# Estimating Assembly Cost

I've got a project BOM costed out and I know my PCB costs. Without sending my project out for quote I'd like to be able to estimate the assembly cost by number of SMT components placed and the number of through holes (for connectors) requiring hand soldering. Assume these are assembled in the US. Assume I know the fixed costs for stencils, pick and place programming, etc.

Anybody have some ballpark figures which might help here?

We usually have 100 units assembled at a time. I usually have a 64 to 100-pin QFP, a few 8 to 20-pin SOIC chips, and many 0805 resistors and caps.

I estimate $0.07 to$0.08 per pin/pad. That usually gets me a ballpark figure of what the assembly houses will charge. This does not include the tooling and setup charges. They run between $200 and$500, depending on the assembly house.

Edit We use assembly houses in New England (USA).

• Are you saying that at $0.07 per pin pad a QFP would cost in the order of 64 x 7c =$4.48 in manufacturing costs? So a PCB with say 1 x 64 pin QFP, 3 x 16 pin SOIC (say) and 30 0805 components would cost around 7c x (64 + 3 x 16 + 30 x 2) = 7c x 172 ~~= $12 Feb 1, 2014 at 14:13 • Don't forget all the 2-pin caps and resistors. Yes, each pin is roughly 7 cents in assembly costs. If you find something cheaper, post it here! Feb 2, 2014 at 1:03 • @Robert jlcpcb.com/smt-assembly is$.0015 a joint with a $7 startup, but$3 per part that isn't in their 'basic' library Jun 6, 2020 at 13:24

Won't fit in a comment field, so:

Note that you say "assembled in the US" - but this would apply only if expressly stipulated, as many companies with a US front end use Asian assembly or Indian or ... . I can recommend a well priced and highly competent and conscientious assembler in Serbia and can suggest a SD, CA company who assembles in all of USA, mainland China and Taiwan.

Very much comment only:

US: $More than China to$Much more than China.
Use following as a very rough guide only.

China:

Reasonable rule of thumb is 1/3 cent US ($US0.00333 cents US) per pad or termination for SMD. Through hole fits inside that cost as long as percent through hole termination points is small compared to SMD termination points. The above "formula" just happens to come out very roughly right in many smaller cases. It is not a true reflection of costs in extreme cases. eg 2 terminal devices such as capacitors and resistors would be costed at 2 x 0.33 cents = 2/3 cents each. An 0805 1% metal film resistor costs somewhere around 0.1 cent in manufacturing volumes so the assembly cost swamps it. Whereas an eg SOIC14 pkg would cost at 14/3 ~= 5 cents and a SOIC8 at 8/3 ~= 3 cents whereas an eg TQFP44 would cost at 44/3 ~= 15 cents. The resistor install cost may be able to be worked on and the TQFP cost, as some aspects of pick and place costings scale approximately linearly with pin count and/or package size and others are very non linear with size. When quoted for Taiwanese manufacture via a local NZ middleman who claimed a modest markup % on costs I have had quotes for many times the cost of what can be achieved directly in mainland China. • I'm not sure I agree with the cost per pin calculation. The cost of placing a 6 pin SOT23-6 is the same as placing a TSSOP-16. IIRC we calculated with ~2 eurocent per SMT part. But assembly cost is indeed many times the part's cost for resistors or capacitors. Apr 25, 2012 at 10:54 • @Jason - Minimum official monthly labour rate in China is 2000 RMB or about$US350. Most people work 6 days/week for that and longish hours. Some get paid much less than official rate. Say 6/7 x 30 days x 10 hours =~ 257 hours. That's under $US1.50/hour. In US the labour rate must come from somewhere regardless of pick and place costs. Basic plastic molding in US is about 2 x China price (varies). Much same arguments re assembly apply. Apr 25, 2012 at 19:09 • @RussellMcMahon "many companies with a US front end use Asian assembly or Indian or ... " I guess you mean India is also used as a manufacturing destination. I am from India, I was thinking of getting my assembly job done from China, but reading this gives me hope that I can get it made in India itself at China comparable rates/specs. Could you point me to some Indian assembly service providers you know of? Its all SMT. One 0.5mm pitch QFN and 0603 passives. Rest all are TQFPs, SOIC and large SMD packages. – Dojo Aug 1, 2016 at 17:51 • @Dojo Jumping in because Russell pinged me. My observations on assembly in / around Mumbai are thus: 1. SMT parts, 2x to 8x of Shenzen pricing. 2. Through-hole parts, 1x (common parts) to 10x (MOSFETs, static sensitive low volume parts). 3. Low volume (100 to 1000 boards) pick&place assembly from a Gujarat based assembler I use: 2x Shenzen pricing even after including shipping. Customs dudty balances it out though. 4. Bed of nails / probe testing: 8x to 20x China board house pricing. Aug 4, 2016 at 4:41 • @Dojo Reels or trays, not cut tapes. Also, they pretty much lose interest unless they are also contracted to source most parts. On wastage, note my previous comment: 8% boards fail on average as per stats of one of my clients. Personal experience, closer to 15% bad boards. Aug 5, 2016 at 4:48 There is a huge assumption that your design is even manufacturable, or that it will be possible to get high yields. QTA shops who build prototype qty's less than$5K worth need to assess all your DFT, DFM errors and assess the risks of fallout from solderability to testability. Learning curve rejections and rework costs can well exceed the BOM cost in 1st run prototypes and the NRE for screens, machine setup, ATE fixtures and process design is strongly dependant on the complexity of the design and ability for DFT to do fault isolation quickly. i.e. self test vs ICT vs FT etc. Don't be too quick to assume the cheap cost unless you can commit and prepay volumes or take a risk on low cost & cross your fingers on yield. Either they need to be desperate for business or you are willing to take huge risks on field failures.

• Can you point to some resources to learn how to maximise yield and/or make it less challenging to assemble boards?
– Dojo
Aug 1, 2016 at 17:47
• Look up DFM for pcb Mar 10, 2018 at 6:46