SMT Cost Breakdown & Factory Selection Tips

If you’ve learned the process of SMT, you may regard it as a simple technology. Sure enough it has only 4 steps and put it in one sentence, it’s just soldering components onto board.

However, have you read the last post about failures during SMT process, you may be amazed that so many different kinds of defects occur. This is SMT – simple in principle and complex in technical details.

With the background info in mind, let’s take a look at the  market of SMT.

There mainly 3 topics in the following article: price, factory selection and future trend.

Price

  • The basic factor influencing price of SMT is pin counts on components and board.
    The more pins, the more soldering point to deal with, thus a more complicated stencil to design. The price of pin is open and transparent, and is often calculated on a group of two pins or four pins.
  • The second thing that influences the price is the alignment of components on the board. In other words, the complexity of the board.
    A complicated  alignment means close spacing of the components, which requires higher precision, resulting in a higher price. Same reason applies that the price of SMT for double-sided boards are generally higher.
  • Thirdly, if you’re going to mass produce your product, the SMT factory may request a share on the cost of machine used. This is usually appears as a higher unit price of soldering point.
  • Moreover, delivery time is also a reason that influences the price. It’s common sense that short delivery time needs more money.

Factory selection

SMT factory
Source: www.us-tech.com

Now you have some knowledge of the price, then how to choose a factory?

  • If you’re going to prototype your product or make a sample of your product, you should choose some small factories.
    These factories are always flexible and can provide customized service in delivery time. Most of the placement work is done by human hands in these factories so the price is relatively low.
    On the other hand, you need to spend more time on communication with the technicians in these factories to emphasize your needs. Don’t hesitate to switch to another factory if the current one isn’t willing to assist in testing.
    Though you have many choices in selecting these factories, you better settle down on one plant to finish your prototyping and sampling, since these two process is highly related.
  • If the trial production and mass production is what you’re considering, you should choose a famous and large scale factory.
    Large plant will have a group of responsible and professional engineer. The automatic machines can provide a higher yield and better quality.
    QC (quality control) and inspection are usually important parts in large factory, as well as a more disciplined schedule of delivery time.
    The same as prototyping and sampling, trial production and mass production are also higher relevant, so you should choose one factory at a time for one product.

Future trend

Generally, the future SMT technology demands a higher level of integration, automation and precision.

An important point of SMT technology is the ‘lead’. Lead is the component of solder paste. As a soldering material, tin-lead alloy is way better than pure tin, but, lead is toxic to human body and environment as we all know.

Currently technology with lead is much cheaper than the one without lead, and the performance of the product with lead is better too.

With the advancement of technology and the requirement of environmental protection, we’ll eventually find a substitution of lead and lead-free technology will become mainstream.

This is the end of this post. If you want to know more about SMT, just leave your comment below or contact us. We’re glad to hear from you!

Note: We do not own the images used in this post. Feel free to contact us if they belong to you, and we’ll take them down as quickly as we possibly can.

Share on linkedin
Share on facebook
Share on twitter

Your email will be used to send you our blog updates. You can unsubscribe at any time.