Why RushPCB is the Leading PCB Manufacturer in USA

Written by Rush PCB Inc on . Posted in PCB, PCB Design, PCB Manufacturing

Why RushPCB

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As a US based Printed Circuit Board Manufacturer, RushPCB delivers the utmost quality and value, both for low number PCB prototypes or large volume production lots. We can proudly confirm that our PCB manufacturing methods offer unbeatable prices for quick turn-around lead times at the best product quality. Simply leave us your specifications, and let our experienced sales support personnel and highly trained engineers get back to you with your exact requirements.

RushPCB Certifications

As RushPCB is certified for ISO 9001-2015 and AS 9000, we are fully equipped to supply products of outstanding functionality, quality, and reliability. We fabricate and assemble all our products in the US. Ranging from flex to rigid PCBs, we have full in-house capabilities, managed by staff with over twenty-five years of cumulative PCB manufacturing expertise.

As a leading electronics solutions manufacturing company, we have the capabilities to cater to a wide segment of PCB manufacturing services. Founded in 1997, we have, over the past two decades, partnered with various enterprises across a wide range of industries including consumer and automotive electronics, gaming, RF and wireless, nuclear, defense, and aerospace.

With a mission to build abiding relationships via collaborating with enterprises in an open and trusting environment, we render value with on our advanced capabilities including production, testing, quality, and logistics. With our AS 9000 and ISO 9001-2015 certification, we offer ourselves as a full service turnkey provider of custom electronics having the capability to provide a full range of skills starting from designing and prototyping to supplying new products and full volume production.

RushPCB Quality Standards

By making quality the cornerstone of all our activities, we continuously strive for improvement initiatives that include both internal as well as external factors related to PCB prototyping and full-scale PCB manufacture. We have invested in the latest technology, ensuring complete documentation, including ECNs and ECRs. We maintain a Quality Management System and track out vendors for quality, while we ensure all data requirements for customer quality remains on par with global benchmarks. For instance, our quality certificates include:

  • IPC-A-610 CLASS 1-2-3
  • MIL-STD-2000
  • ESD Safe Work Place
  • J Std 001E Class I, II, and III
  • FPF HDBK-263

We maintain a state of the art manufacturing facility with a full range of capabilities for manufacturing multi-layer PCBs from low to high volumes. We focus on technology so our capabilities are far superior to other manufacturers. For instance, some of our capabilities include automated stockrooms, automated selective soldering, multi-flex SMT lines equipped with in-line automated optical inspection capabilities, BGA x-ray, BGA install and rework facilities. Our test resources include highly qualified and trained engineers, functional and environmental test equipment, including ICT flying probe testing capabilities.

Also Read;  Manufacturing Process of Printed Circuit Boards at Rush PCB Inc.

RushPCB Services Offered

The full ranges of services we offer are:

  • Design & Multilayer PCB Layout
  • Multilayer PCB Manufacturing
  • Surface Mounted and Through Hole Assembly
  • Electro-Mechanical and Mechanical Assembly
  • Cable Harnessing and Connector Assembly
  • Final Product Assembly and Automated Testing Services
  • Components Purchasing Services
  • Complete Turnkey from Design to Finished Product
  • Prototyping & Production Assembly
  • Flow Soldering
  • Testing
  • Conformal Coating
  • Programming of EEPROM, Microprocessors & other IC’s

We specialize in design and layout of multilayer PCBs. We manufacture boards from two to 32 layers, offering full turnkey assemblies and quick turn consignments.

We specialize in high layer count PCBs using regular FR-4 and other exotic materials, for flexible, semi-flex, rigid, and HDI PCBs. We are specialists for micro-via drills, blind, and buried vias, and we can fill them with conductive and non-conductive fillings as required.

RushPCB Expertise

As an expert Printed Circuit Board manufacturer for fabrication and assembly, we produce all types of prototypes, and PCBs for short, medium, and long production runs. Using the customer’s design, we can create the layouts by orienting individual parts, produce the PCB, solder and assemble them together, and return finished PCBs to the customer.

We are entirely flexible towards the requirements of the customer. For instance, we can provide only the labor required for assembly of boards, or for partial turnkey assembly, we could purchase the parts for that and supply the labor for assembling them. If required for full turnkey assembly, we provide the design and labor, purchase the parts, and assemble the bare PCBs. We use automated machines for placing components and soldering them. This ensures precision and repeated installation.

Throughout the design and development process, our engineers work with the customer to ensure the product is manufacture able, has excellent quality, and consistency. For instance, we provide assistance for layer stacking, impedance calculations, and design for manufacturability. We also provide automated test systems to make sure everything works according to specifications.

Finally, RushPCB aims to deliver excellent quality printed circuit boards to the customers on time, every time. This makes us the leading Printed Circuit Board manufacturer in the USA.

Essential Factors Affecting the Cost of Printed Circuit Boards Manufactured by Rush PCB Inc.

Written by Rush PCB Inc on . Posted in PCB, PCB Design, PCB Manufacturing

At Rush PCB Inc., the production of printed circuit boards (PCBs) involves so many diverse and varied possibilities that they complicate the process of estimating the factors affecting the cost of manufacturing them. Essentially, the considerations for the cost factor depend majorly on the various production strategies manufacturers use, different production equipment they employ, and the multitude of technologies available to them for creating the final product.

Irrespective of the factors responsible for the cost build up, it is essential to consider control of costs in the early phases of the PCB manufacturing process. This is because the cost of a PCB is designed into it, and it is impossible to reduce it later without re-design. Although additional process steps do add to the associated cost in terms of materials, consumables, process times, waste treatment, and energy, the process cost impacts the PCB price regardless of the manufacturer.

At Rush PCB Inc., costing in PCB fabrication depends on several variables that contribute to it through different percentage factors. The variables include the complexity of the board, the raw materials used for the fabrication, the equipment used, and the overall efficiency of the process. For ease of classification, dividing the cost factors into three categories leads to:

  • Significant cost factors — Category I
  • Important cost factors — Category II
  • Minor cost factors — Category III

It is important to note that important and minor cost factors related to Categories II and III depend on the equipment used for fabrication and are therefore, specific to the manufacturer.

Significant Cost Factors — Category I

Major factors contributing to the cost in category I include:

  • PCB size
  • Yield or effective utilization of material
  • Number of layers or layer count
  • PCB complexity
  • Materials used

PCB Size

This is a simple linear equation with the cost increasing linearly with the size of the PCB.

Yield or Effective Utilization of Material

Unless the unit PCB is of an excessively large size, manufacturers fit several units into a panel. Usually, panels are vendor specific and available in standard sizes such as 18x24”, 18x21”, or 21x24” and so on. Utilization depends on the area of the panel used for the PCBs, with 77% and above qualifying as good utilization. For high volume production of PCBs, panel utilization becomes one of the most critical aspects with respect to PCB cost.

Also Read:  Key Elements of an Ideal PWB Material from Rush PCB Inc.

Number of Layers or Layer Count

This is a simple equation with the cost increasing with the number of layers. Usually, more layers translate into additional costs because of more production steps, more material, and additional production time. However, this is not a linear increase, as converting a single layer PCB to two layers may increase the cost of the PCB by 30-40%, whereas adding two additional layers to a 10-layer PCB might increase the cost only by about 20-30%. This cost factor also depends on the complexity of the PCB design and differs from manufacturer to manufacturer.

The reverse also does not work out linearly. Reducing the layer count does not always reduce the overall cost, as reduction of layer count mostly involves more complex technology and aggressive design practices, both of which affect the yield. However, if the complexity and design remain constant, the change in cost of the PCB depends linearly to the number of its layers.

PCB Complexity

PCB complexity depends on the number of layers and the number of vias on each layer, as this defines the variations of layers where the vias start and stop on, requiring so much more lamination and drilling steps in the PCB manufacturing process. Manufacturers define the lamination process as pressing two copper layers and dielectrics in between adjacent copper layers using heat and pressure to form a multilayer PCB laminate.

As via structures majorly affect the manufacturing process, eminent fabricators such as Rush PCB Inc. optimize costs by using micro-vias and High Density Integration (HDI) technology. Not only does the HDI technology reduce the overall costs by decreasing the number of layers, it also makes the PCBs smaller, lighter, and thinner, while at the same time providing much superior electrical performance.

Material Used

The selection criteria for the materials used for fabricating Printed Circuit Boards depends on several application-based factors, governed mainly by frequency and speed of operation, and the maximum operating temperature.

These factors comprise thermal stability, temperature related reliability, temperature cycle reliability, heat transfer rate, time to delamination, and many others. In fact, the higher the frequency of operation or speed of the signals, more important is the choice of materials for fabrication of the PCB. For instance, compared to the regular Phenolic FR-4 material, use of Polyimide increases the cost by about 3-5 times, but use of PTFE based microwave materials may inflate the costs by nearly 10-50 times.

Important Cost Factors — Category II

Although the cost factors involving category II are greatly dependent on the involved manufacturer, important cost factors can be listed as:

  • Track and gap geometry—thinner is more expensive
  • Control of impedance—additional process steps increase costs
  • Size and count of holes—more holes and smaller diameters drives costs upwards
  • Plugged or filled vias and whether they are copper covered—additional process steps increase costs
  • Copper thickness in the layers—higher thickness means higher costs
  • Surface finish, use of gold and its thickness—Additional material and process steps increases costs
  • Tolerances—tighter tolerances are expensive.

Minor cost factors — Category III

These minor cost factors involving category III are dependent on both, the fabricator and the application of the PCB. They mainly involve:

  • PCB thickness
  • Various surface treatments
  • Solder masking
  • Legend printing
  • PCB performance class (IPC Class II/III etc.)
  • PCB contour—specifically for z-axis routing
  • Side or edge plating, if any

Conclusion

For estimating costs accurately, experts at Rush PCB Inc. recommend taking an existing design scope and making adjustments on the requirements based on estimated technologies. Such estimates offer more relative data points for making any cost per technology decisions. The estimates also prevent later surprises in the process once resources are committed to a design.

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Problems with the Gerber File Format and Solutions

Written by Rush PCB Inc on . Posted in PCB Assembly and component, PCB Design, PCB Manufacturing, Uncategorized

The world over, a majority of designers and fabricators follow the Gerber RS-274X as the de facto standard when designing and fabricating their PCBs. The evidence of its popularity notwithstanding, Gerber has a number of practical limitations. Often, these limitations lead to a variety of problems when fabricating PCBs.

Brief History of the Gerber File Format

Ucamco developed the Gerber file format in the 1960s, when it was the Gerber Systems Corporation, and a leading provider of early photo-plotter systems using numerical controls. Their first format, RS-274D, was a subset of EIA RS-274-D, supporting their vector-based photo-plotters. Widely adopted, RS-247D remained the standard format for vector-based photo-plotters until the 1980s.

Raster scan plotters began replacing vector-based photo-plotters in the 1980s. These newer plotters were bitmap-based, requiring a completely different data format. Consequently, in 1998, Barco ETS, who had acquired Gerber Systems, released a single standard image format, and named it the Extended Gerber or GerberX. This was later renamed as the RS-274X format and is still in use today.

The latest Gerber RS-274X presents a complete image description format. Therefore, the Extended Gerber file holds the complete description of a layer of the PCB, and provides the operator with everything necessary to generate a PCB image, including the definition of any aperture shape. Requiring no external aperture files, painting, or vector-fill, the RS-274X standard specifies all pads and planes clearly and simply. Its simplicity has made it the de facto standard followed by nearly 90% of the world’s PCB designers and fabricators.

Problems with the Gerber File Format

Despite its wide acceptance and use, the RS-274X Gerber file format has its own shortcomings. The trouble is the standard does not address all aspects of fabrication and assembly, as required by the PCB fabricator.

Although Gerber RS-274X is extremely accurate and reliable when rendering images of copper shapes precisely on signal and plane layers, it does not transfer the layer stackup order accurately. Moreover, data sets and information regarding materials, drill data, netlist, pick-and-place data, bill of materials, test point reports, and more need to be generated by separate processes by different utilities. This means, the Gerber RS-274X format is incapable of transferring the complete information from the design domain to the manufacturing domain.

In the absence of a defined layer order being transferred to the manufacturer, fabrication has no way of deciding the order of copper layers and may miss a layer or two altogether. With the layer order missing, the drill data may generate holes relative to an incorrect layout. This mismatch can happen with the entire assembly data, and at all aspects of the fabrication process. Usually, with Gerber RS-274X, there is no defined way a fabricator can know about missing output data, wrong source file version, and these can render boards useless.

Designers usually get over the above shortcomings using a well-maintained design methodology and best practices shared with the fabricators. In general, they utilize Gerber RS-274X with minimum fabrication issues. However, maintaining ideal conditions all the time is difficult, things can slip up, causing problems to the fabricator and assembly houses, and now they have to face the brunt of the responsibility and sort through the issue. This also leads to fabricators and assembly houses being forced to spend a great deal of time and resource in inspecting and verifying the entire data for all incoming jobs, simply to minimize manufacturing issues.

Solutions and Alternatives to the Gerber File Format

Eminent PCB manufacturers such as Rush PCB Inc., eliminate the problems by adopting design transfer standards that addresses all aspects of the fabrication and assembly process. Two new open standards are available, and these enable efficient and accurate data exchange from the PCB designer to the manufacturing fabricators and assemblers. Ucamco administers one of these standards, the Gerber X2, while the IPC Consortium administers the other, the IPC-2581. Both are open standards, free from any proprietary restrictions.

The Gerber X2 File Format

The Gerber X2 is an expanded version of the GerberX format. In addition to the layout image data, Gerber X2 now includes design data as well. The X2 fabrication files now include the board layer order and stackup information that so far, fabricators had to interpret and verify manually. In the same way, a set of drill files is also included within the X2 fabrication files, detailing the location, drill size, plated/non-plated information, and the layer span.

The X2 attribute system qualifies objects with specifications such as file function, part, pad function, and more that add intelligence to the traditional image data improving the automation process. For instance, the file function specifies a file as top copper layer, top solder mask, while part specifies whether the PCB is a single or a panelized array, and pad function defines the pad as belonging to a via, through-hole, SMT, or fiducial. The Gerber X2 format directs all outputs to one single folder.

As the Gerber X2 is both forward and backward compatible with the RS-274X standard, it helps any X2 reader to interpret Gerber RS-274X files correctly. Therefore, fabricators using the Gerber X2 process will have no trouble interpreting legacy fabrication files created in the Gerber RS-274X format and vice versa.

The IPC-2581 File Format

Contributors from a wide range of PCB industry segment initiated, developed, and drove the IPC-2581 standard. These industries included MES, CAD/CAM and PLM vendors, PCB fabricators, contract manufacturers, as well as OEMs.  The IPC-2581 is a single data format and within a single file, contains all aspects of the PCB design, such as layer stackup, materials, assembly, and test details.

With the IPC-2581 standard, the designer can include details of layer stack and information on materials to ensure proper layer order. The standard is suitable for stackups of complex board design such as related to rigid-flex boards, and is capable of handling special materials. It can also include drill and mill data for blind, buried, and filled via types. It also supports information on back drilling, V-grooves, slots, and cavities. For bare board testing, designers can include the net-list as well.

In addition to a complete set of fabrication data, the IPC-2581 can also hold assembly data. Therefore, it can contain not only the pick-and-place information, but also the information on polarity and rotation of a component, enabling support for both stacked and embedded components.

In addition to assembly drawings, the IPC-2581 standard has the capability to generate the documentation for bill of materials and purchasing. Therefore, the standard can tie up with PLM/ERP system data to create links between design and supply chain facilities. The greatest advantage of the IPC-2581 is one single file containing the entire data related to fabrication and assembly.