Author Topic: USA Based PCBs with competitive prices to China????.........  (Read 53288 times)

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Offline ThermallyFrigid

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Re: USA Based PCBs with competitive prices to China????.........
« Reply #25 on: June 02, 2022, 11:57:42 am »
JCLPCB makes more money on shipping than on the boards in the "small board" market.

If you order two different boards at the same time from JCLPCB you will see they still nearly double the shipping cost.  Shipping is their profit maker.

Having managed a fulfillment center this is something I know.
Fulfilment centers and large scale shipping houses make their money off of the difference between the "Retail" shipping cost and what their Volume discount costs for shipping the same item is.

There is a significant difference in what you pay for shipping retail vs what a mass shipper pays.  VERY significant.  Or at least there was when I managed a fulfillment center.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2022, 12:00:14 pm by ThermallyFrigid »
 

Online thm_w

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Re: USA Based PCBs with competitive prices to China????.........
« Reply #26 on: June 02, 2022, 10:22:49 pm »
JCLPCB makes more money on shipping than on the boards in the "small board" market.

If you order two different boards at the same time from JCLPCB you will see they still nearly double the shipping cost.  Shipping is their profit maker.

Having managed a fulfillment center this is something I know.
Fulfilment centers and large scale shipping houses make their money off of the difference between the "Retail" shipping cost and what their Volume discount costs for shipping the same item is.

There is a significant difference in what you pay for shipping retail vs what a mass shipper pays.  VERY significant.  Or at least there was when I managed a fulfillment center.

Try again, maybe your boards are very large, I just added a second board and the shipping cost did not change at all. $18.
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Online toybuilder

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Re: USA Based PCBs with competitive prices to China????.........
« Reply #27 on: February 11, 2024, 07:06:39 am »
U&I does LPI as well as screened overlay.  They used to only do LPI, but I once received a screened board and was told that I need to specify LPI to ensure LPI.

You can see how much nicer LPI looks here: https://imgur.com/gallery/ey8gm

 
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Offline S. Petrukhin

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Re: USA Based PCBs with competitive prices to China????.........
« Reply #28 on: February 11, 2024, 12:51:28 pm »
JCLPCB makes more money on shipping than on the boards in the "small board" market.

JCPBC produce a huge number of orders for the local market and mass production.
There are always unoccupied places on the standard panel to attach a small order to this locomotive.  :)
And sorry for my English.
 

Offline glenenglish

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Re: USA Based PCBs with competitive prices to China????.........
« Reply #29 on: February 15, 2024, 11:40:49 pm »
I tried a few 6 layer boards on https://quickturnpcb.co.kr/

and they were 8 to 10 x the price of JLCPCB....
 

Offline Kean

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Re: USA Based PCBs with competitive prices to China????.........
« Reply #30 on: February 16, 2024, 01:02:14 am »
I tried a few 6 layer boards on https://quickturnpcb.co.kr/

and they were 8 to 10 x the price of JLCPCB....

I think it would be difficult for almost any company to match JLCPCB pricing, but 8x-10x seems high.  Probably justified by using "quick turn" in their name even though they are likely no faster...

Out of interest have you chatted with Alfatron about their Aussie PCB fabrication?  I think so far they only offer 2 or 4 layer in small volume, but have plans for 6 layer.
 

Offline glenenglish

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Re: USA Based PCBs with competitive prices to China????.........
« Reply #31 on: February 16, 2024, 03:03:11 am »
Hi
Have not had any contact with them (Alfatron), however I find most shops dont want to do layer stackups that I need. nor the geometry.......JLC have a varety of layer stackups  that have no penalty to choose.
if the difference was 25% , I'd go that way, but also the local manufcaturers have got nothing on fine geometry

I talk with Lintek etc, something that is very standard at JLC is high tech for Lintek.  The Asians are good at making high quality, fine geometry PCBs, and they work on small margins and so they very easily lose their shirt if they have board faults.

It's a bit different to say, buying a spanner made in china,  dimesions are not quite right, metal a bit soft etc
But with PCBs- there is nowhere to hide ! a short is a short ! an open is an open- and a fail and requires supplying a new set to the customer.

I need a board house that does 4/4 and 0.2 drill all day, every day.  and so finds my 5/5 0.25 drill boards  a walk in the park.
 
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Offline IconicPCB

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Re: USA Based PCBs with competitive prices to China????.........
« Reply #32 on: February 16, 2024, 05:41:29 am »
Hello Glen,

Have you checked out the mob out Queanbeyan way...

We had disestablished our chemical processes over this Xmas break.
No call for the service.
Used to do up 8 layer prototyping work in years past.
Limited to 0.010" clearances by the milling tools.   
 

Offline glenenglish

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Re: USA Based PCBs with competitive prices to China????.........
« Reply #33 on: February 16, 2024, 05:45:10 am »
Hi !
yeah the queanbeyan mob dont do anything very challenging very often I suspect. they're probably good with RF substrates, but not 8-12 layer fine stuff.,  RF stuff is their game, super smooth plating etc  for high GHZ

They are not competitive in any way, - they only do gov defence work, so they do not need to be.

Multilayer PCBs are a high labour / labour intensive process, so it is unsurprising AUstralia is not competitive.. with anywhere in the world... maybe Germany ha ha.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2024, 05:47:00 am by glenenglish »
 

Offline IconicPCB

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Re: USA Based PCBs with competitive prices to China????.........
« Reply #34 on: February 16, 2024, 05:51:07 am »
Glen,
If You are looking for a lower cost source send me a representative set of gerbers and I will check my eastern european source.
 

Offline glenenglish

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Re: USA Based PCBs with competitive prices to China????.........
« Reply #35 on: February 16, 2024, 05:55:24 am »
thanks for the options, that's something I wil send to you , send me an email so I can find it.

I am looking at alternatives to China, perhaps Thailand .  Perhaps eastern europe.

Currently, I am extremely happy with my fine geo boards made by "Well PCB" in China.... they are excellent . they're not a point and click web outfit, you send them gerbers and chat with them, and they tell ya how much.
 I use them for 8-12 layers, for 4-6 layers I use JLCPCB.  actually JLC made me some Rogers boards 2 layer and they were right-on.
 

Offline rea5245

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Re: USA Based PCBs with competitive prices to China????.........
« Reply #36 on: February 16, 2024, 12:56:01 pm »
Glen,
If You are looking for a lower cost source send me a representative set of gerbers and I will check my eastern european source.


Would your Eastern European source be interested in being included in PCBShopper's price comparison list? I run it, and I'm always looking to include manufacturers from different areas.

There's no charge to be included in the list, but they would need software on their server that can respond to price queries.

- Bob Alexander
  PCBShopper.com
 

Online Mangozac

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Re: USA Based PCBs with competitive prices to China????.........
« Reply #37 on: February 18, 2024, 09:38:10 pm »
I am looking at alternatives to China, perhaps Thailand .  Perhaps eastern europe.
I'd not heard of boards coming out of Thailand before. Have you found anything promising?

This is a topic I'm always interested in. Of course nowhere is going to do it for the same price as China but it's amazing just how wide the cost gap is!
« Last Edit: February 18, 2024, 09:40:02 pm by Mangozac »
 

Offline glenenglish

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Re: USA Based PCBs with competitive prices to China????.........
« Reply #38 on: February 18, 2024, 09:41:33 pm »
I read about it , so far I've found a couple of, what I think are chinese companies  set up in Thailand, but nothign concrete yet. I think that will be the next growth in our local area to derisk China.
 

Online Mangozac

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Re: USA Based PCBs with competitive prices to China????.........
« Reply #39 on: February 18, 2024, 11:43:25 pm »
Hmmm yes but if they're just Chinese companies operating in Thailand are you really derisking?
 

Offline dobsonr741

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Re: USA Based PCBs with competitive prices to China????.........
« Reply #40 on: February 19, 2024, 03:57:06 am »
OSH Park, if you are ready to decide not to send more business to China. Every order will feel good you directed to OSH Park and away from JLC.
 

Offline SCSKITS

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Re: USA Based PCBs with competitive prices to China????.........
« Reply #41 on: February 21, 2024, 08:00:15 pm »
Back in the mid 2000s through about 2015 when I left the company I was working at I did thousands of boards at quickturnpcb in S Korea (they were U&I at the time), mostly 8 layer and 4 layer. Always had good results. My contact there G. T. Han visited our facility once when he was over here. They were the best value I could find at the time. For my own boards, I started with ALLPCB, mostly 2 and 4 layer boards. All were fine and arrived in about a week. For the last year or so, using JLCPCB for the same types of boards with similar results. I find JLC to be a bit less expensive these days vs ALL especially for 4 layer and for larger boards.. Wish there was an alternative here, but so far, none can meet the price and my margins are small so every penny counts.

ed
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Offline SmokeyTopic starter

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Re: USA Based PCBs with competitive prices to China????.........
« Reply #42 on: February 21, 2024, 11:00:51 pm »
I watched that video tour of JLCPcb recently.  It's sort of amazing the level of continuous automation that goes into the whole process at that scale. 

Questions:
1) Does JLCPcb have a higher level of automation and that's why they are such low cost, or is that essentially the same process that everyone uses these days? 
2) Is a JLCPcb level of automation something you can put together off the shelf, and if so would it be possible to replicate that process anywhere?  Does this only work economical in China? 
3). ...
4) profit!
 

Offline meshtron

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Re: USA Based PCBs with competitive prices to China????.........
« Reply #43 on: February 22, 2024, 12:04:44 am »
OSH Park, if you are ready to decide not to send more business to China. Every order will feel good you directed to OSH Park and away from JLC.

EDIT: My mistake, the experience I describe below was a mashup.  I couldn't get OSHPark to even quote my boards in non-purple without calling someone so gave up on that.  Macrofab wouldn't recognize my KiCAD files and never got back to me after I asked for some clarification.

I had some recent boards quotes at OSHPark Macrofab(!).  Their website was a bit junk (couldn't recognize my files even though they were as specified, possibly because I was using a pre-release version of KiCAD 8).  Board price was ~4X what I paid PCBWay (same quantity and specs).  I couldn't figure out how to NOT get purple (these had to be white soldermask, period).  They sent me an email when I "abandoned" my cart asking if they could help.  I wrote back asking some specific questions about where they'd be made, white soldermask, etc. and never got a response.

I will try again at some point because I would really rather get my stuff made somewhere in North America, but as a first experience it was shockingly poor.  "We may cost 4X as much but at least the service is bad!"  I'm sure others have had better experience, hopefully I will next time as well.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2024, 12:07:14 am by meshtron »
 
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Offline alm

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Re: USA Based PCBs with competitive prices to China????.........
« Reply #44 on: February 22, 2024, 12:45:41 am »
I had some recent boards quotes at OSHPark Macrofab(!).  Their website was a bit junk (couldn't recognize my files even though they were as specified, possibly because I was using a pre-release version of KiCAD 8)
Why not send Gerber files instead of hoping the CAD packages you both use will be compatible? Gerber is the industry standard for a reason. 

Offline glenenglish

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Re: USA Based PCBs with competitive prices to China????.........
« Reply #45 on: February 22, 2024, 12:53:17 am »
I didnt think anyone send CAD specific files.

I thought everyone sent gerbers.
 

Online ataradov

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Re: USA Based PCBs with competitive prices to China????.........
« Reply #46 on: February 22, 2024, 01:11:06 am »
2) Is a JLCPcb level of automation something you can put together off the shelf, and if so would it be possible to replicate that process anywhere?  Does this only work economical in China? 
There are two parts to that automation. One is user facing part and then the actual manufacturing.  US manufacturing fails at the first, most likely because they also behind on the second. You don't want to have a slick interface if you can't handle all the orders that come in. And you don't want to build up manufacturing capability if you won't have any orders.

And even if you decide to automate stuff, you would them have to invest in marketing. So, it is a lot of upfront investment.

Just looking at the first US manufacturer that came to mind (4PCB / Advanced Circuits) - go to their site, see big green "GET INSTANT QUOTE" button, press it, observe - "CREATE ACCOUNT (NEW USERS) | LOG-IN". Nope, thank you, the quote was not as instant as I needed it to be. I'm not giving you my email to be spammed before I know I want to deal with you.

And the only reason they came to mind is that I look at their promotional PCB coaster every day. So, clearly they invested a bit into marketing. They just don't seem to get how modern times work and that nobody wants to talk to sales people, except other sales people.


OSH Park are exceptionally good at what they do, but they are really only setup for prototypes. I started using them a lot after they added "after dark" color option. I would not be using puke purple even for prototypes. But unfortunately "after dark" is only available in two layers, no 4 layer option for that. If I were them, I would drop the purple gimmick and revert to the plain green PCBs. They would get a lot more business at least from me.

If anything, for hobby friendly stuff, OSH Park will scale up sooner than any of the established manufacturers.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2024, 01:17:57 am by ataradov »
Alex
 
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Offline rea5245

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Re: USA Based PCBs with competitive prices to China????.........
« Reply #47 on: February 22, 2024, 01:26:49 am »
At the risk of introducing politics, I think the American PCB manufacturing situation highlights how the problem goes far beyond anything tariffs could fix. The price difference between China and US manufacturers is so great that 10% or even 60% tariffs would not help. You would need tariffs of a few hundred percent, and that would just crash electronics development in the US.
 

Offline glenenglish

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Re: USA Based PCBs with competitive prices to China????.........
« Reply #48 on: February 22, 2024, 01:29:55 am »
labor costs. PCBs are hard labor work. USA  never going to compete with SE asia  without robots doing all the work
 

Offline floobydust

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Re: USA Based PCBs with competitive prices to China????.........
« Reply #49 on: February 22, 2024, 01:35:08 am »
AP Circuits Calgary closing note:
"The Chinese Government has aggressively pursued market dominance for their industries forcing over 600 board shops to shutter in North America in the past 5 years. As of June 2019, pricing for Chinese produced boards delivered to North America are less expensive than raw material costs and overhead for a domestic fabricator. Except for instances where Intellectual Property protection is required, Chinese shops are taking the majority of the remaining orders. Privately owned operations are unable to compete against a government's wealth. This past year, prototyping has been aggressively pursued by Chinese fabricators. A reduction in delivery times from their continent combined with artificially low pricing is impacting all manufacturing in North America. After 35 years in operation, AP Circuits has been forced to discontinue production and layoff it's staff."

It's obvious the chinese are dumping PCB fab services, and we all like the low prices.
 


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