Manufacturing Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs) is an intricate process that requires the right balance of attention, organization, and technology. The process can seem daunting, but with a little forethought and planning, it can be made as simple as possible.
Here are some common mistakes pointed out by FS Tech that you’ll see beginners make when manufacturing PCBs:
PCB layout mistakes
When PCB layout is fraught with mistakes, it is often because there was not enough attention paid to planning the layout or the layout was done haphazardly. Mistakes in layout often occur because the layout requirements were not understood. If a layout is done without understanding what the requirements are, there is a high likelihood of making a mistake.
A layout mistake can be as simple as a misplaced net, or it can be an entire net that is wrong. A misplaced net means the path of the copper or copper traces is different than what was planned. This means that the net may not be able to carry the desired signal, may short, or have the wrong impedance.
A bad net can also lead to a bad interconnection, called a breakage. A breakage is any imperfection in the solder joint between two PCB pieces. A breakage can cause a circuit to malfunction, or a circuit may be damaged by the breakage.
Incorrect PCB production configuration
When the PCB production configuration is incorrect, it can greatly affect the time and cost to manufacture a PCB. Every PCB layout is done on a computer, and this is the configuration that is printed onto the PCB substrate. A production configuration is the grid system and the actual placement of components.
If a configuration is incorrect or the grid system is not properly set up, the printed circuit board will not be able to function properly. A production configuration makes up the blueprint of the circuit boards layout and it is critical that it be accurate.
No quality assurance during manufacture
Quality assurance is an important process during PCB manufacturing. When there is no quality assurance during manufacture, defects can crop up, including bad boards and broken boards. During manufacturing, every PCB will go through quality assurance. In this process, all of the components on the PCB are checked for defects, including the solder joints.
If a component contains a defect, the whole PCB will be rejected. During manufacture, it is important to have an inspector be present for every layer of the PCB that is printed. It is also important to have a quality assurance person to be present for every PCB production run.
No quality assurance during manufacture is one of the most common problems when it comes to PCB manufacturing. No quality assurance during manufacture can mean a number of things. The most common type of no quality assurance during manufacture is that there is not a required level of inspection.
Poor soldering practice.
Purchasing and assembling components is one thing, but they must then be properly soldered and connected together to function. If bad soldering techniques are used, or no soldering practice is used, the risk is that bad connections will be made. Bad connections can lead to breakages, short circuits, and poor performance of the circuit board.
The risk of bad soldering practice is usually detected during inspection. During inspection, the inspector will look for defects and the lack of proper soldering. The inspector will notice that a joint is not tight, the solder is not properly flowing, or there are breakages in the joint.
Inspecting the solder joints reveals a lot about the soldering practice. If the solder joints are not tight, the flow of solder is uneven, or there is breakages in the joint, then it is a good indicator that the soldering is not up to standards.
Bad PCB assembly practices.
Every PCB needs to be properly emplaced and connected to the components. If assembly practices are not up to standards, or components are not properly connected, then the risk is that the assembly will fail. By assembly practices, we mean the way components are placed on the PCB.
Each component must be carefully inspected for defects, such as being bent into the proper shape. Components must be aligned so that they are properly placed on the PCB, and soldering is an important part of this process. Bad PCB assembly practices can be detected during inspection.
Inspectors look for components that are not properly aligned, components that are not aligned with other components on the PCB, components that are not properly soldered, and components that are too close together. During inspection, defects are detected and the assembly process can be improved to reduce the likelihood of future defects.
PCB material selection > PCB thickness>
The material used for the PCB can make a difference in the cost of manufacturing and in the quality of the finished product. Many of these issues are mitigated when the right PCB material is selected. If the PCB material is not selected properly, the PCB will suffer from defects, such as a bad finish or incorrect PCB thickness. The PCB thickness is the thickness of the PCB material.
It is important to select the right PCB thickness. PCB thicknesses are measured in mils, which is thousandths of an inch. The most common PCB thicknesses are 0.1, 0.25, 0.5, 0.75, 1, and 2. It is important to select the PCB thickness that is right for the application. The thickness of a PCB can have a big impact on the cost of the PCB and on the finished product.
It is important to select the correct PCB thickness that is right for the application. A thicker PCB will cost more because it has a higher material cost, but it will also last longer because it is thicker and will not flex as much. A thinner PCB, on the other hand, will cost less because it has a lower material cost, but will most likely have less lifespan. It is important to determine what is more important for the PCB application.
Too many beginners rush into manufacturing PCBs without taking the time to understand the process or what they are getting into. They may make mistakes with the layout, the production configuration, the material selection, or the PCB thickness.
They may also choose to overlook quality assurance during manufacture, poor soldering practices, or bad PCB assembly practices. The good news is that these mistakes can be easily avoided by taking the time to plan ahead, understand the process, and follow best practices. Once these issues have been addressed, manufacturing PCB PCBs can be made as simple as possible. Learn more…