When I think of the song, “Through the Years” by Kenny Rogers from 1981 (played at my high school graduation in 1982), I wouldn’t have imagined I would still be in the printed circuit board (PCB) industry. Yes, 1982! Wow. There are several nostalgic “things” about the time spent in the industry that still remind me of my hometown, family, friends, the U.S., my first real job doing something I had never heard of, hoping to make ends meet.
In 1913, the comic strip (which then led to the phrase of the same name) “Keeping Up with the Joneses” was brought to life in print. Although that comic strip ended in 1940, let’s face it, in every aspect of the phrase, it is still in practice today. In business and as consumers, we look ahead to what is next. From a freshly opened new cell phone or television, we are already counting the days until the next rendition is available.
As printed circuit board (PCB) technology has been on a steady incline for many years, the main focus has been on what else can we make this part do. Add more layers, decrease circuit widths, add more components, buried vias, blind vias, control the impedance – the list of changes in technology is lengthy. As a manufacturer of PCBs, we see the finished design ready to go to production, but is it? Often, we look at a received customer data production and think, “can this part be produced?”
As costs of materials, freight, and labor rise it has become imperative to seek out alternative ways to save costs in the manufacturing process. With traditional means of saving no longer as viable, we now must be more creative and specific when we’re asked, “what can I do to lower the cost of my printed circuit board (PCB)?”
While gold plating is frequently used for printed circuits boards (PCBs), selecting the most useful gold PCB surface finish can be somewhat more of a mystery. Understanding the different compositions and practical uses of gold finishes such as ENIG, ENEPIG, and gold fingers can help you find the right finish to match your circuit board needs.
The process of v-scoring has been used for many years in the production of printed circuit boards (PCBs). As PCB production technology rapidly advances, it is important to understand the most current PCB scoring guidelines to follow and how they may have changed from what you previously used.
Stop and think of the role colors play in our daily lives for a moment. Colors can influence everything from what you wear to the car you buy. Colors can trigger emotions, memories, even hunger. Certainly colors and patterns matter to companies advertising and selling products. Communicating with customers in the manufacturing world about selecting an exact color, however, has proven challenging enough as to require a particular system, known as the Pantone Matching System.
Early on in the printed circuit board (PCB) industry, "quick turn PCB" was a very relative term. Purchase orders were faxed, confirmed with a phone call, and lead time was open for discussion. Quick turn PCBswere 7-10 days, maybe as low as 5-days for a fast PCB manufacturer. A 2-day PCB quick turn was a very rare order which designated a person to move through production from process to process, bumping every other board from the line.
Hot Air Solder Leveling (HASL) has always been the main staple of PCB surface finishes. In the late 1980s, 60/40 tin-lead reflow started to phase out of processes and was replaced with Hot Air Solder Leveling. HASL finish, the long running reliable surface finish, is still used today in military, aerospace, medical, and other applications.
When it comes to manufacturing, time is of the essence. Worries about how fast your printed circuit board (PCB) order will arrive and whether it's on time is largely in the hands of the PCB manufacturer, but what can you do to to ensure the process moves as quickly as possible?
Choosing to work with a high quality quick turn PCB services supplier is obviously the first step. As the oldest existing printed circuit board supplier in the United States, not only can we help you construct highly reliable custom products, but we can give you the tips you need to ensure your PCB orders won’t get delayed.