A Beginners Guide to Printed Circuit Boards

pcb services Are you a new electronics appliance and equipment manufacturer and are looking to give your products a big boost? Then you need to know about printed circuit boards. Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs) are integral in our highly digitized world. They connect different electronic components in a device. A PCB consists of a substrate, electronic components, and copper traces. The base of the PCB itself is non-conductive but copper lines are etched on this base so as to electrically connect the different components. PCBs ensure precision and high-speed connectivity while being rugged in nature.Types of Printed Circuit Boards:

The different types of PCBs are listed below:


1. Single Sided Board: This kind of PCB, as the name suggests, has a single substrate. The electronic components are mounted on one side and the copper traces are etched on the other. The simplest of its kind, single-sided PCBs are used when the circuitry is simple and the budget is low.

2. Double Sided Board: Like the single-sided board, this PCB consists of a single substrate. The difference lies in the electronic components and copper traces, which are mounted and etched on both sides of the board. Thus, the number of components and conductor lines are much higher in a double sided board than in single-sided boards. This type of PCB uses through-hole and surface-mount construction to assemble the different components.

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Assembly Problems Faced with High Speed PCBs

High speed printed circuit boards have grown both in terms of popularity and manufacturing. These PCBs are extremely complex and utilize various integrated components. So it may not be surprising to hear that such PCB products do face challenges when it comes to PCB assembly. Up-to-date knowledge of the problems faced by high speed PCBs can prove to be beneficial in terms of PCB manufacturing and assembly.

High Speed PCB Assembly Problems

There are many factors that can contribute to the failing of a high speed PCB. Some of the reasons are given below.

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The Tools Used for PCB Designing and Layout

The success of Printed Circuit Board (PCB) prototyping and manufacturing takes place mainly due to the design process. The PCB layout and design process is essential as that allows for the creation of an error-free prototype and a smooth manufacturing process. But what sort of tools are utilized to accomplish the design and layout process? Let’s find out.

The Basic PCB Design and Layout Process

Before we get down to the tools, it is important to have a clear idea of the basic PCB design process.

  • Schematic design creation
  • Schematic design capture
  • Determination of PCB template, card dimensions, heat sinks, and fixed components
  • Deciding on PCB stack layers
  • Line impedance determination
  • Component placement
  • Signal traces routing
  • Gerber file generation

PCB Design Tools and Software

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Why PCB Manufacturing Companies Prefer In-house PCB Prototyping

Prototyping is essential to any company that wishes to create its own line of branded products. It is also an important process for PCB companies that design new PCBs for their clients. PCB prototyping is important because it is one of the processes that affects the company’s bottom line.

There is a debate that goes on in the industry whether PCB prototyping should be kept in-house or whether it should be outsourced to a contractor. Earlier, the answer would have been mostly the latter. However, times are changing. Today, PCB manufacturers prefer opting for in-house prototyping.

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What is a PCB Layout Software and Why is it Important for Electrical Engineers?

An electrical engineer requires the usage of PCB layout software after the stage when he finishes designing and prototyping a PCB project. The software is used in order to test, inspect and construct a circuit before finally engraving the same into a circuit board.

The various benefits of using PCB layout software

An electrical engineer or a PCB designer basically depends upon PCB layout software if he needs to conduct few tasks. This include addition and removal of circuit components, changing or deviation of voltages and resistance of various parts of the PCBs, altering circuit paths and creating a working model of the PCB before finalizing on the design.It is crucial to create an efficient and intelligent PCB design that would be in sync with the circuit schematics, and this is where PCB layout software plays an important role.

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The Importance of PCB Testing for Mass Production of PCBs

Printed circuit boards are considered to be one of the most important elements of electronic devices as PCBs must perform precisely to make the electronic device work with accuracy and efficiency. Printed circuit boards direct and regulate the transition of electronic current through the laminated sheets and etched copper pathways, which in turn allow the electronic devices to operate accurately. The necessity of PCB testing is evident by the fact that even the slightest of fault or error in any of the PCB components can cause to major quality issue in the device.

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The Changing Times of the Printed Circuit Board Manufacturing Industry

Expenditure is one of the most important factors when it comes to printed circuit board manufacturing. It is this important factor that led to the outsourcing boom in the PCB industry. Lately, there have been some immense changes taking place in the industry worldwide. These changes are directly related to cost competitiveness and the creation of quality enhanced products.

The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), a global management consultant firm, recently released research on dramatic changes taking place worldwide in terms of global PCB manufacturing cost competitiveness. According to the research, perception regarding nations that manufacture PCBs (both low and high cost) has changed radically, thanks to changes in global economies, labor, and infrastructure.

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Best Practices for SMT Design and Manufacturing

The increasing level of automation in PCB manufacturing has led to the production of extremely fine pitch devices. Surface Mount Technology (SMT) design has been a huge catalyst for this result. Nonetheless, every PCB manufacturing process is bound to come across some limitations in terms of prototyping, mechanics, or manufacturing. For this reason, it is always important to ensure that certain best practices be maintained during the PCB design and manufacturing processes.

SMT Best Practices

The best practices given below are used to ensure that a SMT device can be manufactured.

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How PCB Prototyping Can Help Electronic Businesses Save Big Finances?

Before going ahead and placing order for a high volume PCB for the next circuit design, it is wise on the part of electronic manufacturers and businesses to first order a prototype or a small batch of PCB. The purpose behind doing so is to make those prototypes or samples go through testing in order to detect any potential errors which may hinder or interrupt the production during the final stage.

This is what the PCB prototype method of manufacturing is all about. It tests the product beforehand to give the makers an assurance that they won’t be out of huge finances, in case something goes wrong during final phase of production and manufacturing. Any technical trouble or problems with the schematics during the end phase can cost huge finances, especially if the assembly is going to take place in-house.  That is why companies prefer to outsource prototyping to specialized companies before ordering larger volumes of circuit boards.

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Why Outsourcing is Preferred by Most of the Companies for the Designing of PCB?

In today’s time, electronic manufacturing companies prefer outsourcing the designing of PCB. There are many reasons to support this context, which are as follows:

  • Companies save on finances- If they don’t outsource, they would have to set up a research and development department and hire designing professionals for the same.
  • The service providers are professionals with years of experience in surface mount PCB design services. Therefore, the electronic company need not require understanding the norms, standards and laws associated with this area of work.
  • Designing samples go through various testing procedures that helps to make it sound feasible and of best quality standard.
  • Time utilized by electronic company in designing and preparing of PCB’s gets saved, as right from gathering of material, designing and testing of PCB all things are carried out by the outsourced PCB manufacturing company.
  • The product is checked thoroughly before it is sent to the electronic company. This helps to ensure client about the feasibility of product.
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