manufacturer or it could be someone else. If your PCB manufacturer is charging you for the PCB design service ensure that you are making use of this service. If you are not using the PCB design service then you should ensure that you are not charged for this service by your manufacturer.
The cost factor will increase with the number of layers. Depending on the number of layers of your PCB your quote will vary. When you are checking the quote cross check whether the quote covers the required number of layers. If there are any discrepancies you must have it addressed right at the start.
Thirdly, the quote could include PCB assembly costs depending on whether you are getting the PCB assembly handled by your PCB manufacturer. At times the assembly is handled in-house. While comparing the quotes you should find out whether they are charging you for the PCB assembly. If it should include PCB assembly, then there would be additional costs on the PCB components.
Quality testing all the PCBs should be covered by the PCB manufacturing costs. It should not be charged as a separate service. It is the responsibility of the PCB manufacturer to deliver error free PCBs and to ensure that they need to handle this process internally and they should not charge you additional fee for PCB testing.
When you are not aware of all these costing components you will not be able to compare the quotes effectively. You should know what exactly you are paying for and what are the various costing components. Your quotes comparison would be meaningful only when you ensure that all the above components are included in the quote. At times customers blindly look at the final cost and pick the lowest priced quote only to realize later that one or more components are not covered by the quote given and that they need to pay additional charges to have those needs covered, which effectively would end up making the quote one of the most expensive quotes.
You need to patiently review your quotes and find the best suppliers based on the cost of the PCBs and all the manufacturing components involved. It is worth familiarizing with all the above factors so that you could make well informed choices.
ChinaPCBOne Technology LTD. is the author of this article on PCB assembly. Find more information, about China PCB.