How to speed up your PCB prototypes from weeks to minutes!

By | Date posted: | Last updated: April 8, 2022
Rapid PCB Prototype

If there is one thing that is crucial to the success of an idea, it is reduced time to market. To achieve that objective, fabricating a prototype fast and with elasticity, is a key requirement. When designers need to spend days waiting for a prototype, they are wasting valuable manhours in evaluating their design and finally getting the product out in the market. Rapid prototyping is thus the need of the hour, which can convert an idea into a circuit panel, which in turn will determine the success of the final product.

The reality however is that so often the time lag between thinking of an idea and having a prototype ready is humungous. It takes forever to first get a quote and finally to have a prototype in your hands. If you need to make further changes in the design that in turn means another significant chunk of time lost.

Fortunately for innovators, there is a way to significantly reduce this time and to ensure that this entire approach to manufacturing is significantly revolutionized. With cloud manufacturing technology, you can simply upload your design and bill of materials. You can thereafter receive an instant quote and once you give your go ahead you can even monitor the production cycle. From the vendor’s perspective what it means is that he can combine several small orders into a large batch, thereby lowering costs as well as reducing turnaround time significantly. This is a huge advantage especially for small organizations, which need low quantities and are typically inundated with costs such as a set up charge or a minimum lot charge for example. Often times when you need only one board you land up paying for as many as 10.

In selecting a partner who can offer you rapid prototyping, you however need to keep in mind the following:

  1. The vendor should be able to give you quotes for your prototype nearly instantly.
  2. Ensure that the vendor is technologically equipped so you can monitor your project as also make any changes.
  3. Ensure that the vendor is able to keep costs low by combining orders and passing on the savings made on account of bulk buys to all customers.
  4. Another aspect to watch out for is to choose a vendor who designs the prototypes onshore as that will ensure that the time lags on account of overseas shipments are significantly reduced.
  5. It is also preferable to have a vendor that has an in-house assembly as that will ensure that there aren’t additional delays or probability of failure that may accrue on account of a third-party service. This will also help in maintaining security as in a highly competitive and proprietary industry you would not want your design to go to multiple vendors and result in any kind of leakage.
  6. Ensure also that you choose a vendor who is able to provide a wide range of PCB Prototypes from single and double sided PCBs to the more complex, multi layered ones.
  7. Be sure to check that there are no hidden costs for specific requests as these hidden charges can often throw your budget off gear.

With the use of a CAD software, the specific layout for the circuit board prototype can be laid. Once the material for the circuit board is selected, the circuit board can then be easily fabricated. The next step is then to test the circuit board. If any faults are noticed or changes are required, it is then easy to modify the layout.

With the right partner there is little need to deal with multiple vendors, there by significantly adding to ease of dealing and peace of mind. In turn this will help you test your ideas with ease. On choosing the right vendor the many PCB nightmares can be laid to rest. You need not worry about:

  1. Prototyping being an extremely expensive process typically for small prototyping runs.
  2. Not getting a customized product to suit your bespoke needs.
  3. Long time lags between placing the prototype order and receiving it.
  4. Not being able to monitor your project and hence wastage of time if the final product does not meet your requirements.

At Technotronix, we combine state-of-the-art technology with our advanced engineering to deliver unparalleled quality and service. With fast PCB prototyping and consistent delivery of high-quality PCBs, we offer a robust source of competitive advantage to our clients. With our four decades of experience, you can rest assured that we are cognizant of the industry best practices and will keep you ahead of the curve. Visit to know more about fast PCB prototyping service and feel free to contact us. Also, you can drop an email to us at sales@technotronix.us.

How and Why the utilization of SMT stencils simplify the Process of PCB Prototyping?

By | Date posted: | Last updated: April 30, 2021
Prototype PCB

The process of creating a PCB is complex and involves a large number of steps beginning with the Layout stage and culminating in the assembly of the boards. The entire process goes through specifications, electrical design, physical design, manufacturing and finally, assembly. Most of these stages are replete with chances of probable error.

The board assembly process alone comprises of the following stages- a) applying solder paste b) pick and place components c) heat/reflow solder d) cool and test.

The use of laser cut SMT stencils in the process of applying solder paste cannot be over emphasized. Solder paste only needs to go where the component must be in contact with a metal landing pad. This is made possible with a solder stencil. With the solder screen in correct position, a runner is moved across the screen applying solder paste through the holes, onto the board.

Essentially a stencil works in the following manner:

  • First and foremost, a stainless steel laser is employed so that openings are cut out for each component that will be on the board.
  • The stencil is thereafter aligned on the board.
  • Solder paste is applied all over the stencil.
  • Once the stainless steel foil is removed, the solder paste is ready for placement of the components.

Benefits of using a PCB stencil

Laser cut SMT stencils have smooth internal pad walls, which facilitate superior paste release. Its advantage also stems from the fact that it is fast and easy to work with and allows for a high degree of accuracy. Since these stencils significantly reduce the potential for errors, there is little risk of having to rework the board or replace its components. With the time and labour required to manufacture the board significantly reduced, what also results is a significant cost advantage. The fact that the stencil makes it possible to print fine print devices is also an added benefit. Stencils therefore go a long way in increasing the overall quality of the PCB since the chances of bridging, tombstoning or balling on the board are significantly reduced.

Prototype Stencils are particularly of use where:

  • The number of surface mount components are high
  • The component placement is finalized
  • Easier soldering

Types of SMT stencils available

There are a number of different types of stencils that can be opted for during the electronics assembly process. Some of them include:

  • Desktop Stencil- This is particularly chosen in case of hand assembly of prototypes as it makes application of the solder paste by hand, easy.
  • Framed Stencil- These in turn can be categorized as either fixed frame or universal frame stencils. The fixed frame stencil, as its name implies has the stencil fixed to the frame. In case of a universal frame stencil on the other hand, the stencil is held within a frame. This kind of stencil allows for a reduction in cost as they allow for changes to the unit.
  • Rework Stencil- A frameless stencil, it allows for reloading of components and thus comes in very handy in cases where a certain problem component needs to be tackled.

Typically stencils are made out of stainless steel on account of their durability, however, stencils made up of Mylar are also common. Varying from .005″ to .007″ in thickness, a large majority of stencils are found in 20″x20″ size.

Buying a custom stencil from a reputed manufacturer offers the following advantages:

  • It allows for accuracy
  • They are delivered in a timely manner
  • Reorders are easy to make
  • They are affordable- In fact it takes only a handful of parts before the stencil starts to pay for itself in terms of accuracy, time saved and of course increased yield.
  • They are compact and easy to handle

Technotronix is one of the kingpins in offering PCB Layout and manufacturing solution to all predominant industries. With a strong team of technical professionals, it has gained expertise in providing faster and cost effective PCB Prototyping Services.

We provide 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. You can rely on our PCB design tools that, in turn, lead to that perfect PCB Assembly. Our superior engineering capabilities mean that each board matches your exact requirements and technical specifications. 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.

Top Myths and Facts about PCB Prototyping and Assembly

By | Date posted: | Last updated: April 8, 2022
pcb-prototyping

With our electronic equipment increasingly becoming smaller, PCB prototyping is increasingly becoming more and more complex. Here are some common PCB prototyping and assembly myths, suitably debunked. A knowledge of these myths and the associated facts will help you overcome the common pitfalls from associated with PCB layouts and assembly.

Top PCB Myths and Facts about PCB Prototyping and Assembly:

Components can be arranged anywhere on the board – This is not true, as each component has to be placed at a specific position to achieve a functional PCB Assembly.

Power delivery does not play an important role – On the contrary, power delivery has an intrinsic role to play in any prototype PCB. The delivery of the right current in fact has to be taken into account to ensure optimal performance.

All PCBs are largely identical – 
While the basic components of a PCB are the same, the fabrication and assembly of a PCB is dependent on what it is being used for. You need to engineer the physical design, and many other factors basis the use the PCB is being put to.

PCB layout for both prototyping as well as production are identical – The fact however is that in creating prototype, you can opt for through-hole parts. When it comes to actual production, however, surface mount parts are typically used as through hole parts can turn out to be expensive.

All designs adhere to Standard DRC settings – While you may be able to design a PCB, a manufacturer may not be able build it. It is therefore important that a design for manufacturability analysis is done by the manufacturer, before actually manufacturing the PCB. You may need to make some changes in design to suit the manufacturer as also to ensure that you build a product that is cost effective. This is important so that the final product does not have any design flaws that can cost you dearly.

An efficient use of space can be made by grouping similar parts – Grouping similar parts has to be done keeping into account any unnecessary routing as also taking into account the distance the signal needs to travel. Also parts have to be places logically and not just in a bid to optimize space, in order to ensure their proper functioning.

All parts published in a library are good for the layout – The fact is that ever so often discrepancies may exist when it comes to the component and the datasheet. It could be something as basic as a mismatch in size, which in turn can impact your project. It is therefore important for you to re confirm that the part matches the datasheet in every way.

Auto routing of layouts leads to optimization of time and money – While ideally it should do so, auto routing sometimes results in a poor design. A better idea is to route the clocks, critical nets etc. and then run an auto router.

If the design passes DRC checks, it is fine – While DRC checks is a good start point, it is important to know that they are not a substitute for engineering best practices.

Minimum trace widths are sufficient – Trace widths are dependent on a number of factors including the current load. You need to therefore ensure that the traces are large enough to carry the current. The use of a trace width calculator, is highly recommended to determine that you are adequately prepared.

Exporting Gerber files and placing the PCB order is the final step – It is important to know that there could be loopholes in the Gerber extraction process. It is imperative, therefore, that you verify the output Gerber files. Check out the guide on how to avoid Gerber file problems during PCB manufacturing process.

Being aware of the myths and the facts in the PCB layout and assembly process will ensure that you can minimize the many pain points and accelerate the time to market. Being aware of these factors will also help you keep the costs optimal as the need for continued troubleshooting is minimized.

Technotronix is one of the leader in providing high quality and defect free PCB prototyping and assembly as per customer specification. With our four decades of experience, you can rest assured that we are cognizant of the industry best practices and will keep you ahead of the curve. Feel free to contact us or you can also drop an email to us at sales@technotronix.us.

5 Effective Ways to Reduce PCB Prototype Spins

By | Date posted: | Last updated: September 21, 2021
pcb prototype

A big mantra of success in the fast paced, ultra-competitive world of today is to be the first to get your product to market without compromising on the quality of the product in terms of either performance or reliability. Getting it right the first time has become imperative in order to garner early mover advantage as also to bring down costs and time associated with manufacturing a product. Each physical PCB prototype has an average cost of $8000, with every PCB prototype spin and re-spin, the costs keep escalating along with delays in manufacturing. Each PCB prototype re-spin involves going back to the design board to correct a design or performance flaw which can derail the entire cost and time estimate for a project. The ability to be the best and first to market your product is limited how well you are able to structure your pcb layout and prototyping process to ensure manufacturability of the PCB at the design phase itself by identifying design issues early on in the design phase itself thereby eliminating the need for PCB prototyping re-spins.

Top 5 Ways to Reduce PCB Prototype Spins:

An optimized design can reduce cost and performance issues during PCB prototyping

It is not uncommon for design engineers to add in more complexity to the pcb layout than required for performance purposes which can sometimes cause issues to manufacturers, particularly if the design component requires a specialized process or machinery which might not be available with the manufacturer. Generally speaking, the fewer the components on the PCB, the greater are its chances of success and it is also less likely to require re-spins due to design issues. Also the lesser the number of components on the PCB the lesser is the time and cost involved which is why PCB specialists emphasize on the importance of optimizing the design for performance required rather than trying to fit in too many components and features which might increase the cost without adding corresponding value to the product.

Knowing your manufacturing partner and his capabilities and processes can help you avoid running into issues later

The best way to reduce the number of PCB prototype spins is to tie in with a PCB fabricator in the early stages of pcb layout itself. A good PCB fabricator can provide you valuable design inputs that can not only help improve the quality and performance of your product but can help you cut down time and cost involved in PCB iterations and re-spins. Each PCB manufacturer or fabricator has his own capabilities and strengths, for instance they can only manufacture PCB’s of specific dimensions or can only manufacture PCB’s of a certain level of complexity. Unless you have taken the time to understand the strengths and limitations of the PCB Partnering with a manufacturer during the design stage itself can help you avoid PCB prototyping re-spins by ensuring your PCB layout conforms to the design specifications required by the PCB Prototype manufacturer.

Ensure a successful Design for Manufacturing (DFM) test before releasing the PCB for fabrication and manufacturing

There is a way to ensure manufacturability before actually running the Gerber files. Partner with your PCB manufacturer to run the design through the DFM tool to ensure the design is error free and manufacturing ready. Verifiability for manufacturing is an important and necessary step that can help you save a lot of time and money on PCB Prototyping re-spins, so ensure you make it an integral part of your process step.

Don’t Skip the Schematic

It can be tempting to skip the schematic if your board is relatively simple, but it’s a bad idea. Building your layout from a complete schematic gives you a reference and helps make sure that all of your layout connections will be complete.The schematic is your visual representation of your circuit. It lets you arrange components near their functional counterparts, regardless of where they will be physically placed. When each pin on each component is depicted in the schematic symbols, a disconnect is easy to recognize. Schematics help you determine if the basic circuit design rules have been followed by visualizing the design.

Optimize budgeted and out of budget costs associated with prototyping by deriving cost to value ratio

Some costs appear big and incurring them might seem a waste of money but can add upto significant savings later. For instance, many organizations prefer working with a small design team to save manpower cost. But in some instances adding 1-2 more people to the team might lead to a quicker design turnaround and reduced PCB prototype spin offs due to greater quality checks resulting in significant savings of time and cost.

Technotronix is an ISO 9001-2015 certified with having RoHS compliance in providing of PCB prototype, PCB assembly and PCB fabrication services to all the dominant industries. Check out our PCB Prototyping services for more information. To get proper consultation or share your requirements to get a perfect PCB with cost effective strategy or to get a quote, drop an email to sales@technotronix.us or give a call 714/630-9200