Top benefits of Automation in Electronics Manufacturing!

By | Date posted: | Last updated: April 19, 2022
Automation in Electronics Manufacturing

Industrial automation refers to using technology and control systems to replace physical labor in manufacturing. It is clearly a step ahead of mechanization. In fact, with a combination of mechanics, hydraulics, pneumatics, tasks that were carried out by human beings can be automated. This, in turn, will pave the wave for Industry 4.0, that will revolutionize manufacturing as well as engineering.

In fact, industrial automation will positively impact a wide variety of sectors, right from automotive to FMCG.

The benefits of automation in electronics manufacturing:

1. Improved efficiency

One of the biggest advantages that accrue from automation is that it takes away the propensity of error that comes with manual intervention. Even though machines may not be a match to human creativity, they are great to get repetitive work done without fatigue and therefore, errors.

In electronics manufacturing, particularly in manufacturing mission critical equipment where accuracy is key, the importance of automation cannot be overstated. Also, where the work takes place in dangerous environs or where the work is extremely monotonous, automation offers the right solution.

2. Reduced Costs

In terms of costs, automation goes a long way in saving labor costs. In fact machines can work for far longer hours even in extreme conditions. Not just that, if you do not implement automation solutions, this cost will continue to rise. In fact, in the wake of the pandemic labor shortage has only worsened that can make businesses extremely unviable.

3. Safety

With robots and automated machines being able to handle dangerous tasks and harsh environmental conditions, it ensures safety. Be it lifting heavy equipment or inclement weather conditions, you do not have to worry if you are using automation, as opposed to using manpower.

4. Improved quality

The improved quality from automation also occurs on account of the fact that when machines take over repetitive, monotonous work, it frees up time for people to focus on innovation and other complexities. What this results in, is overall high quality products. In fact, with the basic tasks being taken care of by machines, human beings can focus on high value activities bringing progressive improvement in the quality of electronics.

5. Quick time-to-market

Automation in electronics manufacturing services leads to faster production, and in turn quick time-to-market, which is a big source of competitive advantage. In fact, with appropriate preventive maintenance, machines can run nearly perpetually.

6. Improved Customization

With automation allowing manufacturers to increase flexibility in production, what will also benefit is the ability to customize products to different specifications. Traditionally, electronic products have been built in high volumes to the same specification. With smart factories, this is slated to change.

With this improved level of flexibility, what will also see a change, is the ability of original equipment manufacturers to build prototypes and hence new products quickly.

7. New products

Automation is certainly going to result in a wide range of new products introduction (NPI) that will improve lives as also drive automation even further forward paving the way for high quality products that push boundaries.

8. Improved Sustainability

Automation can lead to streamlining overall operations as well as reducing resource costs. Importantly, it also leads to reducing the company’s environmental footprint. In fact compared to legacy systems automation uses fewer resources as well as less energy. It therefore has lower emissions.

Customers too prefer eco-friendly brands and prefer companies that source material ethically and impact the surrounding environment and communities positively. In fact, the entire supply chain benefits from eco-friendly practices including the many vendors and suppliers who can also claim that everything was sourced and supplied using sustainable means.

To sum up

At the onset the key factors that led to industrial automation were improving productivity and cutting costs. The focus, however, is moving towards improving quality and nimbleness and agility.

In fact, the adoption of automation will lead more and more electronic manufacturers to use efficient operations. Any challenges along the way will involve their mitigation using remote monitoring as well as smart control systems. The eventual future definitely is lights-out manufacturing, with several organizations already adopting the concept.

As a leading electronics contract manufacturer, Technotronix offer PCB manufacturing service with combining state-of-the-art technology and advanced engineering to deliver unparalleled quality and service. We are upgrading ourselves every day and offering the finest circuit board assembly, circuit board designs and fabrication services to our clients.
If you have questions or queries related to any kind of PCB manufacturing services, email us at sales@technotronix.us or call us on 714/630-9200.

High TG PCB Manufacturing: Characteristics, Applications & Advantages!

By | Date posted: | Last updated: April 12, 2022
High TG PCB Manufacturing

The demand for high Tg PCB manufacturing has been seeing exponential growth. Not without reason, High Tg PCB offers high resistance to temperature, pressure, moisture, harmful chemicals and more. They also offer increased electrical and mechanical support to devices. Little surprise then that high Tg PCBs find application in a wide variety of applications.

Let us look at the concept of high Tg PCB in detail:

What is a high Tg PCB?

Tg or Transition Glass temperature is the highest temperature at which a substance remains in a solid state. Beyond this temperature, it changes into its liquid form. A high Tg PCB therefore is designed to withstand extreme temperatures. Such PCBs work well in harsh temperature conditions as they do not melt or soften. If the operating temperature exceeds TG, the PCB can melt, show deformation, and more.

Standard PCBs offer a Tg value of 140°C, which can withstand an operating temperate of 110°C. For industries such as automotive, aeronautics and more, that have extreme temperature processes, a PCB made of FR-4 can offer a workable solution.

What is FR-4?

FR-4 is a flame-retardant fiberglass reinforced epoxy material. It offers far greater heat resistance than standard PCBs. FR-4 circuits boards, in turn, are classified based on the number of copper trace layers, as below:

  • Single-sided PCB / Single-layer PCB
  • Double-sided PCB / Double-layer PCB
  • Four or more than 10 layers PCB / Multilayer PCB

What happens when the temperature exceeds the Tg value for the PCB?

When the temperature of the PCB exceeds its Tg value, the substrate undergoes structural change and changes into a rubbery state. This impacts the mechanical and electrical properties of the PCB.

When do you require a high temperature circuit board?

A high temperature circuit board is required when:

  • Your product operates at 130 degrees Celsius or even higher.
  • You have made a transition to RoHS circuit boards that requires high temperature for lead free solder.
  • High Tg PCBs dissipate heat in the following 3 ways:
  • Conduction – This is achieved by placing the heat sink directly with the heat source.
  • Radiation – Here the heat dissipates by creating a direct path for electromagnetic waves.
  • Convection – The heat dissipates by moving it to water or air.

Properties of High Tg Printed Circuit Boards

Some properties of a high Tg PCB include:

  • Ability to withstand high temperature.
  • Ability to withstand pressure.
  • Improved mechanical and electrical properties.
  • Low coefficient of thermal expansion.
  • Improved durability.

On account of the above properties, even if a high Tg PCB comes at a higher cost, it still turns out to be a cost-effective solution for high-energy applications.

Advantages of high Tg PCB manufacturing

The advantages of high Tg PCB include:

High stability and durability

With a high Tg PCB you are assured of high durability as it can withstand high temperature, pressure, moisture, harmful chemicals and more.

Suited for high power density designs

When it comes to high-power density designs a high Tg PCB is ideal as it withstands high temperatures.

Suited for multilayer PCBs

A High Tg PCB comes in handy for multilayer PCBs that are the need of the hour for sophisticated appliances. With their ability to function under harsh conditions, they go a long way in improving the reliability of the appliance.

Applications of High Tg PCB Manufacturing

Any electronic application where excessive heat is a norm, benefits from a high Tg PCB. High Tg PCBs are also the perfect answer to high power PCB designs. Some of the areas where they find extensive application include:

Industrial Applications

Whether it is drilling machines, power inverters, solar power equipment or other devices, high Tg PCBs find extensive use in industrial applications.

Automobile Industry

The automobile industry finds wide use of high Tg PCBs. They find application in:

  • Radar technology
  • Control systems
  • Navigation devices, and more

Some of the other industries where high Tg PCBs are extensively used include:

  • Computer Technology
  • Telecommunication appliances
  • Security systems
  • Wi Fi Boosters
  • High Processing antennas
  • Medical appliances
  • Aeronautical appliances, and more

To Sum Up

With the development of high Tg PCBs, the focus has clearly moved from trying to minimize heat generation in appliances to resisting the heat efficiently.

At Technotronix, we specialize in high Tg PCB manufacturing which finds an extensive application in a wide range of industries that operate at relatively high temperatures. With over 4 decades of experience in PCB manufacturing as well as assembling PCBs with differing levels of complexities, we follow industry best practices to ensure we deliver cutting-edge products.

In case you have any questions regarding high temperature PCB, please feel free to contact us via email at sales@technotronix.us or call us on 714/630-9200.

What is Via in PCB design? Everything you need to know about it!

By | Date posted: | Last updated: April 5, 2022
Via in PCB design

With the growth of miniaturization in appliances, PCBs continue to become smaller and use fewer through-hole components. With space being constrained, surface mount technology becomes increasingly popular and the majority of through holes on most modern PCB designs end up being vias.

What is a via?

Essentially a via offers a conductive path for the electric signal to go from one circuit layer to another. A via is a plated through hole in a PCB that can be used to route a trace from the board’s surface to the inner and outer layers. Vias are essential in multilayer boards as they create the routes for flow of current between the various layers.

Types of PCB Vias

While vias perform the same broad function, there are different types of vias as well as different options for the final appearance of the vias on the PCB surface.

PCB Via Structures – Through, Blind, Buried

Through Vias

This is a hole that is drilled from the top to the bottom layer. It is open at both ends to allow for plating solution to flow through. In fact, through vias are the commonest and most used. All you need to do is to follow the fabricator’s rules for minimum diameter, maximum aspect ratio and adjacency.

Blind Vias

Mechanically drilled blind vias are drilled from the top or the bottom layer but do not travel the full distance through the PCB. Unlike a through via, a blind via is open only at one end, so the plating solution cannot flow all the way through the hole. In going for blind vias, it is best to go with large holes, small aspect rations and aggressive plating agitation so that air bubbles aren’t trapped at the bottom of the holes.

Buried Vias

These are used to connect internal layer structures. Sometimes they connect only internal layer pairs before being laminated.

Laser microvias

These are the smallest vias, usually around 0.003″ – 0.004″ in diameter. The big advantage with microvias is that they can fit onto tight land areas often as vias-in-pads. The pads are planarized to their original condition after plating. The pad surfaces are restored so that they can be used for component soldering. With laser microvias, the maximum aspect ratio is usually 1:1. It is therefore practical to connect 2 adjacent layers with a thin dielectric sheet. If the design is extremely dense, they can be stacked one over the other.

How are PCB vias covered or filled?

Very often additional treatment is required for the vias to improve performance and yield. Some of these methods include:

  • Epoxy Hole Filling
  • Secondary Solder Masking

These additional processes eliminate assembly issues that can lead to costly troubleshooting & rework.

In fact, an appropriate via treatment can help mitigate many of these issues. Let us look at some of them in detail:

Tented Vias

These vias have a non-conductive solder mask that covers the pad at both ends. Tenting via in PCB fabrication became popular when dry film solder mask was greatly used, and it could tent even relatively large holes. Today, the use of dry film masks is extremely limited. The old form of tenting, therefore, is impractical.

Encroached Vias

These have a solder mask over most of the pad but end before the hole by a few thousandths of an inch. The solder mask increases the distance between the via and the solderable pad. Also with the hole being open, there is no likelihood of any air pocket formation or contaminant entrapment.

Button Print & Plugged Vias

Essentially these are variations of filled vias. They go a long way in helping with solder flow-through. It ensures that during assembly you have the correct amount of solder on the pad. It is recommended that the PCB material used for these processes is a non-conductive epoxy hole fill. The vias need to be limited to 0.020” maximum diameter so that the hole is filled effectively.

Active Pads

They plug the hole as well as the plates over the plug. Also known as via-in-pad, it is required where the pad through which the via was originally drilled is to be used later for soldering the surface mounted component. It is also useful where you need to cool a hot-running component by drawing heat through the via. With heat drawn to the opposite side of the board, it can dissipate easily.

It is important to know that via-in-pad hosts small pitch sizes and minimizes your board’s general size. This technique works well for BGA footprint parts.

How to figure out the correct via requirements for your PCB?

The kind of via that you choose has a lot to do with the size and the functionality of your board. For example, if the board is to be used in a large computing device, the PCB design will need to conform to older standards. Possibly, a PCB with through-hole components will work best in such a situation. A PCB, for a smaller device, on the other hand, will not benefit from through hole components. In this case, you will need to make the best use of the small amount of space available. In small boards, therefore, blind micro vias will work best. Such blind micro vias can send strong signals between short distances. While small PCBs with micro vias will entail a high investment especially in terms of labor costs, however the investment will well be worth it, especially since the path breaking device could turn out to be a bestseller.

How to state your PCB via requirements?

It is imperative that your via requirements be stated clearly in the fabrication documentation. In fact, separate files for each set of vias used in the design are highly recommended. In addition, the following information needs to be provided to the fabricator:

  • Type of Via- Is it through, blind or buried?
  • What is the via diameter?
  • The tolerances
  • Layer pairs to be connected by each drill file, if blind or buried.

In terms of treatment too, you need to give the fabricator the specific details such as whether you want the plug vias partially or 100% filled. Information such as using non-conductive epoxy, applying surface finishing over the pad and more, should be painstakingly detailed. In fact, the more specific you are the better results you will get. If on the other hand, there is lack of clarity in your fabrication notes, you could face issues such as:

  • Delay in receiving quotes.
  • Impact on bare PCB delivery.
  • Complication in the assembly cycle.

In fact, with miniaturization of appliances and the prevalence of high-density designs, it is becoming exceedingly important to clearly detail the via type as well as the treatment you require. It is also important to check that your data files are accurate and match with the requirements. In fact, time that is spent on detailing the requirements correctly will go a long way in ensuring there are no costly errors at a later date.

To sum up

Vias are becoming increasingly important on account of the following:

  • In multi layered boards they help with establishing component density.
  • They raise trace density in multi-layered PCBs. They allow various traces to link with each other. In such cases they act as vertical connection factors.
  • They help in facilitating the transmission of signals between layers. Without the use of vias the PCB components need to be routed on a single plane.

We have more than 4 decades of experience in PCB manufacturing in USA. At Technotronix, we have the technology and production facility to offer the tenting of PCB vias with the highest degree of accuracy. With our experienced engineers you can rest assured that what you will get is an effective production. Our ability to deliver, unparalleled quality as well as customer service, is what makes us stand out. Both on-time delivery and price competitive products are our USP. The most important element of our success, however, has been the relationships we have developed with our customers.

In case you have any questions, please feel free to contact us via email at sales@technotronix.us or call us on 714/630-9200.

The Top Difference between PCB Core and Prepreg Materials!

By | Date posted: | Last updated: March 23, 2022
difference-between-pcb-core-and-prepreg

To understand the difference between PCB core & prepreg material, it is important to understand what each of these are:

What is prepreg material?

Simply put, prepreg is a conductive substance that is used to offer the appropriate insulation between the copper and the core of the PCB. It is a dielectric material that is sandwiched between two cores of between a core and a copper foil. It is often referred to as the binding material as it binds two cores or a core and a copper foil.

As its name indicates, prepreg is a glass fiber impregnated with a resin bonding agent. All prepegs are B-stage materials. There are different types of prepregs depending on their thickness and the resin content that they hold. Prepregs are broadly available in 3 formats depending on their resin content:

  • Standard Resin
  • Medium Resin
  • High Resin

A typical prepreg preparation process involves:

  • Reinforcing with resins
  • Removal of excess resins
  • Preparation of curing with high and low-temperature settings

Why is it important?

Prepreg is an essential component of the PCB manufacturing process on account of the following:

  • It is easy to apply and work with. It is easy to getting accustomed to and does not require too much technical expertise.
  • It is not messy as opposed to wet style layups. The waste management during the manufacturing process is therefore, efficient.
  • There is a wide variety of prepreg available to suit different requirements.
  • It helps in reducing the weight of the device and therefore is particularly helpful in a milieu where miniaturization of devices has become a norm.

What is PCB core material?

The core of the PCB is a rigid base material, which is laminated with copper. It is used in manufacturing single or double-sided boards as also multilayer PCBs. A multilayer PCB has the following components:

  • Copper foil
  • Prepreg materials
  • Copper foil
  • Core materials
  • Copper foil
  • Prepreg materials
  • Copper foil

The difference between PCB core vs prepreg:

Oftentimes on account of the similarity between prepreg and core, there is a confusion between the two. Simply put, the core is a product of the prepreg and lamination. It is therefore far more rigid compared to the prepreg. The core is made up of a fiberglass-epoxy laminate which is Flame Retardant and has copper on either side.

The prepreg, on the other hand is partially dried without lamination and isn’t as rigid as the core.

Another important difference between the PCB prepreg and the core is its dielectric constant. While the dielectric constant of the core does not vary, that of the prepeg varies before & after lamination. The different dielectric constants are also a function of the following:

  • Resin content
  • Type of resin
  • Glass weave

This can become an issue where you need precise impedance matching. Also with not all prepreg and core materials being compatible with each other, and core/prepreg stacks with different doelectric constants, it is hard to predict the exact dielectric constants as well as losses in an interconnect.

The thickness of the PCB is a function of the prepregs used. In fact the required thickness can be achieved by a combination of prepreg plies i.e thin sheets of prepregs placed one over the other.

At high voltage, irrespective of the PCB core or prepreg material used, creepage as well as leakage currents are an issue. Creepage specifications for FR4 materials are required for electromigration of copper and growth of conductive filaments. On account of this issue and also with a view to increase glass transition as well as decomposition temperatures, there has been a move towards non-dicyandiamide resins.

To Sum Up

Both the core and the prepreg are essential components of the PCB. While the core is a base PCB material, a multilayer PCB is held together by the prepreg. The difference between the two lies in the fact that the core is cured, while prepreg materials are malleable which means it can be easily formed into sheets. When subject to high temperatures the material melts, helping to fuse the layers.

With over 40 years of combined experience in rendering high quality and standard PCB assembly and manufacturing services, we are not just an assembler, we can completely test at board level to box build level to provide the benefit of unparalleled technical expertise and the most progressive solutions at competitive prices. At Technotronix, we have adopted advanced PCB production techniques & manufacturing practices with specialization in a varied range of PCB fabrication processes, producing high-quality multi-layered PCBs from tailor-made layouts

In case you have any questions, please feel free to contact us via email at sales@technotronix.us or call us on 714/630-9200.