New PCB services based on choice of base material
Ordering a PCB online needs to be straightforward and fast – engineers and buyers are always under time-pressure. It needs to be accurate so that there are no delays while data issues are resolved or worse, incorrect boards delivered. It needs to be smart, guiding the customer to the best combination of technology, delivery and price. Cost-pressures across the industry mean that fabricators must work continuously to keep prices down, but at the same time the pricing structure must be accurate, reflecting the true costs of production. Only an accurate price structure can give the customer a reliable cost-base for future planning and the manufacturer the resources to invest in the new technology his customers will surely require.
Our new ordering menus been designed to meet these goals. Changes to our pricing structure are highlighted in our blog on pricing logic The new data checking procedures are described in more detail in the blog introducing PCB Configurator. This blog looks at the new service structure.
Four services based on material
- PCB proto or STANDARD pool for FR4
- RF pool for RF materials
- IMS pool for aluminium-backed.
Each service (except the tightly focussed PCB proto) offers a range of options, divided into poolable and non-poolable – see the Eurocircuits leaflet with Technical specifications
What does this mean? We specialise in prototype and small batch PCBs. We need a cost-effective production strategy to handle a large number of small orders (over 60,000 in 2012). The solution is order-pooling – we combine different orders with the same specifications on large production panels. Sometimes called “panel sharing” or “order combination”, pooling orders cuts manufacturing costs. It streamlines production, optimises material utilisation, and spreads tooling and set-up costs. The result? Lower prices and we don’t charge for tooling.
Successful pooling depends on having enough orders of the same specification to be able to fill the pooling panels. Thanks to our expanding user base we have been able to add many more options to our STANDARD FR4 pooling service. Many options which previously had to be individually costed and quoted can now be priced and ordered directly online. This can save up to 24 or so hours on time-critical jobs.
Of course our customers still need some options which are not ordered often enough to make pooling feasible. The new ordering structure can cope with these. The Technical Overview includes columns for “non-poolable” options. A “non-poolable” option in a pooling service may sound a bit strange, but it means that in a single menu you can access the whole range of technology options, both poolable and non-poolable. Now you can compare directly the costs of different technologies and find the solution which offers the best combination of performance and price.
Not only that, the services also include smart menus which actively flag an option which increases the price of the PCB. If you select a non-poolable option a double coin symbol will alert you. Hover your mouse over it to see the explanation. Non-poolable options cannot share the cost-benefits of pooling, but we still offer our customers a flexible solution. We need to make the order in whole production panels. For the same price you can order as many circuits as fill the panel.
New ordering procedures
The new ordering menus include new features to ensure faster and safer ordering, to guide you to the best prices, to reduce the risk of deliveries being delayed by data issues, and to cut down the amount of data you need to enter by hand. These are all explained in our Configurator blog.
Pratical user guide lines are outlined in two articles:
PCB proto offers Eurocircuits’ default technology to build functional FR4 prototypes suitable for most requirements, fast and at the lowest possible cost. Default technology makes ordering fast and easy, keeps costs down and speeds manufacture by dropping features typically needed only for production runs (specific surface-finishes, soldermask colours etc.).
To ensure correct prototype performance all boards are 100% DRC checked, profiled to your design, electrically tested and fully finished with 2 solder-masks and 1 or 2 legends as required. See full specification here
The widest range of FR4 PCB options in a single menu structure
Our STANDARD pool service covers your needs for standard PCB production up to 16 layers using design technology down to 90 microns. A single clear smart menu structure gives you immediate access to our wide range of pooling and non-pooling options.
The menu will flag non-poolable items, so that you can change them for lower cost pooling options where possible.
Pooling prices are based on panel-sharing. Non-pooling prices are based on a production panel specific to the option and the job. Boards can be supplied as single circuits or panels. The standard price matrix shows alternative (lower-cost) quantities and deliveries, or set your own custom matrix. See full specification here.
Eurocircuits’ “RF pool” service offers the cost benefits of order-pooling to designers of RF PCBs. RF pool covers a broad spectrum of technology including 2 types of material, 2- and 4-layer PCBs and a range of build-up options including mixed RF and FR4, all at acceptable prices. See full specification here.
RF pool uses Isola IS680 as the base material for order pooling. IS680 has been developed by Isola to provide a lower cost solution for commercial RF and microwave PCBs. It offers excellent electrical properties, stable over a broad frequency and temperature range. More information about this material on the Isola group website . We offer Rogers 4000 series materials as a non-poolable option.
More and more of our customers are developing new designs for high-intensity LED, power conversion and automotive applications. These need Insulated Metal Substrate boards for better heat dissipation management. To meet these customer demands we have created a new service offering all the benefits of our other order-pooling services for aluminium-backed PCBs. See full specification here.