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)?”
Printed circuit board (PCB) designers often find themselves at odds with their purchasing and marketing departments after a design goes out for bids and comes back with a larger than expected price tag. Once the source of the high cost is identified, the questions fly, the fingers point, and the nerves fray.
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.
Solving solderability issues for printed circuit boards (PCBs) can be a real hassle. Nothing is more frustrating than having lined up all your materials for an assembly, only to start running the package through reflow and discover that the solder paste is wetting poorly to the pads. Immediately, the profile is checked to confirm proper parameters.
For customers and suppliers along the PCB manufacturing process, non-conformances will, unfortunately, happen from time to time. A non-conformance consists of receiving an order for printed circuit boards that do not meet your specifications or industry (IPC) standards. While dealing with these issues is obviously essential, the solution is sometimes not obvious and can put on-time delivery to your customer at risk. It is imperative that your circuit board supplier can deliver conforming product as soon as possible, which means having the procedures to get there.
Tariffs and trade with China has been a hot topic in the news recently. The tariffs impacting the steel and automobile industries have been widely covered but there are many additional industries that could potentially feel the effects of these tariffs, including our own.
In front-end engineering, we must gather as much manufacturing information as possible from the printed circuit board data we receive. This includes customer service notes, customer emails, and the general spec, if available. Usually there is enough information to release a printed circuit board (PCB) package to manufacturing. However, I have found many gray areas that haunt our engineering department.
As today’s printed circuit boards (PCBs) become smaller, they use fewer and fewer through hole components. It is increasingly difficult to justify allocating precious space for relatively large plated through component holes and their accompanying lands. Instead, it is necessary to use surface mounted components wherever possible. As surface mount technology becomes increasingly prevalent, the majority of the plated through holes on most modern PCB designs end up being vias.
Among the most common questions printed circuit board suppliers receive are those dealing with production capabilities. Customers often suspect that they are about to design-in a feature which may be either at or outside their fabricator’s limits. Fearing that their non-standard feature may add cost to their product, they inquire to find out just how much pain they are about to cause.