How to create precise PCB assembly drawing quickly and efficiently?

By | Date posted: | Last updated: November 17, 2022
PCB Assembly Drawing

Precise PCB assembly drawings are the key to success for a PCB project. With detailed drawings, it is that much easier to get the exact output that you have envisaged. In creating these drawings, however, need you to keep a number of important aspects in mind:

PCB Assembly Drawing

1. Bill of Materials

A very important component of your design is the Bill of Materials. Among other things, it goes a long way in making available the component shapes and reference designators on the board that makes the assembly process seamless. You will also need to include mechanical parts that may need to be attached to mounting hardware. Besides the drawing needs to identify the exact components required as well as the materials. Manufacturing labels need to be identified as also referenced in the notes.

Some of the best practices to follow when a metal element needs to be used, for example, include:

  • Specify the metal to be used.
  • Specify the finish that the metal needs to have.
  • Specify whether it needs to be painted or powder coated.

It is also prudent to include additional views. The double-sided boards, for example, will benefit from providing a view of the front and back of the board. Also, where mechanical parts are being added, expanded views will help provide clarity.

The more details you provide, the more the board will live up to your specifications. As they say, “God is in the details!”

2. Specify the dimensions

It is imperative that all dimensions are specified in detail. To do that, it is best to use a CAD program. A board design software such as Altium or PADS works well.

In a wiring diagram, it is also important to demonstrate the connections for custom cable assembly as well as the type of termination that needs to be used.

The use of the right software makes sure there is precision & the final assembly lives up to your specifications.

3. Ensure you attach relevant files

When it comes to PCB assembly, it is essential for the contract manufacturer to have the following files:

  • Gerber Files
  • Drill Files
  • Silk Screen Files
  • Placement & Drawings Package

Ensuring that the assembler has the exact details of where the holes need to be drilled and where the components need to be placed will ensure success of assembly.

4. Detail the testing requirements

It is important also to think through the testing at the outset and indicate the same to the PCB assembly partner. That way there are no rude surprises at the end.

In fact, it is extremely important to specify to the contract manufacturer whether you will be requiring programing. In which case, the programming files will need to be included and the exact programming will need to be specified.

5. Any special PCB assembly drawing requirements

You also need to think through any special requirements of your project and add a quick note in the drawings. Some examples of the special requirements to be mindful of, include:

  • Whether you require lead free assembly.
  • Any special requirements when it comes to packaging of the product.
  • Export documents that are required, in case the product is being exported.
  • Any other Assembly notes that could include industry standards and specifications, special feature locations & more.

To sum up

While a lot of these details go in to successful PCB assembly of the board, you may also find the process daunting. The good news is that there are PCB design systems available that use automation to create drawings. These tools go a long way in saving time and energy while ensure that the drawings are extremely robust. In short, these tools with their powerful automation help you create PCB drawings, both quickly & efficiently.

The choice of the right PCB contract manufacturer is also extremely crucial in making your PCB assembly process, a success. Armed with experience and industry best practices, they ensure that you do not have to reinvent the wheel. Any flaws in the design are pointed out by their engineers in the early stages saving you from costly errors that accrue from discovering these issues once the product is ready to be shipped, or worse still when it has already hit the market.

Technotronix offers professional PCB Assembly services with 40 years of expertise. Our accurate PCB assembly process meets the quality standards, including ISO-9001:2015, RoHS, and more. If you have any questions or any requirements related to PCB assembly service, please feel free to contact us via email at sales@technotronix.us or call at 714/630-9200.

Request PCB assembly quote for your any type of requirements.

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Why PCB assembly service quotes are essential for your PCB projects?

By | Date posted: | Last updated: November 11, 2022
PCB assembly service quotes

Once you have a PCB design in place, you need a competent manufacturer who can bring your design to life at a price point that works for your project. It is important therefore that you ask for a PCB quote before the fabrication can kick off.

To get an accurate quote, however, it is important that you provide the manufacturer with the relevant information. Let us look at what a PCB assembly service quote consists of.

PCB assembly service quotes

Essentially, a PCB quote offers an accurate estimate of the cost of fabricating a board as also the timelines involved. A quote can be made available for both PCB fabrication as well as PCB Assembly.

It is necessary that you give accurate information about the project for both the price as well as the timelines to be accurate.

A PCB assembly quote, for example, will come with vital details such as:

  • Type of material
  • Number of holes
  • Number of layers
  • Board dimensions
  • Trace width
  • Finishing of copper layer
  • Space between traces, and more.

Required documents for PCB assembly quote

The accuracy of the quote depends on the availability of the following documents:

1. Bare Board Print or Fabrication Drawing

It offers information related to aspects such as:

  • Board thickness
  • Number of holes
  • Dimensions, and more.

It is also important to include details of the component numbers in this document. Along with this you also need to make available the Gerber Files.

Pro tip- Ensure that design files are made available in a format such as ODB++.

2. Bill Of Material

Bill of material is yet another crucial document that among other things carries relevant information about the components. The more detailed it is, including aspects such as description of parts, part number, reference designator & more, the smoother the entire process.

3. Assembly Print

With an Assembly Print information about the location of parts can be conveyed. It also contains special markings if there are any.

4. Approved Vendor List

An approved vendor list along with part number of the manufacturer is ideal.

Information that is often missed when requesting for a PCB assembly quotes

The following are some of the information that is often missed:

1. Stack-up details

This comprises of details of number of layers, thickness of layers as well as of the stack-up.

2. Solder mask details

These details include the type of solder mask, its finishes and more.

3. Impedance details

With impedance details not being provided; their implications are felt on several aspects of the board.

4. Cut-out

The dimensions as well as the position of the cut-out are imperative in receiving an accurate PCB assembly quote.

5. Silkscreen

Where to apply silkscreen & its color are also essential details.

6. Surface finish

The type of surface finish has a strong bearing on its cost. It is therefore imperative that it be clearly mentioned.

Factors that affect PCB assembly cost

Some of the other factors that impact PCB assembly cost include:

1. Mounting Technology Used

The use of SMT (Surface Mount) or through-hole PCB assembly technology has a bearing on the cost. Also, Surface Mount technology is faster as it uses a lot of automation.

2. Lead Time

In case your lead times are short, it has a bearing on the cost of the PCB assembly. The two clearly are inversely proportional.

3. Shipping Costs

Large PCB quantities may come with additional shipping costs.

4. Number of Layers

It typically costs more to assemble multilayer PCBs (Printed Circuit Boards). This is because the number of production steps has increased significantly.

5. Surface Finish

The choice of surface finish as already indicated has a strong implication on the cost. Some of the surface finishes come with longer shelf life and at a higher cost.

To Sum Up

While a PCB assembly quote is important for you to plan the efficiency of your project, its accuracy depends on a whole lot of factors. It is important that the details must be correctly provided so that the PCB assembly quote can be exact.

Needless to mention, however, that the quote cannot be the sole reason you go with a certain contract manufacturer. It is imperative that you ascertain the experience and quality offered so that there are no costly errors to deal with at a later stage.

To avoid such errors, you can contact Technotronix at sales@technotronix.us to get innovative PCB assembly services. With an experienced team, Technotronix provides reliable PCB services including PCB fabrication, assembly, and PCB design. Get a quick PCB assembly service quote for any kind of requirements.

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What you should know about PCB design for assembly guidelines?

By | Date posted: | Last updated: November 11, 2022
PCB Design for Assembly Guidelines

The importance of designing boards that have ease of manufacturability cannot be overstated. After all both the cost as well as the time taken in manufacturing is high & hence any errors at the design phase can prove to be costly as they could lead to assembly rework.

For seamless designing, it is important that the designer understands the assembly requirement from end-to-end. Following the right design for assembly practices are therefore critical. Let us look at the reasons why DFA guidelines are very important.

What is the importance of PCB Design for Assembly Guidelines?

It is important that the PCB layout and design lends itself to ease of manufacturability. The many issues that can arise during the manufacturing process include:

  • Component availability – If the components aren’t readily available the cost of manufacturing can increase. Additionally, it will also add to the lead time that can go a long way in impacting quick time-to-market & in turn, your competitiveness.
  • Part Placement – The right placement of parts is extremely important as it can drive up costs. Issues such as how the component rotates also go a long way in impacting solderability.
  • Layout – Since the PCB has to connect to other boards or interfaces, it is important that these aspects have been considered.

If the design of the board adds to its manufacturing expense, it can render the project unviable. In fact, this aspect becomes extremely important particularly at the prototype stage as if the design isn’t optimized it will lead to issues at the mass production stage. Alternately, you will waste time going back to the drawing board & re-designing the prototype.

PCB Design Guidelines for Seamless Assembly

Some of the PCB design for assembly guidelines that are extremely important include:

  • Ensure that the components that your design incorporates are easily available. It is critical to check that end-of-life parts are not incorporated as they can waste precious assembly time as also increase your expenses.
  • It is recommended that all SMT parts are put on one side of the board as having them on both sides will add to the costs.
  • Solderability of the board gets impacted if unusually sized parts are used. Additionally, as far as possible such parts should not be juxtaposed with smaller parts.
  • Ensure that components aren’t placed too close to the board edges especially when you are dealing with small boards as these can cause issues in taking the boards out of the panels.
  • As far as possible, an orthogonal placement of parts needs to be undertaken.
  • In part placement their solderability needs to be kept in mind. There needs to be enough room for soldering fixture development.
  • It is important that test probe points be provided for testing & debugging
  • The connectors should be placed optimally. Additionally there must be enough room to plug & unplug cables during assembly.
  • Last but definitely not the least, it is imperative to work closely with your electronics contract manufacturer at the design stage itself for your PCB design to work seamlessly at the manufacturing stage.

The important role your contract manufacturer can play!

It is important that your CM is involved at the design stage to be able to review your design. That way the CM will be able to guide you about component selection. In turn, this will mean that you will not have to contend with a delay in the availability of parts. Additionally, the other advantage that will accrue is that they will be able to help you with optimal placement of components that will increase the manufacturability of the board. Done well this will have a positive repercussion on:

  • Cost of boards
  • Cycle time, and more.

In fact with the right contract manufacturer you will be able to tide over any difficulties including manufacturing boards that are highly complex. Armed with industry best practices they will be able to help with design & documentation that can ease manufacturing. Also, needless to mention that the right contract manufacturer will be able to offer you both low as well as high volumes as per your bespoke requirements.

Technotronix offers PCB manufacturing services with 40 years of expertise. We follow industry best practices to ensure we deliver cutting-edge products. Our team of experts and state-of-the-art manufacturing facility ensures that all our PCBs meet the industry standards of quality and testing.

If you have any questions or any requirements related to PCB design for assembly, please feel free to contact us via email at sales@technotronix.us or call 714/630-9200.

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How does PCB Inspection play an important role in PCB assembly process?

By | Date posted: | Last updated: February 8, 2022
PCB Inspection

The printed circuit board assembly process isn’t complete until a robust inspection process is concluded. Its ability to point out hidden defects cannot be overstated. That it saves you precious time and protects you from costly errors at a later date is a given.

Here are some of the common PCB inspection processes that are often undertaken:

  • Manual PCB inspection: As the name implies, it involves manually looking at assemblies to inspect them for problems.
  • AOI PCB inspection: Automatic or automated optical inspection involves using an optical system that takes an image of the PCB assembly and to identify any flaws.
  • AXI PCB inspection: With density of PCBs increasing not all solder joints may be visible. Optical inspection therefore may not serve the purpose. In such cases an X-Ray system – AXI, is able to look under the chips to view the solder joints.
  • X-Ray Inspection: X-ray inspection is ideal for more complex boards & provides capabilities that other inspection methods can’t. The X-ray inspection will let you see inside solder joints to reveal bubbles that you can’t see using AOI.

Let us look at some defects that can be easily pointed out using some of these PCB inspection techniques:

Blind or Buried Vias

The use of vias in PCBs has become ubiquitous as they help different layers of the board to be connected easily. The integrity of blind and buried vias, however, cannot be ascertained with visual inspections. X-ray inspection can though send radiations that can penetrate through hidden spots and make it easy to assess the quality of connections as well as components.

Errors in landing patterns

Landing patterns of specific elements on the board often have errors associated with them. For example, if the components used on the board are not included in the library of commonly used SMD components, the chances of having the landing pattern wrong are that much higher.

BGAs

With the use of the Ball Grid Array system, components are packed with high density on the board. In this case also a PCB X-ray machine comes in handy to check the quality of components as well as board connections. The images generated from the PCB X-Rays can go a long way in seeing individual components and identify any flaws.

Decoupling Capacitors

Decoupling Capacitors help in ensuring stability of power supply as also removing oscillations and transients. Wrong placement of capacitors can however lead to suboptimal performance of the device. An inspection process ensures easy identification of any erroneous placement and correction.

Solder Voids

Soldering plays a very important role in connecting the component to the board. Any error in soldering leads to faulty connections and will impact the integrity of the PCB.

Inspection is therefore imperative to look for solder voids that can lead to low quality connections. In turn, it ensures that poor quality connections can be avoided.

Pin-Hole Fills

Through-hole is an important technique of connecting components to the PCB. However, it is prone to several defects including pin-hole fills. Essentially, they occur on account of escaping of gas while soldering. If the heat of soldering is excessive, it will lead to continuous escape of gas. During a quality assessment the pin-hole fills can be identified and integrity of soldering, ascertained.

To Sum Up

PCB Inspection comes with a wide range of benefits and ensures quality control of PCB. In fact, inspection of PCBs can help improve the overall PCB production process. If a particular defect tends to occur repeatedly, you can correct the flaw at the process level itself. Looked at in this manner, PCB inspection plays an important role in the continuous improvement of the PCB production process.

While it may be tempting to look at it like a cost, the fact remains that the cost of failure of products can be far higher, in the absence of inspection. Inspecting PCBs can uncover any defects. In fact, checking PCBs after each phase can help uncover flaws before moving to the next stage. The inspection method can help you ensure consistent quality across boards. Without a proper inspection protocol in place, flawed boards could reach the market. Especially if the defects are found out after the products have been shipped out, you not only may need to deal with expensive recalls, you will also have to face a costly loss in reputation. Worse still, a defective PCB can lead to injury or death, particularly if it is being used in a medical device or an automotive component.

From manual visual inspection to Automated Optical Inspection, X-Ray inspection, PCB functional testing and more, the wide range of inspection techniques ensure adequate performance while maintaining acceptable cycle times. Determining the best techniques for the needs of your project can go a long way in ensuring PCB integrity.

At Technotronix, we are fully equipped to handle your PCB manufacturing requirements. Our team of experts and state-of-the-art equipment ensures that all our PCBs meet the industry standards of quality and testing. It is our vast portfolio of satisfied clients that stand as the biggest testimony to our success. In case if you have any questions, please feel free to contact us via email at sales@technotronix.us or call us on 714/630-9200.

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