Printed Circuit Boards or PCBs are electronic components which are used to piece other electronic components together. The production of PCB is a delicate work and in order to be successful, you must not make a lot of mistakes.
The electrical connection between the components must be perfect in order for everything to work properly. The small design errors are common in PCB manufacturing, but if you are able to minimize these errors, you will be able to up your production and have a more profitable business.
What constitutes as a mistake in a PCB assembly business? In the following article we will explore some common beginner mistakes that occur in the PCB manufacturing process and discuss how you can avoid them.
1. Choosing Wrong Designing Tools
Having the right tools for the job is crucial. This is one of the first things that you need to consider, especially if you are starting a PCB design business. Choosing wrong tools and machines will result in delayed time in creation of the design and it will increase your manufacturing costs significantly.
Not only will you have to replace the tools that aren’t functioning properly, you will need to set up the new ones as well. Therefore, you can use valuable time and money.
Before you set out to purchase tools and machines, make sure you see what you need. If this is too expensive for you to secure your own PCB assembly line, you can always visit places such as vinatronic.com that provide PCB services of all sorts. You can always work with them on your PCB design or see how they set up their business. This can help you finding the right tools and machines that will allow you to do the job correctly.
Keep in mind that some of these things are super expensive, but you shouldn’t hesitate when buying these tools. They will last for years with proper maintenance.
2. Copper Thickness
You do need to have the right machines and tools for PCB assembly, but you also need to select the proper materials. One of the common beginner mistakes is choosing an inappropriate copper thickness. Usually, designers select one ounce of copper thickness but that fails to withstand the plating in holes. You need to be much more specific when you are choosing copper thickness and to have a successful design, you should go between 1 to 2 ounces per square feet.
Depending on the product, the designers need to do the measurements correctly and have the specific number here. However, this is something to keep in mind when producing PCBs.
3. Always Have Backup Measurements
In PCB assembly, you will be using a lot of data and different software and programs. The way to be successful and run a successful organization is to keep everything neatly organized. You need to make sure that you save data and measurements regularly so that you don’t lose something.
For example, the EDA software is used across the PCB manufacturing industry and it is made for more complex designs. However, this tool isn’t perfect and you may have some unsaved data. All you have to do to avoid this problem is to check if your data gets saved commonly. When you create save points, you don’t have to worry about the entire line going corrupt. You can notice that something is wrong immediately and correct it. Otherwise, it may take you a while to notice from which point on the data has been unsaved.
4. Proper Communication
Designing PCB is a delicate task and circuit designers need to have enough time and freedom that is required to complete designs. The more pressure you add to your staff members the more mistakes will occur.
Therefore, having a proper communication with your designers is crucial. Finding the balance between high productivity and high quality of work with enough free time, rest and job satisfaction is crucial for everyone.
If you put too much pressure on your designers, they will either make mistakes or quit the job eventually. However, if they have a lot of free time, they will not be productive and you will be losing money.
This job requires high focus and attention to details. Perhaps the best solution is to give your designers enough freedom to take breaks whenever they feel like it, as long as they hit the weekly or monthly goals. Sometimes, they may not be able to perform well on a daily basis and the production over some time is what counts.
5. Inadequate layout
As the technology advances the smaller and smaller PCBs are used. This makes the job of the designers more complicated than ever because they need to fit the components within the right distance for them to work. In case of an insufficient layout, the printed circuit board may not be functional due to connection issues.
How can you solve this problem? Different techniques are used for different layouts and it is essential to know which one to use and when. This is why having skilled designers on your team that are satisfied with the work is essential.
6. Reliance on Automatic Routing
So far, we’ve discussed some complex PCB designs, but the mistakes are usually made on simple designs. Because of the simplicity, the designers don’t pay too much attention to it and they let the machine take care of the route. However, automatic routing occupies more space and creates holes which are larger than you would create with manual routing. This can increase the production costs, which means that you will earn less money.
Once this process repeats itself, you will be losing money without even knowing it. Therefore, it is essential to have the simple design done with manual routing and use automatic routing only when necessary.
These 6 mistakes are quite common for beginners in the printed circuit board manufacturing industry. Luckily, it only takes focus and attention to avoid most of these. Keep in mind that if you do the job properly, you will be much more profitable.