Archive for November, 2016

PCB Analysis Solutions, What You Should Know

Written by Admin on . Posted in PCB, PCB Manufacturing

PCB Store

If you are shopping around for a printed circuit board fabricator it is a good idea to do your research so you can equip yourself with the proper information.  Understanding the different types of PCB, their functions and capabilities will help you communicate better with your manufacturer.  You also will want to gain an understanding or brush up on the different testing services they offer to ensure that the PCB will work properly before you receive the final product.  Below is a list of considerations that you should be aware of.

  • The major types of PCB’s
  • Root cause analysis
  • Common failure analysis tests
  • Common PCB challenges

Types of PCB’s and Testing Processes

There are three types of printed circuit boards.

  • Single-sided:  Used for simple electronic devices
  • Double-sided: The most popular type, used in most computerized machines
  • Multilayer: Used in computers as well as high technology

The testing process for your printed circuit board regardless of the type you have chosen to have fabricated.  You should make sure that your manufacturer has testing in place.

  • Increased density
  • High lead-free temperature requirements
  • Hazardous material
  • Recycling requirements
  • Tune PCBs to precise values
  • Other changes in the fabrication

Root Cause Analysis

During the fabrication process there are numerous machines or tools that will be utilized, they should include;

  • Screen Printers
  • Conveyors
  • Pick-and place systems
  • Reflow ovens
  • Automated optical inspection
  • Solder paste
  • Other various components

If the PCB does not operate correctly, then testing it becomes a must so the manufacturer can pinpoint the cause and make the appropriate corrections to get it functioning properly.

Failure Analysis Tests

Below you will find a list of common tests that you should ask your prospective fabricator about.  Specifically, if they perform them.

  • Micro-sectioning Testing
  • Solderability Testing
  • Contamination Testing
  • Optical Microscopy/SEM
  • X-Ray Inspection

While you are interviewing the prospective manufacturer ask them if they offer any or all of these tests.

Common Challenges

There are many challenges that your fabricator must face when they are creating you PCB.  The nature of the process is delicate and with the trend of technology coming up with smaller and smaller devices the work becomes even more delicate and complicated.

Communication/Customer Service

Now that you have an idea of what you should be looking for regarding the testing processes offered, we can move on to customer service and communication.  It is extremely important that you speak with your fabricator, understand their procedures, and ask questions about anything you may not understand.  This brings us to the customer service, when you are asking your questions the answers you receive should satisfy you.  They should also return any messages you leave for them in a timely manner.  Developing a good working relationship with your manufacturer will put you at ease and keep you informed of the progress or if there are any issues that must be dealt with.

 

Solder Bridge Challenges During PCB Assembly

Written by Admin on . Posted in PCB Assembly and component

soldering pcb

Solder bridges aka shorts have become more challenging to deal with for those who fabricate or manufacture printed circuit boards.  A solder bridge or short occurs when a solder is connecting and crossing one lead to another lead improperly.  What makes them difficult to deal with is the fact that they are microscopic, which means that they can’t usually be detected by the naked eye making it hard to see if one is present.

What Cause Solder Bridging?

There are quite a few different scenarios that will result in the a short, or solder bridging.  Understanding how this can happen can help you avoid this common and unnecessary problem.  When we get down to the bare bones of the issue, it all comes down to a printed circuit board design that has a flaw.  Because of this the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) is finding it difficult to find and create the exact layout for the PCB.  Additional causes for solder bridges also include;

  • Lack of solder resistance between the pads on the printed circuit board
  • Not applying a sufficient layer of polymer on the copper traces
  • If the device pitch is less than 0.5 mm the pad to gap ration will cause a short
  • Incorrect stencil specification, leads to too much paste which leads to a solder bridge
  • Excessive paste or an uneven distribution of it being used
  • Stencil is too thin or too thick
  • Mistake on the Surface Mount Component Placement
  • Poor registration of the PCB-solder screen

Bigger and Better in Smaller Packages

One of the most amazing aspects of technology today is how our beloved gadgets are getting smaller and smaller!  Although we love them we can’t overlook the fact that the smaller the package the more challenging in becomes.  The smaller, delicate designs make mistakes more apt to happen which then increases the chances of a solder bridge occurring.

Can Solder Bridging Be Avoided?

The good news is that the answer to this question is an absolute yes.  As we know, shorts are extremely difficult to identify before it is too late.  This begins in the design process.  Meeting with your fabricator/manufacturer and listening to their thoughts and expert advice when it comes to the fabrication process can prove extremely beneficial and definitely avoid some additional costly mistakes in the entire practice.  Listening to the fabricator is important, it they do find a flaw in the design they can begin to immediately start developing a work around or an alternative solution that will ensure the successful completion of your printed circuit project.

Solder bridges (shorts) account for about 15% of the problems that fabricators can face while creating your printed circuit board.  The best advice to follow is to be a careful as you can during the design process.  Design flaws are normally the main reason for solder bridges.  Finding the flaw or better yet not making a mistake in the design process would be the perfect way to avoid them!

Related:

The Value of Solder Paste Inspection

Choosing the Perfect PCB Assembly Partner

 

Continual Advancements in The Electrical Manufacturing Services Industry

Written by Admin on . Posted in PCB Manufacturing

Electrical Manufacturing Services Industry

If you have been looking forward to what’s next in our electronics industry, you have landed in the right place!  There are always new and exciting advancements on the horizon that people everywhere are just waiting to find out about.  Some of the industries that will be experiencing these advancements are the automotive, medical, green, and American reshoring industries.  Of course there are more industries that will continue to benefit from advancements, but we are going to concentrate on these four industries and the trends that will continue to help them prosper.

Automotive Industry

The introduction of smart cars has revolutionized the automotive industry.  It is expected that there will be a growth in the availability for them.  No longer will they be for those high-end or luxury cars.  With the growing number of tech savvy consumers around today, placing the “smart” capabilities may soon become part of the standard option package for automobiles.  Once this happens consumers everywhere will be able to enjoy the smartness of their car!

Medical Industry

The medical industry continues to benefit from technological advances.  There should be no surprise there.  With the growing demand from other countries that are in need of medical equipment this industry finds itself in a situation of a continual and growing demand for current medical technology.  We do not expect to see a slow in advancements any time soon so we look forward to the continual growth of advancement!

Green Technology

Green technology is experiencing an extreme demand.  With its popularity growing among consumers, businesses, and government, you can expect to see new and innovative technology that will have everyone breathing a lot easier, and healthier.  There has also been a strong demand for a green solution to manufacturing pollution, which will be exciting to keep an eye on to see what the experts can create!

American Reshoring

It is becoming more apparent that purchasing products domestically may be worth the additional money we pay for it.  At this point paying for domestic products seems to be making a comeback so this will increase the need for domestic manufacturing.  Since Asian outsourcing is no longer as cheap as it used to be, many are deciding to pay the additional amount for convenience sake.  We will have to keep a close eye on this, to see how it plays out.

Advancements in the electrical manufacturing service industry will continue to grow and benefit industries around the world including automotive and medical industries, green technology as well as American reshoring.  One thing that is definitely for sure we are in for new and exciting advancements that will continue to fascinate us and make our lives a little or possible a lot better.  No matter what industry you work in you will most likely reap some of the benefits of the latest and greatest technological advances.  All industries are guaranteed to feel the positive effect of the technological advances we are looking forward to.