Tag Archives: PCB Fabrication

PCB fabrication using green Soldermask

PCB fabrication using green Soldermask?

How to use green Soldermask in pcb fabrication.

As we know that printed circuit boards are the building blocks of electronic devices. It is not wrong if we say that the electronic industry is relying on the quality of printed circuit boards in order to provide better functionality and performance. Now let us move forward with the fact that the printed circuit board is something we need to understand first if we are talking about electronics. Maybe you have seen one in your computer or other commonly used gadgets. What color came to mind? Let me guess! Is it a green board we usually see on our computers? Yes! Printed circuit boards are usually designed in this color. Although there are many other colors available, a vast majority of circuits are designed in green color.

There are a number of reasons for choosing green and we will discuss it further.
But before that let us make one thing clear. The green color of the PC board doesn’t mean that it is green all the way through. It is the outer part that is visible. And that other part is the solder mask of the circuit. So now we have another point. If you want to understand the color philosophy of the circuit, you need to understand what solder masking is. And why it is needed in the circuit.

In the manufacturing process of printed circuit boards, the copper circuitry is etched on the glass fiber interior. This circuitry helps the circuit in avoiding short circuits and soldering errors. The hue of the solder mask is used to protect that copper circuitry and it is the reason that the printed circuit board looks green. But the green color can be modified according to the need and to differentiate multiple printed circuit boards. For example, there is variation in the circuitry of colors provided by design companies. Black, blue, green, and red is provided as standard and commercial color for the solder masking. The electrical traces inside the board are shielded from contamination and moisture with the help of the solder mask.

Moreover, it helps in regulating the process of molten solder flux. There is a plain drab and yellow core of the conventional FR-4 circuits. But there is a variation for the solder masking. We have a number of colors available for solder masking such as white, black, blue, red, and yellow and usually decided during the PCB design portion of the job. Moreover, it is interesting to know that many uncommon colors are also in the hue list such as purple, orange, smooth, red, etc. similarly most combined colors are also available as an extravagant for the boards. So now when we have known that the number of choices is available then the question is even more strongly that why green? Or you can simply say why green is preferred when we have other choices too.

Now we are going to see the reasons why green is the most commonly used color for the solder masking of the printed circuit boards. There are a number of reasons, and we will see the important ones.

Reasons for the green color of PCB

In the early era of technical constraints, humans were controlling the quality of the circuit manually by verifying the board. So, many factors explain the green color of the PCB. As we have discussed before the green color means only the exterior of the printed circuit board. This does not mean that the inner PCB would also be of the same color. The exterior sheet is solder masking.

There are a number of factors that affect the copper traces present inside the circuit board such as oxidation, humidity, contamination, and FOD. The solder mask is the role that reduces the chance of these effects on the circuit board. Now let’s see the reasons for overlying the green sheet over the exterior sheet of the printed circuit board.

Visually relieve color:

Colors may relieve you or exhaust you depending upon their tendency to affect your sight. It may exhaust your min dot work on tiny circuits. But it is proved by psychologists and neurologists that the spectrum of green color has a relieving and smoothie impact on your body and mind. The green color may help in relieving tiredness and fatigue. Squinting at the tiny circuit is difficult but green wavelength has relaxing effects on the body, so it is easy to work on this layer.

Moreover, it is medically proved that the human eyes and cones are most sensitive to the green color. It is easy to distinguish green color as the eyes are robust to green color. Therefore, the traces, empty areas, silkscreens, electrodes, pads, and printings have greater contrast especially during the pcb assembly process. It is easy to detect the flaws in the outer layer if one looks simply at the outer layer. This is easy because of the color contrast used in the outer layer. If you compare the green color solder mask with others such as white, black, red. You will notice that it is easy to distinguish spots in the green color because of high contrasts. Although there are a number of techniques that are being used for spot detection such as flying probe technique and automatic optical inspection. These techniques are highly effective in spotting errors. But the technical reason for using green color remains the same.

Physical superiority of green color:

R&D is preferring green color for making high-quality solder mask oils because of the typical convention of using green hues. The functionality of the resin is impacted in the duration and the actual environment by organic chemical pigmentation. When the demand is reaching the limitation then there is no restriction for choosing a pink board. But the fact is, no other color in the aesthetic palette possesses the qualities same as green color. Moreover, the solder mask dams of 0.1mm can only be produced reliably by commercial green color. On the other hand, 0.12mm can be achieved by red, blue and yellow.

Additionally white and black can produce 0.15mm dams. Solder mask dams play an important role in fine pitch components and integrated circuits. Both ICs and fine pitch components are essential in shielding solder masks from forming.
It is also interesting to know that chlorine is the basis of the green color in the green solder oil. Halogens are made in PCB substrate when chlorine is combined with bromine. Halogens have a severe impact on health and also affect the environment if disposed of inappropriately. But you can also go for halogen-free solder masks as they are also available in the market. But you have to switch to some other color for a halogen-free solder mask.

Cost:

Silkscreen techniques are used when we need to apply solder masking. Across the screen mesh, a large glob of oil is dragged. There is a circuit board underneath which is sent for the curing and another board is pulled under the solder mesh. But there is a pause if you want to apply another color. Because for this purpose you need to wash the silkscreen in order to remove excess oil from the solder mask and then you can apply a new color. Moreover, you need a silkscreen station for each color.

The cost of the circuit board would be affected if you are changing color, increasing the thickness of the board, using multiple pictures, and increasing the number of possible combinations. The wastage of material would also be increased in this way. If the industry is not refusing to take your circuit board, even then you are paying more than your budget in this case which is of course not a good choice. But you can save your cost if you are going for the commercial green colors and their features. Moreover, you should also keep in mind that making a new solder mask that is visually appealing, cures well, applies, and adheres well and a good insulator is not an easy process at all. For your special request such as for matte color, you need to pay an extra amount.

So, there are a number of choices available for you to consider in the case of the colors of the printed circuit board. Every color has its pros and cons. Commonly green is preferred because of its efficiency over other colors but you can choose as per your need.

PNC is the market leader in providing cost-effective pcb assembly services. Just email us at sales@pnconline.com to get your query sorted.

Printed Circuit Board Signal Conditioning Process

Printed Circuit Board Signal Conditioning Process

The process of data acquisition is known as signal processing. This acquisition is done by an instrument which is known as the signal conditioner. There is a conversion of signals that happened in this process. The signal conditioner converts the signal from one form such as electrical or mechanical to another form. The input signal is converted into the output signal in the signal conditioning process. Now the question may arise why do we need to convert the input signal into an output signal? The simple answer is that the signal needs to be amplified.

This amplification helps the signal to be converted into a compatible and easy-to-read form. This form of signal helps in data acquisition and machine control. Analog signals are converted into digital signals but before that, correct preparation is made. In the signal conditioning process, we manipulate a signal in a way that it can be converted and further proceed for the next step. Mechanical and environmental measurements are made in many electronic acquisitions for the measure. These measurements are done with the angle of specific sensors such as temperature and vibrations. But these sensors cannot work accurately for the measurement of the signals if the signal conditioning is not compelled yet.

Certain signals tend to have a very low voltage level. For these types of signals, amplification is required before they can be digitized properly. The best example of these signals is thermocouple signals. Some of the other sensors such as accelerometer, strain gauges, and resistance temperature detector cannot work until the excitation to operate is not completed. All these technologies are the best example of signal conditioning.

Because of its importance, we can say that signal conditional can be considered as the fundamental block of modern data acquisitions taken in consideration during the PCB design step. Physical measurement is the end goal of the data acquisition system. The following basic components are achieved by the signal conditioning process:

• Analog to digital convertor
• Sensor
• Signal conditioning
• Computer with DAQ

Use Of signal conditioning:

As discussed before, the basic task of signal conditioning is the conversion of the signal. The signals are converted from the input form to the output form. Most commonly, the input signals are of the electric type. Now why the conversion is required. This conversion is needed when the conventional signals cannot process the actual signal easily and it needs to be converted so that interpretation can be done correctly.

Frequency, electric charge, AC voltage, electric current, DC voltage, and current are basic signals that are accepted by the signal conditioning process.

A data acquisition system cannot work until it is connected to several signals and a wide variety of sensors. The arranged process is happened for the signal converting. The analog signal is taken by the signal conditioner for better manipulation. Once the signal is manipulated, it is then sent to the analog to digital converter system. The analog to the digital converted system is the end resource and it helps in digitizing the signal so it can be used in further processing. The basic purpose of the signal conditioning business is the conversion from analog to digital signals.

The digital domain is achieved by this process and this domain is then represented, displayed, stored, and analyzed. Input can be measured from a sensor that is used to measure strain, temperature, resistance, and acceleration. Moreover, the input can also be achieved by relays, switches, encoders, and clocks. A huge number of varieties can be interpreted from signal conditioners, this variety of signals include the output type.

There are some basic functionalities of the signal conditioning process. We will see the functionalities later. First, we need to understand the process of signal conditioning after the Printed Circuit board Fabrication is done.

Process of signal conditioning:

Following are the steps that are included in the signal conditioning process. The detail of every step is given for better understanding.

Step 1: Adjustment of a signal according to noise ratio:
The signal is adjusted to the noise ratio with the help of amplification and attenuation. In the electronic dictionary, you can say that amplification and attenuation are two opposite subjects. The deterioration of analog signals happens because of the background noise in the transmission process.

There comes the term signal-to-noise ratio. This means the signal strength ratio to unwanted background interference. This ratio is then increased with the help of amplification by magnifying the voltage level of the input signal. For example, in amplification, a signal of 0-1mv is converted into 0-10v.

On the other hand, in the attenuation process, the input amplitude is decreased. This process is done so that the signal can be fit in the optimal range of the device digitizer.

Step 2: removal of voltage signal for the prevention of equipment from damage:
The filtration and isolation of the input signal are required by the signal conditioning process. This is done because the unwanted background noise that is unwanted needs to be removed. Moreover, the removal of voltage signals that are far beyond the in-line digitizer is also compulsory.

There is a considerable difference in filtering and isolating processes. The filtering is done when noise needs to be rejected from a predefined frequency range. We can say that the isolation process is somehow similar. But the difference is a protection step of data acquisition and control system form the from voltage spikes is done. These voltage spikes can damage the entire data acquisition system.

Step 3: using controlled current or voltage for excitation technique:
Transducers and their subtypes require the excitation process. The operation of an active sensor is done with the help of the external sensor. A few types of signals that require external power to proceed further are strain gauges, accelerometers, transmitters, resistors, thermistors, and RTDs.

Step 4: signal linearization
Sometimes a signal cannot exhibit a linear relationship to the actual measurement. These types of signals can also be produced by some sensor equipment. To overcome this problem, we need a linearization process. As clear from the name linearization is done to optimize this signal according to the actual measurement.

The voltage of the input signal is mapped with the corresponding value requirement by physical measurement. Linearization is a very common signal connection process. The most important use of linearization is in industrial temperature measurement.

Now you have understood the process of signal conditioning in depth. Above mentioned steps need to be followed step by step for better signal conversion. Now it is necessary to understand the basic function of signal conditioning. How it is done and what are the benefits of signal conditioning.

Let’s understand the functionality and the benefits of this process now.

Functions of signal conditioners:

As we have discussed before, the main functions of signal conditioners are filtering, isolation and amplification. If these steps are not done correctly then inefficiencies and inaccuracy can happen. These can lead to incorrect output, loss of data, and other problems. So, the question arises how you can avoid these problems?

Now how would you know which type of signal conditioning is best for you? Well, the type of input signal you are going to use for processing will decide this. The other factors that make an impact on the type of signal conditioning process are desired type of output, available power for isolation in the quality criteria of the signal.

Now let’s understand the basic PC BOARD functions such as accuracy, flexibility, and the isolation required by signal conditioning.

Accuracy:

Accuracy is the main thing to be noticed in the signal conditioning process. There is a broad variety of accuracy along with signal conditioning. There is a direct relation of accuracy between the conditioner and the accuracy of the other equipment. For example, the sensor that is used to provide the signal. An extremely accurate signal conditioner cannot perform well if the sensor is used in the process is not precise and working correctly. So, in a nutshell, you can say that to get the highly correct and efficient output, every degree of accuracy should be the same in the signal conditioner and other parts of the system. Otherwise, the device and cost would be wasted with a high level of precision.

Flexibility:

As clear from the name flexibility in the signal conditioner means processing with a number of signals. A wider range of signal types can be processed with the flexibility feature. It is often considered as an additional advantage. Many designers and manufacturers add this feature to the product just to increase its functionality and efficiency.

Because if the device is dealing with a wide range of signals, it is likely to be more precise and calibrated for sensors. The replacement and change of other important parts of the system can be done with the help of flexibility. This will not affect the other part of the system.

Isolation:

Isolation is used in the signal conditioning process at more than one point. As a clear from the name, this process isolates the components and encourages that there is no interconnection between electric and other parts of the devices. The isolation process is required because it will enhance the common quality of the system. Moreover, the signal that needs to be isolated would also be decided according to configuration.
Should you have any further questions regarding the Signal Conditioning Process, feel free to contact us at sales@pnconline.com

PNC is providing a Turnkey solution to all your SMT assembly and bare board requirements across the United States.

PC BOARD Electronics Components Optimization

PC BOARD Electronics Components Optimization

Can you imagine yourself all dressed up, but you have no place to go? Well, that’s awkward because we all need to do something but for a reason. And that reason should be enough strong that could stop us not to distracted by other various factors. The same happens to the engineer in the circuit board design. Sometimes, an engineer would do a mistake. What’s that mistake? He would probably be all dressed up, but he would not pay attention to the end goal. Instead, he would get distracted by other external factors and end up with nothing. And as a result, he would have a body of the circuit without a soul. That’s sounds bad right? So, what is that one thing that an engineer can apply to avoid this type of situation?

A clear answer, keep an eye on designing and optimizing. Before you launch your electronic component or product, you need to pay attention to the reasonable amount of material used in it.The fact that is overlooked in the virtual designing of the circuit board is that the product would have a physical structure also. The virtual designing process may include the components and design that are not beneficial or may not be available anymore. The database of virtual designing usually includes these components, and an engineer can get some hiccups in their assembly and prototyping process. And if these critical and useful components remain in the PCB design till the end of the designing then many severe problems can also occur.

For example, a delay in production can happen and the client may be unhappy. But the good news is, all these problems can be reduced if you take some steps and make some efforts to optimize your electric component section. But before we discuss the tips and tricks that need to be taken for better optimization of electronic components, one should understand how component procurement takes place.

Component selection and procurement:

You can get ease and freedom to work if the electronic components are placed on the circuit board correctly at a low frequency. The difficulty may arise when final design and heat dissipation occurs. Well, it is easy to deal with low frequency. But in the case of high frequency, the slightest mistake and wrong positioning of electric components that may be valid electrically would end in compromising the overall functionality of the circuit board. So, in a nutshell, it is being said that positioning any electric component in the circuit board is a crucial task to perform. In the case of high frequency, the requirement is also high for good positioning of the components. This will help in optimizing the signal path and improving the circuit operation.

The best placement for the circuit board can only be obtained by following the strict theoretical rules and some powerful software that helps designers in creating a sophisticated circuit. The length of the critical path should be reduced typically. If all the electric components are placed in the right arrangement, then the overall functionality of the circuit board can also be increased. And the physical size would be reduced accordingly.

Component selection is one of the most significant tasks that happen in circuit design and in the lifecycle of product development that may affect printed circuit board assembly. Then, the other tasks are performed to check if the components are integrated, and the device is performing the required functionality or not. Each component is available for a certain period and a graph is made for clear understanding. The product would be available in variation. A new production would be distributed modestly and then it would go to the peak once established and then decline because it is replaced with new technologies.

Following are the few terms that need to be taken care of while optimizing an electronic circuit. Some of them are related to the positioning of the components and some explain the optimization of the signal in any electronic circuit. An engineer should take care of every step so that the outcome of the circuit can work efficiently and effectively.

Placement of components for heat dissipation:

The positioning of components and optimization of a circuit board is not that easy task to do. It is always demanding and delicate to perform. The general recommendation is that the number of elements such as resistor, inductor, capacitor, indicator, and others should be connected with an extremely short track and device connected very close together. This is beneficial when the circuit is operating at a high frequency.

The rule is compulsory to follow for better functionality but sometimes, minimizing the length of the circuit may result in several thermal problems, and uneven accumulation of heat can happen, and some other unexplainable faults can also damage the entire functionality of the circuit board. So, to avoid these types of consequences, it is recommended to use the thermal ducts and go for the parallel positioning of the components.

With the advancement in technology, some techniques rapidly suggest an optimal positioning for components and then a uniform distribution so heat flow can be maintained. This ends up with the excellent thermal performance of the entire Printed Circuit Board circuit.

Placement of high-frequency components:

It is difficult to handle a system if it exceeds the frequency of 1 MHZ. The positioning of capacitive and inductive electrical and electronic components is critical to manage. The components may act differently even if they are arranged and electrically converted. So, the performance of the circuit board would be compromised. The motion of the capacitor and inductance of just a few centimeters can change the game by changing the functionality of the circuit. For example, you must have seen the transistors and receivers on the radio. HF amplifiers and other equipment that work in the high frequency.

Their frequency can be changed accordingly, and they will catch signals from the set frequency. The signal may be spread in the surrounding leaving the circuit in the order of MHz the positioning of the circuit board can be compromised (positively or negatively) with a small variation in the wiring connection. The resistors are difficult to manage and should be done in the most attentive environment.

Genetic algorithms:

As artificial intelligence is covering many other aspects of technology successfully, it had its impact on the world of electronics also. Some techniques help in the implementation of genetic algorithms so that the positioned components can be optimized, and thermal degree can be evaluated in the duration of the operation.

The convection can be cooled by airflow if the genetic algorithms are present on the surface of the board. The thermal model of the circuit acts in two dimensions. So, the optimization of the circuit and position of this differently acting thermal criteria is handled by the algorithm genetic. And this would result in the optimization of electronic components and positioning of components on the circuit board in a three-dimensional way.

All this would be done with the help of genetic algorithms. But arranging and finding the right arrangement is not a piece of cake. There are hundreds and thousands of arrangements that can take place in the circuit. For this purpose, the software has to manage the million permutations and combinations to find the right arrangement. Once the right arrangement is found, it is implemented for the efficient functionality of the circuit board.

Optimizing electrical components selection:

The impact of the component positioning on a circuit board is often undervalued. But the truth is your component choice can affect the assembly of the circuit board in a significant manner. The right choice for component packages can reduce pc board steps in the circuit board either through-hole or surface mount devices. However, some specific steps need to be followed for the overall functionality and optimization of the electric circuit board.

Determine the quantity available in the designing process:

Checking the quantity of the component is important because it helps in manufacturing delays of the circuit in searching for alternatives that perform equally well to the components from alternative markets.

Choose reputable suppliers for components:

Your product quality is depending on the components you are going to use in the circuit. So, selecting reputable suppliers and distributors is equally important to manufacturing. It should be mentioned in the manufacturing procedure which suppliers you are going to deal with for your product components.

Components should have comparable replacements:

Choosing components with replacement can help in minimizing a lot of tasks. Such as requirement gathering and redesigning and redefinition in case of components contingency. The need to update can also be managed.

Maintain access to the current component of the lifecycle:

Having a quick view of the current data rate is important. As the process proceeds further, you will need to check if the particular component is doing great or not. Similarly, this choice is important so you can check if you want to go with the particular component or you should select any other alternative.

Investigate the component:

This step is important to ensure the quality of your component.

Get your pcb fabrication and complete assembling done at PNC. Just contact us at sales@pnconline.com to get a customized quote.

PCB FABRICATION SUBSTRATES

PCB FABRICATION SUBSTRATES

What is PCB substrate?

Every home is required to have a solid foundation. A substrate is also required for every printed circuit board. The actual substance that contains the traces and elements is known as the PCB Fabrication substrate. The first step in creating a high-quality PCB is selecting the correct substrate. Structure and shape are required for a PCB. It also requires a platform or canvas on which to place all of its other components. The PCB’s performance is influenced by the substrate’s properties. A stiff substrate, for example, can improve the PCB’s strength and endurance. More design options are available with a flexible substrate.

The usage of a variety of substrates, ranging from solid fiberglass to flexible polymers, is becoming more common as the PCB industry evolves. Fiberglass has traditionally been the most prevalent type of substrate. It’s a low-cost, high-reliability material that gives the PCB a nice, stable foundation.

pcb board
pcb board

 Material of PCB substrate

It’s only reasonable that the materials you choose have an impact on your product’s performance. It’s the same with printed circuit boards, where selecting the correct PCB substrate materials can have a significant impact on the board’s performance, durability, and other characteristics.

printed circuit board
printed circuit board

Types of PCB substrate material

Following are the good material that we need for PCB substrate.

1. Copper foil:

PCB substrate materials are critical in defining the board’s endurance and quality. Manufacturers appear to be attempting to go towards fine lines and high density. You may be familiar with the term HDI PCB. This is the abbreviation of High-Density Interconnect Printed Circuit Board. To be classed in the HDI category ten years ago, a board had to have a line space (S) and line width (L) of less than 0.1mm. Today’s standards differ from one industry to the next. S and L on electronic devices are frequently set as low as 60m, and in advanced applications, they can even go as low as 40m. Once a thin copper foil substrate is applied, S and L can reach as low as 30m during circuit design development. The ideal thickness is between 9 and 12 meters.

The issue is that a thin copper-coated laminate can be costly and prone to flaws. It’s the most plausible explanation for why corporations use 18-meter-thick copper foil. However, if S and L are less than 20m, normal thickness copper foil may not be the best option.

pcborard
pcborard
 2. Dielectric Insulating Coatings:

The ability to build up is a key feature of HDI printed circuit boards. There’s a good probability you’ll be able to construct an appropriate circuit if you utilize resin-coated copper (RCC) or combine copper foil lamination with epoxy glass prepreg cloth. MSPA and SAP techniques have also been implemented by the manufacturers. By using an insulating dielectric film lamination with chemical copper plating, the copper conducting plane was created. The fundamental reason we can make acceptable circuits is because of the thin copper plane.

3. High heat protection and dissolution are required:

Electronic devices tend to generate more heat as the trend toward downsizing and high function continues; hence thermal management of electronic devices is becoming increasingly important. Thermal-conducting PCB research and development is one of the solutions to this problem. The main criteria for a PC Board to operate well in terms of heat resistance and dissipation are the substrate’s heat resistance and dissipation capacity. Improvements in thermal-conducting capabilities of PCBs are now being made through epoxy and filler additions; however this only works in a limited category. The most common way is to use IMS or metal core PCBs as a heating component. This system has several advantages over the typical radiator and fan, including a smaller amount and lower cost.

How to Select Substrate Materials for PCBs

You can choose between three distinct types of PCBs:

• Rigid
• Flexible
• Flex-rigid

The most important goal is to select a board that is ideal for your product. Many people strive for compact size and shape while overlooking performance. Polyimide film is a good choice since it is adaptable and can be used in a variety of applications, including black, white, and transparent. It also ensures a low coefficient of thermal expansion while keeping acceptable heat resistance. The Mylar substrate, on the other hand, is extremely flexible and resistant to external conditions. Furthermore, it is reasonably priced, which is why many consumers consider it. Flexible PCBs must attempt to achieve the same degree of frequency and speed performance as regular PCBs. Flexible boards can be made with advanced polyimide substrates and polytetrafluoroethylene.

Flexible boards are used in a variety of industries, including medicine, smartphones, and gadgets. As a result, the market has been implementing innovations in flexible and ultra-thin multi-layer boards (0.2-0.4mm). You can expect flexible boards to achieve speeds of up to 5Gbps at this time, but you’ll need to choose a substrate material with a low Dk/Df. It’s also a good idea to utilize conductors with a thickness of above 100m, as this will aid with current and power handling.

Best PCB substrate type

A substrate and printed wires are the two main components of a PCB (the copper traces). Substrates that divide the layers are required for multi-layer boards. The substrate works as physical support for the circuit components and printed wires, as well as providing electrical insulation between conductive portions. PCB Substrates are non-conducting materials. They act as a laminated electrical insulator between circuits for this purpose. An electrical insulator is a material that does not conduct electricity because its internal electric charge does not flow freely. As a result, plated through holes are used to connect traces on opposite layers on each layer of circuitry.

A substrate and laminate are commonly used as the foundation or base of a printed circuit board (PCB). The performance of the PCB is determined by the type of laminate and substrate used. As a result, choosing the proper types of PCB material for the job is crucial to getting the greatest results. Any PCB design guide should include such features:

 Working
 Durability
 Cost-effectiveness

The material you choose for your PCB can have an impact on its short- and long-term functionality, along with your contractor’s capacity to build it. You can’t blame the contractor if you buy substandard materials and they fail when your contractor tries to make the board. When maximum performance isn’t a must-have feature for a PCB, lightweight polyester material is typically a fine option. As long as lightweight polyester is utilized in conjunction with printed electronics (PE) technology, there are at least two reasons to choose it in these circumstances. Printed electronics with lightweight polyester have these features:

Cost-effective Lightweight polyester produces less waste, necessitates fewer manufacturing steps, and eliminates the need for desalination and purification.

Adaptability Flexible printed circuits (FPCs) are available, but the level of “bendability” that makes them so appealing is costly to accomplish. PE with lightweight polyester maintains flexibility at a far cheaper cost.

Traditional PCBs, on the other hand, is still the top choice for high-performance applications, and the materials used in their construction should be determined by the type of board required. For example:

 Manage frequencies ranging from 500MHz to 2GHz
 Allow for high power and, as a result, high temperatures
 Be “intense” and complicated
 Manage microwave and above-microwave frequencies

The board’s application decides the substrates and laminates to utilize to a considerable extent. There are five types of substrates, each with its own set of features for specialized purposes.

1. FR-4

Fiberglass substrates are comprised of woven fiberglass that has been impregnated with only a flame-retardant substance. The material is rigid and can be drilled, cut, or machined, although tungsten carbide tools are required due to the abrasive nature of the fiberglass. An FR-4 substrate is more resistant to cracking or breaking than an FR-2 substrate and is typically seen in higher-end devices.

2. RF
Low dielectric polymers are employed in RF substrates, which are used in printed circuit boards for high-power radio frequency applications. Despite its low mechanical qualities, the substrate exhibits remarkable electrical performance.

3. FR-2
This extremely low substrate is comprised of impregnated paper, also known as Phenolic, and is simple to the machine over a fiberglass substrate. Flame Resistant is denoted by the letter “FR.” This substrate is commonly encountered in lower-cost consumer devices.

4. Flex
Flex circuits are those that are meant to be very flexible or slightly flexible. As substrates, thin, flexible polymers are used. Although the manufacturing process is more complicated than utilizing rigid substrates, it provides benefits that rigid substrates cannot, such as reducing space by bending the circuit board to fit a specific place or where repetitive action is essential. A low-thermal resistance substrate is required for power electronics. A ceramic core or metalcore substrate has the essential properties to accommodate larger copper tracks and the high electrical currents that these circuit boards require.

Final Thoughts

Every substrate has its uniqueness and you get to know almost every substrate detail in this write-up. Interested to know more about our facilities at PNC? Contact us at sales@pnconline.com

Embedded software development along with PCB Assembly

Embedded software development along with PCB Assembly

No company can excel at every aspect of new product development and trying to do everything can dilute an organization’s focus on the tasks that are essential to its success. For example, most companies have long ago outsourced the PCB design and fabrication steps of new product development. This same need to focus on the essential is true of software development too. It is difficult for a software company to excel at every type of software development because of the ever expanding universe of software languages, operating systems, and architectures.  A cloud based SAAS or PC based application is very different from embedded software running C on a 16-bit processor, and it takes very different software development skills to develop that kind of embedded application.

Unlike cloud based or PC based applications, embedded software is optimized to run on a specific custom hardware platform with limited processing power and memory.  It often runs on a real time operating system or no operating systems at all, and the interface of an embedded device may consist of only a small display, or just a few buttons and LEDs.

The unique challenges working with embedded systems is why many software companies outsource their embedded software projects to experts like PNC.  Here are three reasons why they do.

The embedded system is not the organization’s primary product line.

Many products on the market require options or accessories that are important to the customer, but not are not similar technically to the primary product. A cable set top box remote is a good example.  Customers expect a cable set-top box to have a remote, but the low power microcontroller embedded in the remote is likely to be completely different from the high power processor and OS driving the set-top box functions.  Similarly, Industrial or commercial equipment may have optional modules to provide additional functionality like a cellular modem.   These optional modules have independent processors and embedded software which is unrelated to the primary product software.

In these cases, software companies will choose to focus their development resources on the primary product, recognizing that it is more cost effective to outsource the software development for the ancillary embedded products to a company that is familiar with embedded microcontrollers and the constraints that come with low power operation. If that company can design the hardware and perform SMT assembly too, it becomes an even better value.

Embedded software development along with PCB Assembly
Embedded software development along with PCB Assembly

The software is deeply embedded and invisible to the user

Successful software companies are highly focused on the customer experience with their product. They are constantly refining the look and feel of the industrial design and user interface to make the product more attractive, and easier to use.  But what if the product doesn’t have a user interface?   What if it is a router or a motor controller?  Products like these need a simple interface for initial configuration, but they typically operate in the background, invisible to the customer.  In this case the goal is to optimize for cost and performance rather than user experience.  Deeply embedded applications without a sophisticated customer facing interface  are ideal to outsource to a company like PNC because the product requirements are centered on the embedded functionality – there is no need to maintain the same look and feel as the company’s customer facing products.

The application requires specialized expertise

 Sometimes a software company needs embedded expertise that it just doesn’t have in-house.  For example, they may need a Zigbee or Bluetooth RF stack, or expertise with digital signal processing on low power Digital Signal Processors DSP.  In some challenging embedded applications, a company may need a partner with the expertise to  iterate the design of both the hardware and software simultaneously to arrive at an optimized embedded solution.  In that case you need a full service provider like PNC.

PNC offers the full solution to developing embedded products

When it comes to product development, PNC is not just a PCB manufacturer.  The engineers at PNC can work with you to design and manufacture the product hardware, and then develop the embedded software to run on that hardware.   If you have a challenging embedded software or hardware project, contact PNC today and find out how they can help.