Tag Archives: printed circuit board assembly

AOI in Printed Circuit board Fabrication

Engineers have to make sure of the quality of PCB through different tests, including AOI (Automatic Optical Inspection) AOI. It involves sophisticated imaging technology to identify potential defects on printed circuit boards in real-time and enhances effective production and better quality assurance. This state-of-the-art technology can detect even the smallest flaws, making it the ideal choice for manufacturers looking to maintain high levels of quality control without sacrificing production speed. Stay with us to learn more about how AOI in PCB manufacturing is revolutionizing the industry.

What is Automatic Optical Inspection?

Automatic Optical Inspection or AOI is an automated technique that engineers use in printed circuit board manufacturing for quality control. AOI uses computer-controlled cameras to capture images of the PC Board and then compare the images to an effective model. The AOI system will then analyze the images and detect any defects or abnormalities in the board, such as open connections, shorts, missing components, incorrect components, misalignments, and many others.

The AOI system can quickly identify any defects and make necessary corrections, ensuring that only perfect PCBs make it to the next stage of the manufacturing process. AOI is an important part of modern PCB production and is used to improve its efficiency and reduce costs. PCB manufacturers are turning to AOI systems to get more accuracy and reliability when it comes to inspection and quality control. With AOI technology, a PCB manufacturer can inspect the boards quickly and accurately without manual inspection processes. This not only increases productivity but also reduces the cost and waste associated with manual inspection processes.

Moreover, AOI systems can detect even the smallest defects on the PCBs which would otherwise have gone undetected by a manual inspection. By implementing the AOI into the PCB manufacturing processes, manufacturers are able to produce reliable PCBs that meet their exact specifications while also cutting down on time, labor, and cost that goes into manual inspection.

Automated optical inspection is ideal for SMT even though inspection through X-ray is trending in the PCB industry. Manufacturers consider the AOI cheaper and more reliable than several other methods. The assemblers use different cameras to take pictures of an assembled board and then compare all images to see any defects.

How Does AOI Work?

Automatic optical inspection works by using a camera or other imaging technology to capture the visual images of the PCB and its components. The inspectors then compare the images to a predetermined set of tolerances to determine if any defects are present. This comparison occurs through specialized software which determines whether a part or component on the Printed Circuit Board is acceptable or not.

The AOI process begins by mounting the PCB on a stage that is connected to the camera. The camera takes multiple images from different angles of the PCB and gets the data from these images to identify any defects. After the analysis, the results appear on a monitor for further review and evaluation.

AOI allows for faster, more reliable, and more accurate inspection compared to manual inspection processes. It also reduces the risk of human error in the inspection process as it eliminates the manual handling of different parts and components. AOI also provides significant cost savings when compared to manual inspection since it requires fewer personnel and resources.

Moreover, AOI can detect small defects and abnormalities that may be difficult to detect by the naked eye, making it much more reliable than traditional or manual inspection methods. By using this technology, PCB manufacturers can ensure quality assurance at every step of their production process in terms of reliability and accuracy. With the continued advancements in AOI technology, PCB manufacturers can now inspect their products with confidence and provide better quality control solutions.

Furthermore, automated testing enables pc board manufacturers to reduce their production costs significantly due to increased efficiency. As such, implementing AOI into their production line has become increasingly popular among PCB manufacturers. With all these advantages, it is easy to see why automatic optical inspection has become so important in PCB manufacturing and why its use will increase even further in the future.

When To Apply The AOI

You can apply this testing method to an assembled or a bare PCB, depending on your needs. AOI should be able to test any component, find barcode details, check measurements, check package size, and lead condition to produce the yield rate. It should also test the number of defects and their types. You can find a lot of info from this type of inspection, such as:

  • Components Position
  • Body Measurements
  • Missing Parts
  • Polarity Issue
  • Tombstone Issue
  • Bridging &Marking Issue
  • Solder Fillet Level
  • No Lead Issue
  • Billboard And Pad Shifting Defects
    Understanding AOI Fundamentals

Generally, AOI involves an image-taking system, such as CCD, and image processing techniques, as well as workbench and AC servo management. All these elements are the core of this inspection. Various elements work together in this case, such as drivers and axis, sensors and optical systems, as well as software systems and they all should be compatible and synchronized in terms of speed.

As digital computing is advancing, image processing and camera vision are becoming necessary for automating inspection through high-resolution devices, illumination methods, and lighting devices, as well as effective processing.

The processor should work fast to reduce the processing time for a camera to generate the information. Especially, high-volume PCB production requires high-speed AOI. Besides, you need specific software for specific testing techniques to have better results.

For example, a machine to inspect solder paste would be different from the one that inspects component issues. This difference is in terms of light and software, height to be measured, etc. You can measure the height of PCB components with AOI, but you need SPI to measure the solder paste height. The projection provided by AOI is either four-way or eight-way, whereas it is two or four-way in SPI.

Benefits of AOI

Using automatic optical inspection in PCB manufacturing provides many benefits. One of the main advantages of using the AOI is its ability to quickly detect even small defects in the printed circuit boards. With the help of a powerful computer-controlled system, AOI can quickly scan the board for any irregularities and can help to identify them with great accuracy.

Another major benefit of AOI is its cost efficiency. The use of this technology helps to reduce the labor required for manual inspections, which ultimately lowers production costs.

You can use the AOI multiple times throughout the production process, ensuring that the quality of the product is consistently high.

Furthermore, AOI can improve the overall accuracy of PCB inspections since it is highly sensitive to even the smallest details. This means that there are a few chances of releasing a faulty board and you can detect any issues with the board and correct them before they reach the customer.

AOI also allows for higher throughput rates in PCB manufacturing, as it can inspect several boards at once. This means that more PCBs can be produced in less time without compromising on quality.

Drawbacks of AOI

While AOI is an invaluable tool in PCB manufacturing, there are some drawbacks to consider when deciding to use this technology. One of the biggest drawbacks is that it is a relatively expensive technology and requires ongoing maintenance.

Besides, the accuracy of automation is limited by the resolution of the imaging system and the underlying PCB design. While AOI can detect large defects in a board, it may not be able to detect very small errors.

Since AOI relies on the availability of complete documentation of the PCB design, any changes to the design after the initial testing phase can introduce undetectable errors in the PCBs. Moreover, if engineers can’t manage the process parameters of such inspection in PCB manufacturing for a particular set of boards, false rejections can occur.

Final Thoughts

The use of Automatic Optical Inspection in PCB Manufacturing is quickly becoming the go-to method of quality control. AOI is an automated process that uses visual inspection and computer vision technologies to inspect printed circuit boards for defects. By using AOI, PCB manufacturers can increase accuracy and reduce inspection times, resulting in higher-quality products. The above discussion helps readers find the advantages of using the AOI in PCB manufacturing and how it is becoming the future of quality control.

Automated optical inspection is ideal for SMT even though inspection through X-ray is trending in the PCB industry. Manufacturers consider the AOI cheaper and more reliable than several other methods.

So, automatic optical inspection has proved itself to be an invaluable tool for PCB manufacturers by providing numerous benefits. From its ability to detect even small defects to its cost-efficiency and high throughput rate, AOI is essential for ensuring the quality of the finished product.

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FQC & Packaging-Multilayer PC Board Process

As technology continues to evolve, multilayer PC boards are increasingly being used in many industries. Multilayer PCBs offer greater levels of complexity and reliability than traditional single-layer PCBs, making them an ideal choice for many applications. Here, we’ll explore the process of creating and using multilayer PCBs, from final quality control (FQC) to packaging.

FQC is a critical part of any PCB manufacturing process, as it ensures that the products being manufactured are of the highest quality and free from defects. This allows manufacturers to deliver a reliable and safe product to their customers, which helps to build trust in the company’s products. After an item passes through FQC, it then enters into the packaging phase of the production process. Packaging plays an important role in protecting the item while also displaying its features or functions to potential buyers.

Multilayer PCBs often require special attention during packaging due to their fragility and intricate design. For example, they should be placed into an antistatic bag or a protective casing before being shipped out. Moreover, you need extra care when shipping them to prevent them from getting damaged or lost during transit. Manufacturers must also make sure that their multilayer PCBs comply with regulatory guidelines regarding hazardous materials, shipping labels, etc.

By taking all these necessary steps, manufacturers can help ensure that their multilayer PCBs reach their customers in perfect condition.

What Is A Multilayer PCB?

A multilayer Printed Circuit Board is a type of circuit board that consists of multiple layers of copper and other materials stacked together to create a single unit. The multiple layers of the PCB allow for more components, and more complex circuit designs, than are possible with a single-layer PCB. Multilayer PCBs are suitable for various electronic products, from mobile phones to televisions.

A multilayer PCB typically consists of at least four layers: the core, the ground plane, the power plane, and the signal layers. The core layer is the base of the board and provides structural support for the other layers.

The ground plane acts as an electrical shield for the other layers, providing a reference point for signals to flow through.

The power plane provides power to the circuit, while the signal layers contain the traces and pads that connect the components of the circuit.

The advantages of multilayer PCBs include their ability to provide a large number of electrical connections in a small area and their low-cost production. Besides, they are relatively easy to repair and maintain, making them ideal for high-volume production and product design.

The Benefits Of A Multilayer PCB

Multilayer printed circuit boards offer significant advantages over single-layer PCBs in terms of size, complexity, and cost. By minimizing the space required for electrical connections, multilayer PCBs allow designers to create compact, lightweight products.

The multilayer PCB also offers great signal integrity, as it can handle higher frequencies than a single-layer board. Multilayer PCBs are also more durable than single-layer boards as they are less prone to cracking due to their greater thickness and fewer layers.

These boards are easier to work with, as the designer only needs to assemble one set of components, instead of the multiple sets required for single-layer boards. This makes them ideal for applications where cost and time are critical.

The Process Of Manufacturing A Multilayer PCB

After PCB design, it’s time to begin the manufacturing process. This is an incredibly complex and time-consuming process that requires highly specialized equipment and skillful professionals.

First, you have to print the layers of the PCB onto a flexible circuit substrate. This substrate contains the electrical pathways that make up the circuit boards. These pathways are etched out using either chemical or mechanical methods. This process can take several hours, depending on the size and complexity of the board.

After the layers printing, you have to laminate them together with heat and pressure. This ensures that all of the components and traces remain in place while being soldered. During this step, all of the holes for the components and other features are also drilled.

In the end, it’s time to assemble the board, which involves soldering all the components in their respective places. You have to do it by hand or with automated equipment, depending on the size of the project. After soldering, comes the board’s testing to ensure that all of the components are functioning properly. If everything checks out, then the multilayer PCB is ready for use.

Testing A Multilayer PCB

You have to test a PCB after manufacturing to ensure that all components are functioning properly. Moreover, the board should meet the customer’s specifications. Depending on the complexity of the design, the testing procedure may require multiple tests to confirm the board’s performance.

FQC-Final Quality Control Test for PCB

FQC is an essential step in the Printed Circuit board Fabrication process of any printed circuit board. This is especially true for multilayer PCBs, which have more layers and complex designs. FQC is an important part of the manufacturing process because it ensures that the board meets all of the design and quality specifications required.

FQC stands for Final Quality Control. It is the process of testing a multilayer PCB (printed circuit board) to make sure that it meets the manufacturer’s quality standards and is free from any defects or faults.

FQC involves performing tests on each layer of the board to ensure that all components, traces, and other features are placed correctly and working properly. The tests include visual inspection, electrical testing, functionality tests, thermal cycling tests, and more. FQC also ensures that the board is well-packaged and ready for shipping.

By thoroughly testing the board, you can detect any possible issues before it is shipped out, which saves time and money in the long run. FQC also allows manufacturers to remain compliant with industry standards, such as IPC standards.

The Testing Processes

Visual Inspection: Visual inspection of the multilayer PCB is one of the simplest but most important tests for FQC. This includes inspecting for proper solder joint formation, ensuring all components are mounted correctly, and checking for any shorts, opens, or other potential defects.

Electrical Testing: Electrical testing checks the electrical characteristics of the multilayer PCB and helps ensure it meets the specifications set out in the design. Tests such as ICT (In-Circuit Test), flying probe test, boundary scan test, and functional testing help measure the board’s electrical parameters and performance.

Thermal Testing: Thermal testing measures how well the multilayer PCB dissipates heat. This is an important test for understanding the temperature of various components on the board and making sure they don’t exceed their limits. Tests such as IR reflow, convection oven, thermal shock, and mechanical vibration can be used to perform this type of testing.

Burn-In Test: The burn-in test helps find any weak components on the board and make sure they will last throughout its life cycle. You have to heat the board to a certain temperature and maintain it for a specific amount of time. If any components fail this test, they will be replaced with more reliable ones before shipping.

By performing all these tests, manufacturers can guarantee that the boards they ship are of high quality and able to function properly.

PCB Packaging

The last step in the multilayer PC Board Fabrication process is packaging. This involves protecting the delicate components on the board from environmental damage and ensuring that it is safe for transport and use. Depending on the application, this could involve encasing the board in a protective shell, adding shock-absorbing features, or both. The type of PCB packaging depends on the size of the board, the environment in which it will work, and the overall design of the board.

Packaging not only serves to protect the board and its components but can also have an aesthetic function. For example, if you are using your multilayer PCB in a consumer product, packaging can add a layer of branding to the device, making it look more professional and attractive to potential customers.

No matter what type of packaging is there, it should provide robust protection against physical damage, dust, and moisture, as well as electromagnetic interference. If the board will be subject to extreme temperatures or pressure, special packaging may be required to protect it from these conditions.

So, packaging plays an important role in the fabrication process of a multilayer PCB. It provides protection for the board and its components, as well as adds an aesthetic element to the device. Furthermore, FQC must be performed on the packaged board to ensure that it is fully functional and meets any applicable industry standards.

Final Thoughts

FQC stands for Final Quality Control. It is the process of making sure that the product being manufactured meets all the specifications required by the customer. This includes a thorough inspection of the product, testing its performance and quality, as well as verifying any customer-specific requirements. FQC is a typical process to test consumer electronics, medical equipment, automotive parts, and other complex products.

After completing all tests on a multilayer PCB, it is ready for use in its intended application.

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All about PC BOARD Plating Finishes

The usage of PC BOARD is vast in electronic devices, like computers to cell phones, so their construction and design are crucial for proper operation. One of the most important aspects of PCB design is the finish of the board. There are several plating finishes available for PCBs, each of which has its advantages and disadvantages. Here, we will discuss the different types of PCB plating finishes and their various applications.

Electroplating for PCB

When it comes to PCB finish, you will find electroplating at the top. It involves the use of an electric current to deposit a thin layer of metal onto the surface of the board. The metal in this case can be usually gold, silver, or copper.

The thin layer of metal acts as a protective barrier against corrosion and oxidation, and also provides electrical insulation. You can adjust the thickness of the layer to meet specific requirements. Moreover, the metal is easy to deposit in a variety of shapes and sizes.

Immersion Tin Plating

Another PCB plating finish is tin plating which involves the deposition of a thin layer of the tin onto the board. Manufacturers often prefer tin for its low cost, besides, it has excellent corrosion resistance and electrical insulation capabilities.  It is also known as white tin and copper is finished with a thin layer of tin. It is an electroless process that involves a chemical bath.

Tin plating is ideal for circuit boards being used in high-temperature environments, such as those found in automotive electronics. Generally, manufacturers use it as a soldering medium, as it is relatively soft and easy to work with.

Immersion Gold

Another plating finish for PCBs is immersion gold. This technique involves a special electroplating bath that contains gold particles. A PCB Manufacturer will put the board in this bath to attract the gold particles to the surface of the board. This process provides excellent corrosion resistance and electrical insulation. Tin plating makes a circuit board highly reliable. Gold plating is the most expensive but also the most durable. It is used mainly in high-end electronics due to superior corrosion resistance.

There are two ways to use gold, either it is soft gold or hard gold. The soft gold is wire bonded to provide better conductivity and the gold does not vanish during soldering. Soft gold plating involves current so, it is electrolytic.

On the other hand, hard gold plating involves hardeners, and it is also known as deep gold plating because the entire nickel surface is immersed in the plating tank. The process is also electrolytic as soft gold plating.

ENIG- Electroless Nickle Immersion Gold

The name is so because a thin layer of gold is there on the nickel. Before gold, manufacturers apply nickel to copper to prevent gold and copper from mixing into each other. It involves an electroless technique to apply the metallic layer on the board surface without any current. The process depends on the chemical reaction. The application of this process occurs either before soldering or after it. If you plate the entire copper with gold, it will increase the plating cost. The gold gets absorbed while soldering.

ENIG provides a smooth surface for SMD, surface mount devices, and BGA, ball grid arrays. Gold provides excellent electrical conduction.

Hot Air Solder Level-HASL-Plating Finish

This is a simple plating technique that involves molten solder. You have to dip the PCB into the molten tin and lead alloy. It is cheaper than other methods. It covers the copper surface and then you have to level the board with a hot air knife. The HASL provides you with excellent soldering surface and SMT and large parts. Don’t use it for smaller SMT, moreover, it does not suit the FTP (fine pitch technology).

It has a high processing temperature of up to 260-270˚C which can damage the board due to stress. Since it involves lead, it is not a compliant material according to RoHS standards in the U.S. it is not a good option for those who want a lead-free PCB.

Lead-Free HASL

Those who want HASL in their PCBs but avoid it due to lead can have lead-free material. The entire soldering process is as HASL excluding lead. Hence, it is compatible with RoHS so it is safer than HASL.

Anodizing for PCB

Anodizing involves the use of an electrolytic solution to deposit a thin layer of metal onto the board. Anodizing provides excellent corrosion resistance and electrical insulation, and it is ideal for boards that require a high level of performance.

Electroless Nickel Plating-ENP

It is the most common plating finish for PCBs and has good corrosion resistance and conductivity properties. It is an economical choice and provides a good bonding surface for components. The plating process involves immersing the board into a bath of salts and acids, which deposits a thin layer of nickel coating onto the board. Then you have to polish the layer to get a mirror-like finish to provide a smooth surface and enhance the electrical properties of the board.

ISP/Immersion Silver Plating

The main purpose of immersion silver is to corrosion in copper and enhance its soldering ability. However, it is not long-lasting like other finishes and should be stored in sheets to avoid tarnishing.

Silver plating provides a smooth surface for SMD, moreover, it is highly conductive. Moreover, it is free from lead and environment-friendly and can bear strong signals. You have to apply immersion silver before soldering but after etching.

OSP or Organic Surface Plating

This technique uses an organic chemical to finish the copper surface. It has a short life, so you should immediately assemble the board after its application. It provides a flat surface for pcb assembly.  Moreover, it is free from lead, so it is not toxic to the environment. The process involves a chemical bath that should be applied after other processes.

Each of these different types of plating finishes for PCBs has its advantages and disadvantages, and it is important to choose the one that suits your application.

Things to Consider While PCB Plating

When selecting a plating finish for a PCB, there are several factors to consider. The thickness of the plating layer, the type of metal used, and the environment in which the board will function, all should be considered while selecting the best plating finish for a PCB. For example, if you are going to use the board in a corrosive environment, gold plating may be the best choice.

Whereas, if cost is a major concern, tin plating may be the most suitable option. There are also other considerations when selecting a PCB plating finish. For example, the plating thickness should be considered, as this will affect the performance of the board. The thickness should be sufficient to provide the necessary electrical connection between the components and the board.

Moreover, you should apply the plating evenly to ensure a good electrical connection. Another important consideration is the type of surface finish as it should be compatible with the plating this is because some plating finishes require a certain type of surface finish. For example, gold plating requires a different surface finish than tin plating.

The plating should be compatible with the board components. This is important because some components may not be compatible with certain plating finishes. In these cases, it may be necessary to use a different type of plating.

Frequently Asked Question

What is PCB plating?

To have high-quality PCBs, a variety of plating finishes are there to provide protection from corrosion and wear, and to enhance the electrical conductivity of the board

What Are The Types Of Gold Plating?

There are two ways to use gold plating, either it is soft gold or hard gold. The soft gold is wire bonded to provide better conductivity. The hard gold plating process involves hardeners. Both types involve current.

What To Consider While PCB Plating?

You have to consider the thickness of the plating layer, the type of metal finish, and the environment in which the board will function.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, there are several types of PCB plating finishes available, each of which has its advantages and disadvantages. Electroplating, tin plating, immersion gold plating, and anodizing are the four most common types of plating finishes used for PCBs. It is important to choose the type of plating finish that best suits your application, as the wrong choice could lead to poor performance or even failure of the board. Copper plating is also popular, as it provides good electrical conductivity and is relatively low-cost.

Silver plating is also used on PCBs, but it is more expensive than other options and is not as widely used. In addition to these primary finishes, there are a variety of other finishes that can be used to enhance the performance of a PCB. For example, solder masking can be used to protect against accidental soldering. This can be applied as a layer over the primary finish and helps to prevent shorts and other electrical issues.

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Why A printed circuit boards is important in Electronics Industry?

The smart devices and electronics we use today are functional just because of printed circuit boards. From computers to smartphones, tabs, and other devices, all depend on the PCB. The advanced gadgets are shrinking with time, but all their features work just like their large versions, and the circuit boards made it possible.

These boards have different types to meet the needs of different devices and applications. Circuit boards will develop more with time due to the changing technology. There are many benefits of a printed circuit board that we will discuss here.

1-It Accommodates Components

Electrical devices depend on several components and PCB can contain them all. Instead of wires, there is copper plating and vias that help pass current, so the board provides a compact solution in this regard. Printed circuit boards can have any size according to the device without affecting its function. Even, different industries can use complex circuits in small devices.

2-It Prevents Short Circuits

Since connections are durable, there won’t be any short circuits. However, the manufacturing has to be good and long-lasting. But, if there are wires in a device, they might get loose, resulting in short circuits. It also becomes hard to find connection issues in wires, whereas such issues don’t exist in the circuit boards. Besides, you can easily detect any issue in a PCB and can remove it faster.

3-It Reduces the Cost

You can have cost-effective electronics and gadgets by using printed circuit boards. Even, you can produce many devices at a time if you test the PCB design and function in the beginning. Besides, a PCB does not involve lots of components that help industries develop economical goods and equipment.

4-It Helps save Time

Circuit boards can help you connect various components faster than a traditional method of hand assembling. Though it takes time to design a PCB, you can reduce it by using advanced software. You can also use an online platform for design and both free and paid options are available. In other words, circuit boards are both time and energy-saving that you can use elsewhere.

5-PCB is Effective

Whether it is a small or large product, PCB makes everything functional and compact. The electronics can work for years if they have well-developed circuit boards. So, users get confident while using advanced electrical gadgets as they find them reliable. Even large industrial and military equipment becomes durable due to PCBs. The boards are safe and make the end product reliable compared to the old products without PCBs.

6-Fast Installation

Printed circuit boards are easy to install as they have color codes and markings that help in a perfect installation. Likewise, it’s easy to remove the board while repairing or during some other issue.

7-No Electromagnetic Interference

The electronics have different components which have to face electromagnetic interference due to changing frequencies. Such issues can damage the components, making the device function slow. The printed circuit board can protect the components from electromagnetic interference. So, the products remain safe from damage and last longer.

Printed Circuit Boards and Their Applications 

Each circuit board has different capabilities, depending on its usage. Though the basic elements of all circuit boards are the same, they come up with different configurations due to customization. We will discuss some general PCB applications, so let’s begin.

PCB and Consumer Electronics

Today’s lifestyle can’t be complete if there are no electronic devices. From home appliances to communication devices and entertainment equipment, all have printed circuit boards inside. Below. you will find a few PCB applications though there is a huge range.

Smart Devices: you can’t communicate from a distance without any device, and the PCB helps a device work. From a smartphone to tablets and radios, all have circuit boards. Similarly, the smartwatch also functions due to PCB, as well as all GPS devices’ core feature is a circuit board.

Appliances: It is hard to manage a home without appliances, including refrigerators, microwave ovens, coffee machines, electrical ovens, air fryers, etc. All these products have circuit boards with essential components.

Computer Systems: the core feature of all types of computer systems is a circuit board that contains the rest of the components and elements. From PCs to laptops and workstations and iPads, all work through a PCB. Hence, almost every device with a screen has PCB and so is a peripheral system.

Entertainment Devices: life becomes boring without a TV as it gives you interesting programs, dramas, movies, music, etc. Similarly, DVD players and the latest gaming consoles are so much in demand, as they all entertain people. But, these devices can’t function if they don’t have circuit boards. Whatever smart device you use has a circuit board in it that gives it a compact design. On the other hand, such devices will work slowly with traditional manufacturing.

Printed Circuit Board and Medical Equipment

The medical industry consists of treatment and diagnostic equipment having printed circuit boards. New equipment needs more advanced PCBs, so there is continuous development in this regard. The following medical equipment has electronic parts arranged on the circuit board, such as:

  • Blood Sugar Monitors
  • Pulse Monitors
  • Blood Pressure Monitors
  • CT Scanners
  • X-Ray Machines
  • Ultrasound Equipment

Other than the above, researchers need different instruments in the medical field, such as compressors, microphones, control devices, etc. Remember that a PCB for the medical industry has to be highly durable and functional, as it involves health testing tools.

The devices should be highly reliable to meet medical standards that’s why their design involves more effort compared to the ordinary boards. Smart medical devices have smart and compact circuit boards.

PCB and Industrial Equipment

High-power equipment can’t survive in all environments, but printed circuit boards can help them in this regard. Those in production use heavy manufacturing equipment which depends on circuit boards. Moreover, PCBs provide automation to help an industrial sector make mass production. Let’s see how PCB is effective in the industrial field.

High-Power Equipment: many high-power devices function due to PCB which contains all essential elements. From power inverters to supplies and distribution, all have circuit boards. Similarly, many other power management devices depend on circuit boards to continue their operations.

Industrial Machines: you will see heavy machines in different factories that make multiple products, and that is possible because of the circuit boards. Various equipment like ramps, assembly tools, pressing machines, and many others need electronic elements and components. So, it’s the PCB where different components are installed to pass on heavy currents for high-power tasks.

Measurement Tools or Equipment: you need certain tools to measure the pressure, heat, temperatures, and other variables while manufacturing that further depends on well-designed circuit boards. Such PCBs are highly durable and can tolerate high heat and pressure, such as rigid and flex-rigid circuit boards. In other words, each PCB comes up with a unique design according to its application.

PCB and Automotive Industry

All new vehicles consist of advanced features like navigation tools, media equipment, monitors, and control systems, all having electronic elements.

  • The navigation devices can’t work without circuit boards as they make them smart and compact featuring the same functions as large devices.
  • From radio to media players, all depend on the circuit boards to have a continuous flow of current.
  • Vehicles need certain control gadgets to stay safe, such as fuel regulators, engine monitoring systems, and power supplies. All these elements have circuit boards to manage them, eventually, the vehicle remains functional.
  • Advanced vehicles need built-in monitors or sensors to help you detect the location, distance, and blind spots. All such operations need high-end circuit boards to prevent any issues.

Remember that PCBs for the automotive industry should be able to withstand tough environments having high temperatures, pressures, and vibrations. Generally, a flexible PCB goes well in such environments compared to a standard board. The designer and the manufacturer should develop compatible PCBs to meet automotive standards.

Frequently Asked Questions  

What is a PCB Fabrication?

A board having electrical components is known as a printed circuit board. These components are placed on the PCB through soldering. The board has pads, holes, and tracks to facilitate the current to run a device. It also gives mechanical strength to the product.

Why is PCB a Cost-Effective Solution?

 The printed circuit board can take different components that help manufacturers make compact devices. So, manufacturers don’t need more resources to develop electronic devices. It also helps make mass production and reduces the total cost of all items.

 What are the Most Common PCB Applications?

PCB has many uses, and its applications include different industries, such as medical, automotive, industrial, and consumer electronics.

 Final Thoughts

Since technology is growing fast, the demand for a PCB is increasing that’s why manufacturers should focus on its quality in terms of, material, finishing, safety standards, etc. The design and the DFM are also too important in the circuit board development. Most importantly, you must carefully choose a PCB Manufacturer that has experienced workers and the right equipment. The company should consider each detail and also test the first product before a huge production.

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PCB Board Assembly Pricing Strategies

PCB manufacturing is often costly as it involves lots of processes. Especially, some factors increase the cost, such as a large production, PCB with many vias, very small holes and traces, and a circuit board loaded with components. But, the increase in cost is non-linear, if the board quantity is double, it won’t make the total fabrication cost double. As PCB manufacturing involves both fixed and variable costs. The price per PCB reduces with a reduced order due to the tooling cost involved. Fixed costs in PCB Board Assembly include:

  • Stencil-making cost
  • Design testing
  • Tooling
  • Many others

Different pricing strategies can help you reduce assembly costs. PCB design also affects assembly cost, so focus on it. Likewise, you should select the right manufacturer, in this case. Let’s discuss some proven ways and strategies which can help you have an economical PCB.

Consider Cost While Designing a PCB

Design is the first step of any PCB, so you should do it carefully in terms of cost. You must see if your design will have standard manufacturing or not. The DFM is important in this case, as it guides you about assembly costs and how to reduce them. The following design considerations can help you have a low-cost PCB.

  • The number of layers affects the PCB cost, so more layers mean an expensive board.
  • The type of vias is another element that affects a board’s cost. If the PCB has small diameter vias, its cost will increase. Similarly, a large number of vias also increase the PCB cost. You can reduce the board price by managing the via count without compromising the board function.
  • PCBs should have an appropriate size according to the assembly equipment. The design has to be functional and cover the required area. You can add panels only if they are essential. Smart devices have small and complex PCBs which are not cheap as many people think.
  • The shape of the PCB also can increase or decrease the cost. Traditional circuit boards are either square or rectangular, and they are economical. However, PCBs having special shapes are expensive.
  • The finishing material is another factor involved in PCB pricing. The surface finish helps in a better electrical function and also makes the soldering process effective.

You can also use other design strategies to reduce the PCB cost according to your experience.

BOM is Mandatory

You must have the bill of materials ready before PCB manufacturing and smt assembly. The BOM consists of materials, components, and assembly items. Makes sure that BOM has all important entries, such as

  • The Manufacturing Firm’s Name
  • Part Numbers
  • Components Quantity
  • Reference Designators
  • Notes Or Comments
  • Package
  • BOM Level
  • Footprints
  • Components Replacement
  • Some Others

You can also use the already available BOM template provided by assemblers and it can also help you get the right quotation. Don’t forget the component replacement while preparing the BOM, as advanced electronics result in the rapid upgrades of PCB components. The assembly time might prolong if you don’t find the replacement item, so they need an evaluation before time. A fast quote can help you have your PCB assembly faster.

Know the Component Distributors

You must know where to get cost-effective and durable components for a circuit board. You can also trust the manufacturer or assembler in this regard, as they know how to get cheap components at a wholesale price. Eventually, you can have a PCB within your budget. You can also ask the manufacturer to give you the invoice for all purchases.

Learn To Manage the PCB Volume

More PCBs mean a cost-effective assembly, as you can assemble them all with the same tools. Your order can be low, medium, or high, depending on your requirements.

Manage the Lead Time

Different assemblers calculate the lead time differently, and you should know what is more effective. You should also know if PCB manufacturing will start the same day when you pay or if it’s the order day, or else. Generally, a longer lead time will reduce the PCB price.

Check For Inspection Costs

Both designers and manufacturers test a PCB to see if it works well. If you are getting a testing service, be aware that its price will affect the final price of the board. Generally, the PCB inspection increases its final cost but you can control it by getting your product inspection service from the manufacturer. Individual PCB inspecting companies can cost you more, besides, it involves more effort.

You can have a product test according to your needs and design standards to ensure that it’s exactly what you want. Some inspection methods are as below:

  • Automated optical inspection
  • Visual test
  • Automated X-ray

You can choose whatever suits you according to the nature of the Printed Circuit Board like it can be simple or complex. In the case of high-volume production, you can inspect the initial or first article before a full-volume inspection. As it reveals the issues that you can resolve in the beginning and prevent big damage. Eventually, less money would waste, and you will have an effective circuit board. It would be better to have a long-term PCB assembler, instead of changing it quite often.

Select An Economical Assembler

  • There are many firms that offer PC Board assembly and manufacturing of which some charge very high, some are normal, and some are cheap. Try to select an assembler according to your budget without sacrificing the quality of the circuit board. Make sure the company is reliable and has professionals who can well handle the entire process.
  • You must check if the assembler has a proper certification in this field or if he is just a quack. Some standard certifications in the U.S. are UL, ISO9001, RoHS, and others.
  • Make sure the assembler uses advanced tools to create an effective PCB. As SMT is popular in this regard, it should be done with the right equipment.
  • The manufacturer should be capable enough to develop all types of PCBs, as some boards have complex designs. Moreover, he should be able to handle a large volume of production.
  • Make sure you get a design from a professional, instead of getting it from the manufacturer. A professional engineer should be your choice if you want a flawless and functional circuit board.
  • The labor cost is also important, especially in hand assembly which is often higher than the automated cost. Generally, the labor cost is low in Asian countries than in the U.S. or Europe.

What Drives The Fabrication Cost Of Printed Circuit Boards?

There are some core factors that drive the fabrication cost of a PCB, so you should consider them while calculating the manufacturing price, such as:

  • The type of plating can also increase the PCB cost. Like, OSP, ENIG, or immersion silver can increase the PCB cost, by up to more than 8%. Whereas tin-lead plating has standard prices.
  • Small vias increase the per PCB and tooling price
  • Smaller conductor means more cost
  • Heavy copper increases the PCB cost
  • The substrate materials like Roger’s can increase the PCB cost, whereas FR4 is cheap.
  • However, more boards mean less cost per PCB.
  • More components per board can also decrease the PCB cost.

What Drives The Assembly Cost Of Printed Circuit Boards?

Similarly, some factors drive the assembly cost of a PCB, and you should consider them while calculating the manufacturing price, such as:

  • The quantity of unique parts also affects the PCB pricing. Such as, if the unique components are more in quantity, they will increase the assembly cost. However, you can reduce it by ordering high-volume production.
  • The type of assembly also matters in calculating the PCB pricing. SMD can cost you 50% higher than a through-hole PCB assembly.
  • A double-sided circuit board costs more than a single-sided PCB as it goes through an assembly process twice. Moreover, the NRE price is also high for a double-sided assembly.
  • The cost of a single and a double-sided BGA becomes 20% higher than SMD and it is an additional cost as the premium cost is already there.
  • Hand assembly can cost you more than machine assembly, especially in larger productions. Whereas, automated assembly won’t make the cost double if the PCB order is doubled. Generally, automated assembly involves different types of costs, including machine programming.

However, these strategies don’t end here, as there are still so many other factors that can affect the total price of a PCB. You can also follow your own experiences in this case. You can easily manage the total cost of the circuit board if you know each process well, from design to assembly and the selection of the material.

Final Thoughts

Many factors can increase the PCB cost, but you can reduce it by following various strategies. Hand assembly can cost you more than machine assembly, especially in larger productions. The type of assembly also matters, such as SMD can cost you 50% higher than a through-hole PCB assembly. You should also select an assembler according to your budget without sacrificing the quality of the circuit board.

Would like to know more about the PCB pricing strategies or printed circuit board assembly? Email us at sales@pnconline.com