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The cost-optimized printed circuit board. Savings potential for material & layer structure

Technical Support at KSG

The demand for ever more powerful and compact electronic devices continues to grow. However, in times of rising raw material and energy prices, developers, engineers and companies are faced with the challenge of finding the right balance between quality and cost-effectiveness when developing high-performance components. This also applies to printed circuit boards as the backbone of electronic circuits.

But what are the starting points for acting as efficiently as possible in view of the cost explosion on the procurement markets? In fact, printed circuit boards offer numerous opportunities to realize cost-saving potential through technical adaptations. The largest influencing factor is the base material, which accounts for an average of 35% of production costs. Here it is important to choose the right material, make maximum use of it and optimize the layer structure.

When selecting the right material for printed circuit boards, several factors play a decisive role, influencing not only the technical performance but also the costs. The base material type should always be selected according to the operating temperature and thermo-mechanical stress. It is important to consider the specific requirements of the application to ensure optimum performance and service life of the PCB.

Standardization is also the key. For this reason, the focus should be on standard superstructures where this is technically possible. These not only offer proven structures, but also facilitate availability and cost-effectiveness. It is also advisable to use standard values when determining laminate thicknesses.

  • Concentrate on dual-ply structures for prepregs.
  • Make the layout as large as possible, because tight line space requirements are not only a cost factor in terms of material, but also due to the required yield reduction.

Selection of base material
In view of the copper price trend, use 18 and 35 µm base copper where possible.

True to the motto “processed scrap costs money“, material utilization has a direct impact on all process costs. Early coordination with the manufacturer is therefore crucial to ensure maximum utilization of the material in printed circuit boards. It is advisable to have an in-depth discussion about the usable design as early as the planning phase. The focus here should be on individual part specifications and minimal requirements in order to create room for efficiency improvements. With the help of our technical support, we can simulate the ideal use of materials for your production-ready PCB. This simulation not only enables precise planning, but also the optimization of cost structures.

  • Consider scoring instead of milling for contour processing. Cost savings of up to 12 % are possible here.
  • Use the design-to-cost recommendations in the KSG Group’s Digital Design Compass.

Technical support at KSG
The Digital Design Compass provides you with crucial PCB information and design rules for all KSG technologies.

Cost reduction potential can also be tapped into when designing the layer structure by taking the following factors into account:

  • Reduce the number of layers and thus save material costs and an entire IL production run (6-12 operations).
  • Avoid multiple pressing, as this means significantly higher production costs.
  • Avoid buried vias and make all connections from the outer layers if possible.

How do you feel about this issue? Find out in Part 2 and Part 3 of our series of articles where further savings potential can be exploited on the way to cost-efficient PCBs.

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