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Factors Influencing Cost-Effectiveness Analysis in PCB Design

Key Takeaways

  • Cost-effectiveness analysis in PCB design helps ensure reduced manufacturing costs. 

  • Cost optimization is a primary objective during the PCB design process for electronic products.

  • Cost-effectiveness analysis is based on three factors: the quality of the board, process quality, and time.

 Cost optimization

Cost optimization should be a key objective for PCB designers

There are so many considerations that go into the planning of an engineering project, and perhaps one of the most fundamental is the budget. Every project must be carefully planned to ensure that the project stays under budget. By adhering to design for manufacturing (DFM) rules, PCB design costs can be reduced. Cost-effectiveness analysis in PCB design is one technique to reduce manufacturing costs. In this article, we will explore cost optimization methods and the factors influencing cost-effectiveness analysis in PCB design.  

Cost Optimization Is Essential for Successful PCB Design

The electronics market is highly competitive, and profit margins must be managed without compromising the quality of the product. Many hardware start-ups close quickly due to their failure to properly estimate the overall cost of constructing a PCB for electronic hardware. Understanding the overall cost involved in product development as well as the individual costs for each process in PCB development is essential for project planning.

Without a proper cost estimate, new hardware entrepreneurs are likely to encounter two challenging scenarios:

  1. Running out of money before the product is launched on the market.
  2. Manufacturing a product that can't be mass-produced profitably.

A hardware product development project should start with a clear budget and emphasize the expenditure vs. returns ratio through completion. It is essential to minimize expenses in electronic hardware development to increase profit margins. Therefore, cost optimization should be a primary objective during the PCB design process. That being said, cost-effectiveness does not mean that cheaper is always better; quality should never be compromised in PCB design. It is all about balancing quality and cost

Factors Influencing Cost-Effectiveness Analysis in PCB Design

Cost-effectiveness analysis in PCB design is based on three factors:

  1. Quality of the PCB

The board design should offer structural integrity, which can be ensured by using quality materials and components. The precision of the component alignment and the reliability of the soldering techniques used on the board influence the structural integrity of the PCB. 

  1. Process Quality

PCB designers aim to manufacture boards with 100% first-pass yield rates. However, most of the time, faults are detected in the design, lowering the yield rate. The need to redesign, repair, or replace the board or board parts depreciates the usable rate of the PCB. The process quality is significant in controlling the yield rate of PCB production. Maintaining high quality in the PCB fabrication process reflects directly on the yield rate of the board. 

  1. Time

PCB fabrication goes through several processes such as imaging, etching, layer bonding. drilling, plating, surface finishing, etc. The lead time for PCB fabrication is an important factor to be considered during cost-effectiveness analysis for a PCB design. 

Design Tools Help With Cost Optimization

Conducting cost-effectiveness analysis in PCB design gives the designer a better perspective on how to optimize the design and manufacturing costs of the board without compromising the board’s quality. Cost-effectiveness analysis in PCB design usually focuses on areas such as the bill of materials (BOM), component clearance, and component-footprint alignment. If you are designing a PCB, Cadence’s design and analysis tools offer cutting-edge design software to help you design cost-optimized products. 

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