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Understanding PCB Manufacturing: Thinner Doesn't Always Mean Cheaper


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Contrary to popular belief, thinner doesn't always equate to cheaper when it comes to PCB (Printed Circuit Board) manufacturing. While miniaturization often leads to cost reduction in some products like chips, the same principle doesn't apply universally to PCBs.

Thinner Boards: Not Always Cost-Effective

When the total thickness of a PCB is under 0.8mm, opting for an even thinner board might seem like a cost-saving measure. However, the reality is different. Thinner boards pose challenges during manufacturing processes such as compression and etching.

Thinner boards are more fragile, prone to scratching, and can break easily during handling and transfer. Additionally, they can cause registration issues during compression, leading to complications in subsequent processes. To address these challenges, PCB factories may need to invest in specialized equipment, increasing production costs.

Supply Chain Challenges

Another factor to consider is the availability of thinner copper clads. Suppliers may not always stock copper clads of unusual thicknesses since demand for such thicknesses is sporadic. Consequently, when customers require PCBs of non-standard thicknesses, manufacturers like SysPCB may need to order specially from suppliers, which can extend lead times.

0.25mm FR4 PCB


While thinner PCBs may seem like a cost-saving option, the reality is more nuanced. Unlike some products where reducing size reduces cost, PCBs, as technical products, have different considerations. The functionality, reliability, and manufacturing challenges associated with thinner boards make it clear that thinner doesn't always mean cheaper in the realm of PCB manufacturing.

By understanding these nuances, manufacturers and customers alike can make more informed decisions regarding PCB thickness and optimize their designs for cost-effectiveness and reliability.

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