Published On: Tue, Nov 21st, 2017

How to Save Money on Your PCB Design

Designing a printed circuit board (PCB) isn’t supposed to be simple or cheap, but it doesn’t have to be extremely challenging or expensive either. With the right resources, collaboration, and investments, any brand or entrepreneur can design their own PCB for use in new and unique electronic devices.

As Internet of Things (IoT) gadgets becomes increasingly popular, crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter makes way for hordes of technological inventions, and the computing industry expeditiously multiplies in both size and complexity, the demand for custom PCB boards is expected to continue to increase.
With heightened demand comes more suppliers offering a wider range of options, and with more options comes the opportunity to customize your PCB into the most cost-effective configuration possible, starting with the following tips:

How to Save Money on Your PCB Design

1. Consult with PCB Design Specialists

If you’re going it alone and relying solely on tutorials and guides you’re finding online, that type of lone ranger approach will likely lead to some trial and error. Of course, any time you have to go back to the drawing board and correct your own mistakes you’ll be wasting money and resources.

The best way to make sure you’re headed in the right direction from the start is to kick off your project by having an in-depth consultation with PCD design specialists. It’s also a good idea to use a PCB design software that offers responsive support and guidance – a lot of different software packages are available from places such as http://www.altium.com, and so carefully looking at each feature is important when choosing the right one for you.

2. Place Multiple PCBs on One Panel

A common mistake novice designers make is placing only one PCB on a panel when the device contains multiple PCBs. If you’re designing a PCB that is intended to be installed within a device that has other circuit boards, it would be wise to panelize the design so that all boards can fit on a single panel. Panelization is a proven way to save tons of money on assembly, manufacturing, and shipping costs.

3. Consider the Manufacturer’s Opinion

If you’re working with an overseas manufacturer or one based in your own country, it’s a good idea to ask their opinions about what can be done to reduce cost. They’ll usually have worthwhile suggestions that apply directly to your specific situation, and they should be able to provide a list of options and features that you can add or remove to minimize costs without drastically reducing performance or quality.

4. Centralize Production and Prototyping Locations

If you can muster up the time and workforce to manage a small scale manufacturing/assembly line then you could save tons of money, by cutting out the cost of importing and shipping the PCB altogether. Furthermore, since you’ll be designing the prototypes and manufacturing in the same facility, you’ll have a larger number of units and materials to experiment with on-hand.

Trod the Beaten Path

One of the reasons why it’s so difficult to design a cheap PCB is that there are so many factors that come into play when determining the cost of producing each unit. Designing a working PCB for your device is one thing, but optimizing further to where it can still achieve the desired functionality is another. Thus, the best approach is to find pre-made solutions instead of starting from scratch.

About the Author

- Paul Linus is an eminent online journalist who has been writing news, features and editorials on different websites from across the world for about a decade.

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