Does IPC Class 3 promote reliability?
The problem is that PCBs are seldom sold at the right price and that customers don't always get what they ordered. Either due to tradition or routine, plus a large dose of customer ignorance, PCBs are frequently ordered using specifications with very high reliability, e.g. IPC Class 3 – at a price that doesn't cover the costs! The PCB plant accepts the order for the same reasons, but without delivering the desired reliability, and consequently at the wrong price.
We are living in a world of illusion. The customer believes, or wants to believe, that he is getting the right product. And the supplier also believes he is supplying the right product.

What factors determine the price of a PCB? 
There are a number of factors that affect the price of a PCB – e.g. the size, lead time, number of PCBs, choice of materials, number of layers, number of drill & press cycles, restricted tolerances and correct or incorrect advice. In this newsletter, we at HPCB want to shed some light on these factors and provide you with information that will improve your purchasing.

Well-intended advice may increase production costs
Is there a risk that advice provided with the best of intentions actually increases the price of a PCB? Shouldn’t all advice be beneficial? Naturally, the aim of advice is to provide the customer with better results from their purchasing, but problems can occur when the advice is given at an early stage of the design process – e.g. when developing the prototype. Advice about production tolerances, specific make of laminate, choice of prepreg, etc may then be affected by the prototype manufacturer’s sometimes very limited experience of large volume production.. This advice often only takes into account what the prototype manufacturer has in the way of standard materials, surface finishes, internal layers, cores and production equipment.


As a general rule, the prototype manufacturer’s greatest cost incentive is the lead time. When a complicated design arrives he can always choose to start production on several PCBs. It is often of lesser importance for the prototype manufacturer if he starts production of 20 PCBs and then only delivers 10 to the customer, but this equation becomes impossible when it comes to large volume production, where the basis is a final outcome of 95-98%. The prototype manufacturer’s advice may therefore result in a product which can be very difficult and expensive to produce in larger volumes, purely due to a lack of knowledge about large volume production. 



As part of Hypertech’s on gong development program, we will be attending 2 important electronics fairs in the autumn of this year, details below:

ElectronicAsia 2010 (

Date : 13~16 Oct, 2010

Venue : Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre

Booth number : 

Electronica 2010 (

Date : 9~12 Nov, 2010

Venue : New Munich Trade Fair Centre

Booth number :

If you are planning to visit any of the above exhibitions, then please feel free to drop in and meet our professional sales team, it would be our pleasure to meet you in person!



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