Internet headline 2 October 2015
The price of gold has risen by nearly 250% over the past few years. So accurate costing is essential both for our customers and ourselves.
We have made some changes in the way we calculate chemical nickel-gold (Che Ni/Au) prices. Previously we had 2 options:
- Che Ni/Au selective: the nickel/gold surface finish was applied only to the copper exposed by the soldermask.
- Che Ni/Au overall: this covered 2 situations: cases where the customer required nickel-gold over the whole board but under the soldermask; and cases where there was no soldermask on one or both sides.
Now we offer a choice of 3 options:
- Che Ni/Au selective
- Che Ni/Au sel. – large area
- Che Ni/Au before soldermask
Che Ni/Au selective and Che Ni/Au sel. – large area
For Che Ni/Au selective and Che Ni/Au sel. – large area the nickel/gold surface finish is applied only to the copper exposed by the soldermask. If the exposed copper covers less than 40% of the board surface choose Che Ni/Au selective; if it covers more, choose Che Ni/Au sel. – large area. The percentage of exposed (or “free”) copper is calculated in real time and shown in the DFM section of PCB Checker.
Both Che Ni/Au selective and Che Ni/Au sel. – large area are pooling options.
How to use the new options when specifying Che Ni/Au surface finish?
- Select Che Ni/Au selective in the price calculator menu.
- To get the final PCB price, upload your data to allow PCB Visualizer to calculate the free copper area.
- Open PCB Visualizer in your Shopping basket.
- For most PCBs the free copper will be less than 40% of the board area, so Che Ni/Au selective will be correct. When you open the Shopping basket, there will be a green tick in the PCB Visualizer column (assuming that there are no other issues).
- If the free copper is more than 40% of the board area on the top or bottom layer (typically where there is no soldermask on top and/or bottom layers), there will be a red flag in the PCB Visualizer column. Click the item to open PCB Configurator/PCB Checker. A Remarks message will advise you to change to Che Ni/Au sel. – large area. The PCB price will rise slightly. Click the “PCB Checker” and “DFM information” tabs to see the exact values.
- If you have selected Che Ni/Au sel. – large area and the free copper percentage is less than 40% of the board area, a message will advise you to switch to Che Ni/Au selective.
If you have selected Che Ni/Au sel. – large area when calculating the price and the free copper area is less than 40%, PCB Visualizer will show a green tick (as the job is producible). If you have selected Che Ni/Au sel. – large area in the pricing menu always click the item in the basket and check for the warning message.
- The new price for boards with Che Ni/Au surface finish and no soldermask on top or bottom layers is significantly lower than the present Che Ni/Au overall price.
Che Ni/Au before soldermask
This is now a separate option. As it is rarely specified and requires a special process route, it cannot be pooled. It is now a non-poolable option. In case you have chosen it by mistake you will receive a warning message.