Controlling PCB Assembly Costs, Part 2

This series of articles is dedicated to exploring ways to help control the costs associated with small volume printed circuit board assembly. (Part 1,

Prepare a side by side cost of each component high volume versus low volume quantities. Add a column for the percentage increased of the cost per line with the high volume over the low volume quantities. Sort your analysis based on the percentage. A common percentage of increase is expected, a few lines with a lower percentage is a gift. The components deserving of your focus and concentration will be evident.

Get to know the components identified with the highest percentage of increased cost components. Are any lines for a specialty type component with only one manufacturer providing a propriety design? With a “lock” on the marketplace, the cost options are fewer. One available option is to consider a one-time purchase of an anticipated lifetime quantity of product for the best price break. Any lines with a common type component, with more than one manufacturer matching Form, Fit and Function, there are various options to reduce the cost on those particular lines. Compare the costs for the quantity required between the competitors. Explore ~ sometimes, an upgraded characteristic such as tolerance, could be a more common component, thus less expensive.

Summarizing, reducing the costs on the most expensive materials can be a key to avoiding sticker shock for a low quantity build of printed circuit board assemblies.

Would you like a Professional Project Coordinator to look at assisting you with the PCB Assembly Component costs? Call 530-626-6168 or chat online at

ESD Precautions During Electronic Kitting

Kitting Service providers are responsible for the condition of the electronic components during the kitting process. There are handling conditions during the kitting process which can expose components to potential ESD damage. Precautions must be taken and monitored properly during those processes to insure the integrity of the components.

The kitting processes which can jeopardize the components are the incoming inspection, the verification process, and the process of merging customer maintained inventory with newly procured materials to meet a Kit requirement. The components must be examined to verify, not only the quantity to meet the order but most importantly, the part markings to verify the component meets the engineering requirement. During these processes, the technician must be grounded properly to safeguard from the introduction of any static electricity. Safety precautions employed during these processes should include the certified ESD Lab jacket, the grounded bench, the grounded floor mat and the technician grounded by wrist strap to the continuous monitoring plug, which produces an audible alarm should the ground be disrupted. All grounding features relied upon are to be monitored and tested on a regular basis to confirm the ESD handling standards are maintained.

Inspect the Kitting premises and handling processes for all components to ensure and mitigate any risk to future PCB assemblies / products.

Please feel free to call on us if you have any questions. California Integration Coordinators, Inc. 530-626-6168 I’d welcome your questions.

Controlling PCB Assembly Costs

Small quantity PCB Assembly costs can bring sticker shock when compared to high volume costs. There are numerous circumstances leading to a requirement of a low volume of assembled boards. Companies can help avoid the sticker shock by contemplating a few changes.

Consider allowing the AVL to be opened up on small quantity builds. Less expensive passive components, available in small quantities, would be an option to more expensive option with a high Minimum/Multiple. Review connector options which may have been chosen based on high volume placement concerns. A change in the manufacturer may provide for a less expensive FFF equivalent available in bulk or cut tape, reducing a high multiple packaging requirement.

Ask for the low volume requirements of the assembly facility prior to placing any orders; requirements vary depending on equipment and skill level to be used. Some assembly facilities may require reels only, others may require 12″, 15″ or even 18″ leader material on cut tape. Evaluate the cost of populated leaders with the cost of adding a leader to cut tape or the cost of a custom reel. Depending upon the type of component, and the required specifications, a full reel quantity can be less expensive than cut tape.

Summarizing, reducing the excess materials required is the key to avoiding sticker shock for a low quantity build of printed circuit board assemblies.