In principle any PCB order can be pooled with other orders. Basically there is only one condition that needs to be met: We have enough similar orders to join together into one larger production order. However, it does not simply end there for us, we also need to ensure that the technology of the orders is compatible and their ordered quantities match.
For many years now our calculator has dealt with the technological aspects of order pooling. Our PCB Configurator will flag up any restriction with the technology requested by the customer which is making pooling unpractical. If a board cannot be pooled, the cost of board production increases significantly because it has to be manufactured separately on its own production panel.
We have now equipped our PCB Configurator with a comparable logic for order size mismatches. The larger the order, the less practical the order pooling will be. Based on the size of your PCB/customer panel we calculate how many production panels will be needed to produce the order. If for our STANDARD pool service, the number of production panels needed to make the order will be larger than 25, then order pooling is no longer viable. In that case we calculate the order as non-pooling. The PCB/customer panel size will influence the production panel efficiency factor which will be the major cost driver for the board price.
In case PCB configurator finds a non-pooling condition, it will flag it up under remarks explaining the reason for it and will highlight coins next to the order details that are the cause of this condition. At the same time under remarks we specify the “production panel efficiency” as a %. This makes it possible to adapt the size of your PCB/customer panel to a more efficient size driving the “production panel efficiency” up and thus the price per piece down or specially for small orders to increase the quantity to better fill the production panel at the same total order price.
Two examples will explain better what is involved.
Non-poolable technological option and production panel fill
A 4-layer board, 65x55mm in reverse build making it non-pooling and this as a 2 piece’ prototype order.
Non-pooling means we have to make one production panel for this order and cannot fill the empty space with other orders. The production panel efficiency is 4%.
More boards will fit on the panel. You may increase the number of boards thus increasing the production panel efficiency. Increasing the quantity to 40 will upgrade the production panel efficiency to 81% and will hardly move the total price.
Non-poolable quantity and inefficient customer panel
A double sided board 65x55mm in customer panel in BINDI pool +/- 1.600 pieces needed.
Using a more or less square customer panel of 4x4 has a production panel efficiency factor of 59% and will result into a price per piece of 16.23€/16 = 1.014€.
Simply changing the customer panel to 5x3 will solve all remarks and results into a price per piece of 10.64€/15 = 0.709€ or 30% less by simply permitting us to utilise the production panel space more efficiently.
These two examples explain two classic cases of optimizing non-poolable orders by either filling the one production panel in case of a small prototype order or optimizing the production panel efficiency by opting for the ideal customer panel size. In both cases we have a WIN-WIN situation between our customers and Eurocircuits by keeping the non-usable area to a minimum. Our PCB Configurator helps you doing that.
More background info:
Non-poolable quantities counted in more than “X” production panels per service are:
- STANDARD pool – 25 production panels
- BINDI pool – 25 production panels
- IMS pool – 25 production panels
- RF pool – 10 production panels
- SEMI-FLEX pool – 5 production panels
- NAKED proto – 5 production panels
Production panel size are:
- 0L, 1L, 2Layer - 24”X18” leaving a net area of 581mmX428mm
- Multi layers – 21”X18” leaving a net area of 501X428mm
All size and production panel efficiency calculations in PCB Configurator are made using the rectangular contour of the PCB/customer panel.
For all complex shapes or very complex panelisations, we advise our customers to make use of the “Launch Inquiry” option in the service selection page.
Order pooling is Eurocircuits’ mission.
If you want to know all about order pooling and its history, then read our BLOG: “The history of order pooling”.