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Physical and Electrical Partitioning In PCB Design

Physical and Electrical Partitioning In PCB Design

Partitioning your design into physical and electrical sections can significantly reduce the number of through-holes you need in your PCB, thereby increasing production speed and cutting down on manufacturing costs. Here, we will explain what physical and electrical partitioning are how they are used in PCB design, and how to create effective partitioning schemes in your PCB designs.
As you work on your next PCB design, you may be wondering how to implement physical and electrical partitioning in your design. These two factors are equally important to making the finished product successful, and both have a huge impact on the success of your design project as a whole. Stay with us if you’re looking to save time and money while producing high-quality products, read on!

Layout Considerations

When you’re laying out a Printed Circuit Board, you have two different considerations, such as physical, which is how your components are laid out on your printed circuit board; and electrical, which has to do with where you’re going to put all of your wires. These two can be grouped when it comes time for assembly.
For example, if you plan to use surface-mount parts that require soldering instead of wire-wrapping, then you will want to make sure that there is enough space between these parts so that they can be easily soldered onto your PCB. If you don’t leave enough space between them, then there won’t be room for solder paste. The solder paste is a sticky substance used to hold down SMT parts during pcb assembly.
This makes soldering difficult or impossible and the same logic applies to wiring. If you don’t leave enough space between components, then your wires may not fit without being bent too much or getting in each other’s way. This can cause problems when it comes time to solder everything together, as well as with heat dissipation, and too many wires crammed into one area might block airflow and cause overheating issues.
On top of that, you also need to consider things like trace width and spacing. Trace width refers to how wide your traces are (the lines connecting individual pads on your PCB), while trace spacing refers to how far apart they are from each other. Trace width should always be smaller than trace spacing because having wider traces means more copper is needed per unit length which means higher cost and greater weight.
Traces are usually made using either a single solid line or multiple lines connected by vias. Single solid lines tend to be faster but less reliable than multiple lines connected by vias, but they’re also easier to design and cheaper. Vias are holes drilled through layers of material that allow traces on different layers to connect.However, vias increase complexity and cost. There are several tools available to help designers create their circuits. Some free software options include EagleCAD, Kicad, Altium Designer, and CAD. However, regardless of what software you choose to use, remember that layout is only half of the process.

Physical and Electrical Partitioning In PCB Design-Content Image
Physical and Electrical Partitioning In PCB Design-Content Image

Overlapping Impedance Nets & Ghost Nets

To create a circuit board with electrical & physical separation, you must insert impedance nets into your design. There are three different ways you can do that, including overlapping impedances, creating ghosts, or through a virtual ground plane. In some designs, more than one method is used. So, let’s see how and when to use them.

An overlapping impedance net has part of it on one side of a barrier, and part of it on another side. A ghost net is used when you have two nets that need to be separated but you don’t want them physically separated because they are too close together or because they are too important for each other. A ghost net is just a virtual representation of an actual physical connection that exists between two parts of your circuit board.

A good example of why you might use a ghost PC board net instead of separating your nets with some physical method is if you have 2 power supplies that need to share ground. They can share ground by having their grounds tied together through some kind of wire.But, since they’re both supplying power independently, we don’t want them tied directly together at all times, but only when there is a current going through either one or both supplies. So what do we do? We create a ghost ground plane where we tie their grounds together. This way, when none ofthe supplies is active, there’s no connection between them, and when either supply is active, there isa connection between them.

An electrical partitioning net does exactly what it sounds like. It partitions electrical signals from each other. In a design where you want to physically separate your nets, you can do that by creating an impedance plane that separates them. But, then how do you keep them electrically isolated? That’s where a physical partitioning plane comes into play. This is just another name for a ghost ground plane, but instead of being used for sharing grounds between two supplies, it’s used for keeping two parts of your circuit board electrically isolated from each other while still allowing communication between them.

One last thing about these three methods is thatyou can’t use one without using at least one of the others. If you have a wall between two sections of your circuit board, there has to be some way for those sections to talk to each other. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be able to pass power or data. So, if you have a wall, you need ghosts or an impedance plane on both sides of it. And if you have ghosts, there needs to be a wall somewhere too.

Why Would You Ever Choose One Method Over Another?

Well, overlapping impedances are good when you don’t need high-frequency performance because they introduce more inductance than either of the other two methods. Ghosts are good when you don’t care as much about electromagnetic interference or EMI because they don’t create as much capacitance as either of the other two methods.

Whereas the physical partitioning nets are good when you want to keep your layout compact or if you have a design that’s already laid out and you can’t change it, as having a wall between two sections of your board is going to require some rework if it doesn’t already exist.
So, you need to decide if you want your partitions at a high frequency or low frequency. For a high-frequency circuit board, you’ll need to use overlapping impedances or ghosts; for a low-frequency circuit board, you can just go with physical partitioning nets.

Solving Unplanned Overlaps

It’s not uncommon for two different circuit boards or two different designs within a single board to overlap. Unplanned overlaps are hard to solve, but these tips will help you create better schematics so that you can avoid them.
Before you design your next PCB, make sure you follow all of these guidelines for PC Board Fabrication. By doing so, you’ll be able to identify overlaps before they occur and reduce your chances of creating any issues when manufacturing your product.
If you don’t have access to specialized tools or software, consider using some online tools like Google Sketch Up to help with your schematic design. These free programs allow you to build 3D models of your circuits, as well as export them into other applications like Eagle CAD or Altium Designer. This allows you to easily view how your components will fit together on a printed circuit board.
You should also use both software and hardware layout techniques to ensure that there aren’t any unplanned overlaps between your PCBs. While it may seem easier to just use one method, it’s important to understand how each technique works so that you can spot potential problems early on. For example, if you only use software-based layout techniques, then you might miss physical overlaps that would prevent a component from fitting onto your board.
Similarly, if you only rely on hardware-based methods, then you might overlook electrical conflicts that could lead to shorts or failures during testing. The best way to get around these kinds of issues is by using both types of layouts simultaneously. You can use a program like Altium Designer to lay out your circuit board, then print out an image of what you’ve created. Then take that printed image and place it over your actual PCB. This ensures that you catch any unplanned overlaps before they cause problems later on down the line.
Just remember, even though it takes more time upfront, double-checking everything twice is always worth it. With that said, there are still times when the overlap errors do slip through. When you find yourself in a situation where you need to resolve an issue like this, we recommend you double-check it. As it would become much easier to fix an error than it would be otherwise. You can also get professional help in this regard.
Would like to know more about physical and electrical partitioning in your designs or pcb assembly services? Write us at sales@pnconline.com

Stencils for SMT Assembly

Stencils for SMT Assembly

A stencil mask is used in many manufacturing processes to make PCBs. This includes SMT stencils which are most commonly used in the process of making printed circuit boards. The use of these SMT assembly varies based on the size and complexity of the board that they will be used on and the type of assembly machine that will be using them.
For any SMT stencil application, solder paste should be used for paste dispensing. Advantages of using a stencil method are high yield rate, high accuracy, and repeatability, low labor cost, and good surface finish. The main disadvantage is that it is not suitable for mass production or high-mix low-volume assembly.

SMT Stencil Types

There are two types of stencils, including manual and automatic. Manual stencils are available in many materials, such as stainless steel, plastic, etc., while the automatic ones are made from silicon rubber material which has been pre-impregnated with the conductive paste by screen printing methods. Both manual and automatic stencils require cleaning after each use.

Cleaning Process

The cleaning of stencils can be either by hand washing with solvents or ultrasonic cleaning bath. If an ultrasonic cleaner is used, then the dry time must be taken into consideration before reusing a stencil again to avoid a short circuit caused by excess moisture on metalized pads.

When an ultrasonic cleaner is not available, the cleaning process should take place immediately after soldering to prevent a short circuit due to moisture trapped under soldered components. It is also important to ensure proper drying of a Printed Circuit Board before applying the stencil. This will help reduce contamination during the next round of the soldering process.

How To Choose The Right SMT Stencils For Your Project?

You have to consider many factors when choosing an SMT stencil, including material, thickness, complexity, size, durability, and cost. It’s important to do your research before ordering a stencil from a vendor.

Stencil Application In PCB Assembly Method

The solder paste should be applied to both sides of a printed circuit board with a stencil. After applying solder paste, components are placed on top of it. Soldering is done by passing an electric current through it. This will melt solder paste, allowing it to flow between pads on PCB and component leads. This process is known as reflow soldering.
There are two types of reflow soldering, including hot air reflow soldering, and infrared reflow soldering. The hot air reflow soldering uses heated air to heat a PCB and components, while infrared reflow soldering uses IR lamps or IR guns to heat a PCB and components.
Both methods can be used for stencil applications. However, the hot air reflow soldering can only be used if there is no need to change the position of components after they have been placed on PCB. If there is a need to change the position of components after they have been placed on a PCB, then infrared reflow soldering must be used instead.

Stencils for SMT Assembly
Stencils for SMT Assembly

What Types of Designs Work with SMT Stencils?

While most customers using stencil printers are familiar with traditional SMT stencils, it’s important to know that there are other types of SMT stencil designs. While each is suitable for certain circuit board and component types, not all of them work with on-demand printing, so there are other factors to consider.
Another consideration when choosing an SMT stencil printer is whether or not you plan to print a single part or multiple parts at once. Most on-demand printers allow users to print one part at a time, but if you need more than one per run, it’s important to find a machine that can handle high volume runs, as well as quick turnaround times. If speed is your top priority, look for a system that offers a fast setup and take-down times so you can get back to production quickly.
Finally, be sure to choose a printer that offers interchangeable nozzles so you have access to different tip sizes without having to buy new machines. For example, if you want to use larger components like QFP packages or BGA chips, you might want a larger nozzle size.
Similarly, smaller components will likely require a smaller nozzle size. This allows you to switch between jobs quickly and easily instead of waiting for replacement parts to arrive. Of course, you should also make sure that your printer supports all of these features before purchasing.

How to Avoid Overruns on a PCBA?

Overruns occur when you place too many components on a single layer of your PC BOARD. This problem can be easily avoided by using stencil masks to help guide where your components should go. While it’s possible to manually transfer the component placement onto a new layer, it’s much easier and more efficient to use stencil masks. These plastic sheets are placed over each hole and etched with a laser, creating an accurate pattern that allows for easy placement of components onto layers below. This process ensures that all your components are placed correctly, which will result in fewer problems once you begin assembling your PCBA.
When there is not enough space between components, they may short out or interfere with one another. Both scenarios will negatively impact performance and may even damage some parts entirely. To avoid these issues, make sure you always use stencil masks to ensure proper spacing.
Additionally, check any design files you received from your manufacturer before placing components; sometimes oversights occur during translation. If you find errors while working with stencil masks, don’t hesitate to reach out to a service provider who can offer additional assistance if needed.

What Are Some Common Mistakes Made When Using SMT Stencils?

A stencil is an important part of manufacturing printed circuit boards, and you should choose it with care. Here, we will discuss some common mistakes when using SMT stencils so you can avoid them on your next project.

Not Knowing How Your Stencil Is Manufactured: There are three ways that stencils are made, such as laser-cut, die-cut, and silkscreen. The first two are much more expensive than silk screening but they produce higher-quality results. Silk screening has been around for decades and allows people without special equipment to create professional-looking stencils that work well for mass production. However, they don’t last as long as other stencils.

Not Checking Your Board for Burrs before Using a Stencil: A burr is a small piece of metal leftover from cutting your board with a laser cutter or CNC machine. It can easily ruin your stencil and make it unusable. You should always check for burrs before using a stencil, and make sure you get rid of them by filing them down with an emery board or some other method if they are present.

Not Pressing the Stencil Firmly against PCB: If you don’t press firmly enough against your board when applying solder paste, there will be air pockets where components won’t be soldered properly. This may not seem like a big deal at a first glance, but it can cause issues later on that could cost you time and money. You should always make sure to press firmly against your stencil before starting to apply solder paste so you get high-quality results every time.

Using a Stencil That Is Too Small for Your Project: When using a stencil for SMT placement, it is important to choose one that is large enough for all of your components. If you try to use a stencil that is too small, you will end up with extra solder paste on your board and possibly even miss-placed components. You should always make sure you are using a stencil that has plenty of room for all of your parts so you don’t waste time or money trying to fix mistakes later on.

Not Cleaning the Board after Use: After you have finished soldering, you should clean off any excess solder paste from your board. If left on there too long, it can cause oxidation and other issues which could ruin both your board and stencil. You should always clean off your board after using a stencil to make sure you don’t run into problems later on.

Using A Stencil That Is Too Old: While they may seem like they last forever, SMT stencils do wear out over time. You should always make sure to replace them when they start showing signs of wear and tear. Signs that your stencil is worn out include warped edges or holes that are too large for your components. If you see these kinds of problems, it’s best to get a new one before continuing with your project so you don’t end up wasting money or having issues later on.
FAQs

Will My SMT Stencil Last Forever?

No matter which type of stencil you purchase, it won’t last forever. Eventually, all stencils will degrade and lose their effectiveness.

What Happens when an SMT Stencil Gets Damaged?

Damaged stencils pose a serious risk because they could cause solder paste to leak through and contaminate nearby components. This can result in costly repair work and even downtime for your production line.

How Do I Test My SMT Stencil to See If It’s Working Properly?

To test your stencil, you can use a device called a stencil tester. You can also get professional help in this case.
Would like to know more about SMT Stencils in PCB or PC Board assembly? Email us at sales@pnconline.com

Identify SMT Components Polarity on a PC Board

Identify SMT Components Polarity on a PC Board

The design of PCB and its assembly involves different components. The smart era has resulted in a compact PCB design and the components’ polarity is hard to identify now. Here, we will see how to recognize the polarity of the SMT components to avoid its reversal during production, ensure a correct PCB, and enhance the quality of engineers’ knowledge regarding the polarized components’ direction.

Understand the Polarity of Components In PCB?

The polarity of SMT components is the position of the SMT components’ first pin or it’s the direction of the component. In other words, when you mount a component during the SMT assembly process, it should be installed in a specific direction and that is polarity.
You have to make sure that both negative and positive poles of the components are connected to the circuit board. If the components’ direction is wrong while mounting, it would result in a blocked circuit, causing a short circuit. Moreover, the body of the component gets burned and the circuit does not function correctly due to wrong placement.

Polar Components and Their Type

PCB has several SMT components having polarity, such as
• Shaped capacitors
• Transistors
• Diodes
• Field effect tube
• IC integrated circuit
• Coil
• Crystal oscillator
• Transformer
• Shielding frame
• Row socket

All these connectors have different symbols, however, there are also several other types of components.

Marking of Polar Components

Components with polarity have specific marks that show the direction of both poles or the direction of the components’ first pin. The two-pin components have mostly positive and negative marks. Whereas in the case of multi-pin components, the mark is the placement of the components’ first pin.

The poor reverse happens if the circuit board has polar components with the wrong polarity. Reverse components are not suitable in terms of Printed Circuit Board function even their mounting and soldering are fine on the board pad. This issue can also burn the PCBA while testing it, making the board less functional.

You have to identify the SMT components’ polarity considering a few things

Identifying The Body Polarity of The Component

It is the position or direction of components’ positive and negative poles. You can also say that it is the first pin of the part marked on the component body.

Identifying the Component Polarity in The Circuit

• It is the position or direction of the positive and negative poles of electronic components. It can also be the direction of the first pin in the circuit.
• Another thing to consider is the mounting of the electronic components on the PCB. Whereas the component body’s polarity corresponds to the circuit’s polarity.

PCB has electronic components mounted on it through surface mount technology. The component body’s polarity corresponds to the circuit’s required polarity.

Printed circuit boards made by SMT are getting more integrated with precise components layout. Moreover, the components are getting smaller than before due to smart PCBs.

In mobile phones’ motherboards, you won’t find any components. So, you can’t identify the components’ polarity intuitively. In such products, the components tag map is used to create a material release map to identify the polarity, and the location specification to help quality personnel ensure the first piece which also becomes a sample for testing. This test ensures a flawless identification of the component polarity.

Identifying the Capacitor Polarity

• The chip resistors have no polarity.
• The ceramic capacitor is non-polarized.
• Polarity of the tantalum capacitors is determined by positive and color band marking of the components on PCB and diagonal marking.
• The capacitance and electrolysis of aluminum come up with polarity. The color band of components shows a negative marking. Whereas the PCB mark is positive.

Identifying the Inductor Polarity

• There is no need to identify the polarity for a chip coil package and welding areas.
• There are polarity requirements for multi-pin inductors. The polarity point is indicated by dot/1. Whereas the PCB mark is indicated by dot /circle / “*” for the polarity point.

Identifying the Diode Polarity

The surface-mounted LED in PCB has polarity. The components’ negative polarity is indicated by green. Whereas PCB’s negative polarity is indicated by the vertical bar, color band, and silk screen’s sharp corner.

Identifying the IC Polarity

• You can identify the polarity of the integrated circuit through SOIC packaging. It is indicated as a color band, groove, symbol, concave point, and bevel.

• The polarity of the SOP and QFP packaging is indicated by groove, concave, and two different points.

• The polarity of the QFN packaging is indicated by a beveled edge to the marking, a symbol like a horizontal bar, and two different points in terms of size and shape.

Identifying the Polarity of Ball Grid Array, BGA

In this case, the component polarity is indicated by a dot, concave point, groove, and a circle mark. Whereas the PCB polarity is indicated by dot, circle, and diagonal to mark. Moreover, the components’ polarity point corresponds to PCB’s polarity point.

Things To Consider In PCB Manufacturing For Components Direction

PCB assembly gets wrong if the components are not compatible with their orientation. However, certain warning signs regarding the PCB design guidelines can help in this case. The manufacturer has to consider a few things while reviewing a PCB design, such as:

Quality of design: the CM can enhance PCB production by finding the defective parts during assembly and replacing them with the right material or parts.

Standard assembly: PCB design should be compatible with assembly and the CM can ensure low-cost manufacturing by reducing the time and labor.

Assembly issues: the CM can also enhance PCB production by removing the potential assembly problems. This can also reduce the overall assembly cost due to reduced time and labor.

Thermal performance: certain components have to be positioned at a certain angle to enhance the airflow around the circuit board. This step keeps the parts cool and effective.

PCB going through a solder reflow also has issues with components orientation. Sometimes, the passive parts are placed together to connect all the pins to one power bus. When the direction of such components is unable to change, the power bus connection should be through a thin trace to remove the large metal areas that flood the pin.

The passive components having irregular metal connections between two pins might be vulnerable to floating on the pad surface or can cause tombstoning in solder reflow.

The direction of the parts is also a concern if they lie on PCB edges. In the case of V-groove scoring, the direction and placement of the components should allow some space for the scoring tool to work. It helps to remove the defects in PCB and the parts also stay safe. Moreover, you should also consider the direction of the components in terms of their function.

Identify SMT Components Polarity on a PC Board
Identify SMT Components Polarity on a PC Board

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is SMT Component Polarity In PCB?
The polarity of SMT components is the position of the SMT components’ first pin or it’s the direction of the component. When you mount a component through SMT, it should be installed in a specific direction and that is polarity.
What is SOP in PCB?
SOP means the small outline package that is an IC package of SMT.

What is QFP in PCB?
QFP in PCB means the quad flat package and it is also an integrated package for surface mounting.
What is QFN in PCB?
QFN in PCB means the quad flat no-lead package and it is leadless, small, and provides heat dissipation in PCB.
What are some SMT components with polarity?
PCB has several SMT components having the polarity, such as shaped capacitors transistors, diodes, field-effect tube, IC integrated circuit, coil, crystal oscillator, transformer, shielding frame, and the row socket.

Final Thoughts

The polarity of SMT components is the position of the SMT components’ first pin or it’s the direction of the component. In other words, when you mount a component through SMT, it should be installed in a specific direction and that is polarity.
You have to make sure that both negative and positive poles of the components are connected to the circuit board. If the components’ direction is wrong while mounting, it would result in a blocked circuit, causing a short circuit. Moreover, the body of the component gets burned and the circuit does not function correctly due to wrong placement.
Components with polarity have specific marks that show the direction of both poles or the direction of the components’ first pin. The two-pin components have mostly positive and negative marks. Whereas in the case of multi-pin components, the mark is the placement of the components’ first pin.

The poor reverse happens if the circuit board has polar components with the wrong polarity. Reverse components are not suitable in terms of PCB function even their mounting and soldering are fine on the board pad. This issue can also burn the PCBA while testing it, making the board less functional.

Would like to know more about SMT Components or pcb assembly? Email us at sales@pnconline.com

PCB Design

DFM Issues in PCB Design

You need a well-designed PCB for the effective functioning of the device, and you can have it by focusing on the DFM or Design for Manufacturing. Different requirements are there in terms of PCB design, management, and fabrication that you have to follow. At the same time, you should consider the timeline to have a circuit board within your budget.

PCB and DFM Issues

Having well-executed CAD tools is easy, but these tools cause certain DFM issues which need lots of effort to solve. Sometimes a PCB is correct in terms of electrical requirements, but it is hard to manufacture because you don’t focus on the design layout. The layout issues stay hidden, making it hard for you to assemble a PCB, besides the testing also becomes difficult.
However, you can overcome the DFM problems if you understand the entire process of manufacturing. Now, we will discuss a few DFM issues, including tolerances, acid traps, SMD issues like open vias and uneven connections, a wrong opening of the solder mask, and the violation of standards.
Once you know these problems, it becomes easier for you to resolve them and have an easy fabrication that involves less time to review the design. So, let’s discuss the DFM issues one by one and find their solutions to have the best device.

Connection Issues On The SMD Pads

The connections on the SMD pads often become uneven as components are so small and hard to handle. These connections should be even to avoid the tombstoning while soldering reflow. Likewise, this rule also applies to the BGA pads for precise soldering. In other words, you should place a compatible pad according to the footprints of the components, so the size of the pad matters a lot. Generally, the pad sizes are standard for common components.
The designer can easily check the pad sizes without exporting the Gerber files, like through a 3D, as the manufacturer won’t do this for you. Manufacturers only see the Gerber files to compare the sizes of the components’ in the BOQ.
You also need testing after PCB fabrication to make sure that the connection is even and it involves deep inspection like an X-ray. So, the designer should inspect the footprints to see if they are according to the lead size of the component.

A Wrong Solder Mask Opening

The term solder mask or solder aperture is an opening that helps the solder stay intact on the SMD pads while soldering, be it the wave or hand soldering. A solder ball develops on the pad while soldering which can collapse if it’s too large, moving around at high temperatures. Designers leave a small opening in the solder mask to keep the solder ball intact while soldering, even if the ball is too large. This technique also works in the BGA where a solder dam develops when the mask hinders the pad from circuit board’s via.
You can eliminate this issue by creating the footprints of the components having a proper solder mask opening which often crosses the pad edges about 4 to 5 mils. When the solder aperture is very large, it is not able to block the flow of a solder ball while wave soldering.

Open Via Issues In The SMD Pad

The designer should not give via-in-pad in the PCB. When you place a through-hole via very near to the soldering area, it causes the solder to move through a circuit board’s back. When via is attached to the internal layer’s large plane, it will cause the heat dissipation into that plane. So, it results in tombstoning during pcb assembly.
Though the via-in-pad has a great role in the HDI PCB having BGAs with a fine pitch, it should be avoided in smart circuit boards. You should insert plated-over vias for small boards to avoid the heat dissipation that occurs during soldering and also makes via the connection for thermal relief.

PCB Design
DFM Issues in PCB Design

Understanding the Acid Traps

Printed circuit boards consist of various copper images. Engineers remove extra copper from the laminate with the help of chemicals that sometimes get trapped in a PCB with narrow corners, and this is called an acid trap. This process results in rough copper, damaging the PCB.

There is a way to avoid the acid traps by using low-viscosity chemicals. Acid traps also happen when the routing is done at 90 degrees, so beware of the solution that a PCB manufacturer uses, in this case, to see if it is causing acid traps. The best practice is to route the traces at 45 degrees to avoid the acid traps.

Design Tolerances

PCB design depends on precise parameters and tolerances and you have to maintain them. If you don’t use specific design requirements, the routing tools will create any tolerance. You should keep traces at some distance from other traces, from pads, and from the copper pours. The clearances help in etching and leave a space for manufacturing clearances.
These tolerances are also essential in high voltage layouts. According to the IPC 2221 standards, the difference between conductive elements determines the minimum clearance between the conductor and a trace. The purpose is to avoid the unintended ESD or, conductive filamentation in the case of adjacent conductors, and electrochemical corrosion.

IPC Standards and Their Violation

There are unlimited IPC standards that you have to follow for a reliable PCB. Such standards are regarding tolerances, the annular ring size of the via as per aspect ratio, teardrops on vias and pads, land patterns, sizes of micro vias, trace width as per current, and high temperatures.
Some manufacturers check the Gerber files and testing rules to see if you have violated any standards. Generally, the IPC standards are not mandatory, unlike high-end industries, but following them makes a Printed Circuit Board more reliable.

Accessing The DFM Issues Through PCB Design Software

The above DFM issues are the common ones in PCB manufacturing, but there are several other issues. If you manage all the design rules, you and your manufacturer would end up with a reliable PCB. You need the right software to create a rules-based PCB, avoiding the DFM issues.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is DFM In A PCB?
DFM is Design for Manufacturing which means you have to have a special layout design for a PCB to be manufactured correctly. You will have to face many issues if there is no DFM.
How to Check the DFM Issues?
There are certain PCB testing tools to check the data set, finding issues that can delay the manufacturing. Many online platforms also offer DFM testing tools.
What is SMD in a PCB Design?
SMD stands for Surface Mount Device, and SMD components are parts being soldered to the PCB by using the surface mount technique. There are several types of SMD components having different forms.
What is BGA in a PCB Design?
BGA means a ball grid array, and it’s a surface mount technique for integrated circuits. It helps mount devices permanently, like in microprocessors.
What are PCB Tolerances?
PCB design depends on precise parameters and tolerances, and you have to maintain them. If you don’t use the specific design requirements, the routing tools will create any tolerance. You should keep traces at some distance from other traces, from pads, and from the copper pours. The clearances help in etching and leave a space for manufacturing clearances.
What Are IPC Standards in PCB?
There are unlimited IPC standards that you have to follow for a reliable PCB. Such standards are regarding tolerances, the annular ring size of the via as per aspect ratio, teardrops on vias and pads, land patterns, sizes of micro vias, trace width as per current, and high temperatures.

Final Thoughts

Having well-executed CAD tools is easy, but these tools cause certain DFM issues which need lots of effort to solve. Sometimes a PCB is correct in terms of electrical requirements, but it is hard to manufacture because you don’t focus on the design layout. The layout issues stay hidden, making it hard for you to assemble a PCB, besides the testing also becomes difficult.
However, you can overcome the DFM problems if you understand the entire process of manufacturing. Now, we will discuss a few DFM issues, including tolerances, acid traps, SMD issues like open vias and uneven connections, a wrong opening of the solder mask, and the violation of standards.
There are several DFM issues, and if you manage all the design rules, you and your manufacturer would end up with a reliable PCB. You need the right software to create a rules-based PCB, avoiding the DFM issues.
Contact us at sales@pnconline.com to know more about DFM issues or pcb assembly services.

PC Board

Basic PC Board Rules for Successful IoT Design

The world is becoming smart each day due to IoT, or the Internet of Things. Your life becomes easier when you connect every device to the internet or Wi-Fi. These days there are many smart homes and products which will stay there in the future. The IoT design is a specific area of electronics design that has boosted the PCB industry.
However, the development of a revolutionary design is not so simple even though the IoT devices are smart and seem simple, it is not so. You need a well-designed PCB for such a device. The PCB should have specific components to meet the needs of the smart world.
The IoT design involves rigid-flex circuits with certain challenges and physical interfaces which are not there in ordinary PCBs. You need certain tools for a smart PCB, like PADS, Xpedition, and other such simulation tools.
Now, smart devices are managed through remote apps, however, it is just a little part of the IoT. The technology is working in big industries like agriculture, transport, biomedical, and consumer electronics. It involves wireless technologies, such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and cellular networks. So all such devices need well-designed hardware in the form of PCBs.

Impact of IoT on the PCB Design and Construction

You have to follow certain rules while designing an IoT-based PCB. It involves a precise evaluation and focusing on the power management, sensors, and the wireless connection, and the Printed Circuit Board should be compatible with all these factors. The design of such printed circuit boards is not like the conventional boards.

Which Aspects Influence the IoT PCB

You have to consider the size, layout, signal strength, security, power, and thermal management while designing a smart PCB. Let’s look at all these factors individually.

1: PCB Size

As IoT devices are small, they need tiny components for signal transmission. Manufacturers use MEMS technology to develop modern sensors because they are economical, reliable, and help develop a small layout. Such a board should have well-integrated components, precise placement of the processor and MCU, and the Wi-Fi interface. Besides, the analog areas should be separate from the digital areas.

2: Layout Design

In the case of IoT, the printed circuit board should have multiple layers to enable traces’ routing. Such a PCB has stringent constraints when it comes to EMC or electromagnetic compatibility.
Moreover, high-density components need high-density interconnections or HDI to help reduce the pads’ size and increase the number of vias or holes.

3: Signals Integrity

The PCB should have high-end sensors for precise signals, free from the coupling. The signals should not interfere with the wireless signals and power lines. They should work well in all kinds of operating conditions.

4: PCB Materials

Smart technology and IoT have resulted in innovative materials for developing PCBs, including flexible boards. A flexible PCB is designed after considering the material’s mechanical structure and position of the electric components. You can place many components on a flexible PCB, so it is also suitable for wearable devices.
A flexible PCB has simple wiring than a rigid PCB and it stays strong during mechanical stresses, which are often hard to ignore.

5: Power Management

You have to consider the battery life of the IoT devices, and the power management helps you to enhance the battery function. You must have a well-integrated circuit in terms of power. The circuit should have functional blocks within the power cost or budget.
The designer of the PCB design PCB design should estimate the power consumption in a device’s multiple operating conditions. You must know that the wireless transceivers sometimes come up with absorption peaks while the transition from an Off state to an On state. Besides, considering the power consumption during a battery’s deep sleep mode is also essential because it helps determine the battery function.

6: Security System

Though the internet world has unlimited benefits, you become vulnerable to lots of threats. The IoT involves a shared network, so you cannot escape from attacks without good security. The water, gas, and electricity meters also become unsafe due to IoT devices. Similarly, the electro-medical device is also at risk as it has highly sensitive data.
Security software is not sufficient in this case, so the designer has to consider it while developing any hardware. However, the cryptographic engines provide high-end security through encrypted algorithms, including DESM, AES, as well as SHA.

7: Thermal Management

An IoT device is very small and runs with a battery, and it has a slot-free cover, so it needs proper thermal management. The designer should take care of the hot spots while designing a PCB. These hot areas happen when their temperature gets over 150 °C, but it can be managed through traces geometry, like the width and height ratios. You must provide copper plating to thermal vias and should add the copper planes for thermal management.
The IoT PCB has a limited area, so the designer has to provide the grounding area carefully for proper RF connectivity and heat dissipation. Sometimes the designer focuses on the simulation of the thermal air and provides it through both 2D and 3D models. Whereas, the tools like ECAD and MCAD help in this case.

Some Other Design Considerations

As IoT devices involve wireless connections, they should be certified in terms of RF components. These certificates have different names depending on the country as FCC works in the United States, and Canada has IC. Whereas CE is used in Europe, moreover, some additional certificates are also required, including WEEE and PTCRB, which ensure the standard emission of the radiations.
The certification process becomes easier if you use a pre-certified RF module because you can use it in the device directly, and you don’t have to pay for an expensive certification.
Due to smart solutions, more design tools are emerging for designing the IoT PCB that involves the AMS or analog signals, circuit analysis, simulation, and some models.
The strength of the connections is validated through simulation, so it is essential to consider. Well-designed software can simulate a circuit’s schematic by taking care of various design parameters, like time and frequency domain, operating point, sensitivity, worst conditions, and the Monte Carlo analysis.
The designer also has to consider the size, battery life, charging time, and power usage in the case of wearable devices.

IoT PCB Development

You must focus on the pcb fabrication process and assembly before making it. As a smart device has less space, a flexible PCB works for it because you can bend it as you want without affecting the device.
Besides, the manufacturing tools and equipment should be strong enough to bear vibrations and shocks. Other than a flexible PCB, the designer can use the SiP technology for the simple manufacturing of the IoT PCB. The SiP or System-In Packages help to use a complex analog, RF, and a digital system through a single chip. However, the chip works just like a traditional chip.
The IoT device should have a consistent network connection like the 24/7 operation works in the industrial applications having a 100 % uptime.
Likewise, it is essential for a PCB to have constant power to work consistently. The battery life of the portable devices should be extended for high efficiency.
Whether it’s the PCB design or some other stage of the IoT device development, the verification of the manufacturability of the product is essential. The DFT or Design for Test tool works in this case and helps to find any defect in the PCB before using it.
Likewise, the DFMA analysis helps to detect any issues while PCB designing, and you can resolve them before producing the PCB.
Similarly, you have to consider the security of the IoT devices to avoid any counterfeiting of a PCB that often happens in metrology applications. Manufacturers are now developing advanced technologies to create the IoT PCB. Like, they use the coded IDs for every PCB layer, so it is hard to replicate it.
So, you can create a well-designed and well-assembled IoT PCB by considering important factors.

Final Thoughts

The IoT design involves rigid-flex circuits with certain challenges and physical interfaces which are not there in ordinary PCBs. Smart devices are managed through remote apps, however, it is just a little part of the IoT. The technology is working in big industries like agriculture, transport, biomedical, and consumer electronics.
IoT involves wireless technologies, such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and cellular networks. So all such devices need well-designed hardware in the form of PCBs. You need a well-designed PCB for such a device. The PCB should have specific components to meet the needs of the smart world.
You have to follow certain factors while designing an IoT-based PCB. It involves a precise evaluation and focusing on the power management, sensors, and the wireless connection, and the PCB should be compatible with all these factors.
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