Contract Electronics Manufacturing and PCB Assembly Blog

Top 5 Design Mistakes Affecting PCB Assembly

Posted by Laura Austin on Tue, Sep 25, 2012 @ 07:00 AM

Whether manufacturing for a large multinational tech company or a small electronicspcb assembly company, PCB assembly can be riddled with numerous challenges. Effective assembly requires smooth collaboration between designers, fabricators and manufacturers in order to deliver a high quality circuit board to the market. Mistakes made in design can hold grave consequences to the whole organization, especially where the design failures result in substandard products reaching the market.

The mistakes can be both technical design flaws or operational flaws in the controls put in place in the assembly process. Below are the top five mistakes that you should look out for in PCB assembly:

1. Flex-Cracking
On the technical side, flex-cracking refers to excessive bending of the PCB under a ceramic chip capacitor. The ceramic chip capacitor cannot withstand excessive stress due to its brittle nature. For adequate electrical performance, some printed circuit boards will require large capacitors. Stress on the capacitor can result from accidental dropping or placement of excessive weight on it at any stage of PCB assembly. The type of ceramic chip capacitor that you use in the design stage should be able to handle the stress of assembly and it should not easily crack. You could respond to issues on flex-cracking by using a shorter capacitor or you could replace the capacitor with a smaller unit which has the same capacitance and voltage. 

pcb2. Failure to Adequately Gauge the Performance Environment
One of the most common mistake made by PCB designers is failing to cater for the environment in which the board will operate during the design stage. Some companies will exclude evaluation of the environment as a cost-cutting measure and designers may even be required to closely consider material costs in their designs.
Environmental factors such as: temperature, humidity and even forces such as G-force act on the PCB on a constant basis. If the materials used and the design specifications in terms of size and ability to handle these conditions are not adequate, the resulting circuit board will always fail. Depending on where it is placed, such failure could be catastrophic to the company.

3. Inadequate Communications
PCB assembly will often involve a number of participants. There is the designers, the fabricators and the Electronic Manufacturing Services (EMS) provider. It is often the case that the design-house outsources manufacturing to a different company for business reasons such as lower costs and economies of scale. The different participants need to be in constant communication for smooth delivery of quality products. Mistakes such as failure by the designers to send the preliminary component placement with the assembly house in the initial stages could greatly affect the delivery times. Each company schedules its work toinadequate communication create the most profits for their organization and communication ensures that none of the participants suffers from the other's policies.

4. Lack of Design Reviews
For companies that do not have well defined rules on the flow of work from initial product assembly specification, through design to delivery of the final product, there may be problems in design reviews. Whether the PCB is custom made for a particular client or for the mass market, having the client or your marketing personnel present during these reviews guarantees that the design does not veer away from what the client and the marketers had in mind when specifying the product. Design reviews should be incorporated as part of quality control procedures.

5. Lack of Design Back-ups 
A very common mistake in any type of design work is failing to back-up the copies of your work. Imagine working for months on a new product and then loosing all your work due to a computer crashing. Every organization should implement data back-ups as part of the PCB assembly process. Even designers who work from home should back-up their copies on a spare drive to save themselves the trouble of having to redo the design from scratch. You could also explore safe online back-up options.

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Topics: pcb assembly, PCB, technical design, design review, flex cracking, ceramic chip capacitor, performance environment, inadequate communication, EMS provider, design back up

Integrating Design and Electronics Manufacturing to Reduce Cost

Posted by Laura Austin on Wed, Sep 05, 2012 @ 07:00 AM

Integrating Engineering Design and Electronics Manufacturing to Reduce Cost

Ask any electronic design and manufacture expert on the best a solution to meet your high reliability manufacturing and engineering requirements for your business at an affordable cost, and probably the first answer you will get is contract Manufacturing and Engineering Services from zentech.

Zentech offers broad supply chain solutions to markets with both high complexity and reliability manufacturing requirements. As well, design engineering teams offer a complete range of embedded software and hardware services such as product design, support, compliance engineering and testing of life sustaining engineering at an affordable cost.

Zentech provides customized and flexible solutions for all stages of your product life cycle aselectronic-design-manufacturer well as direct repair and customer ship and return depot. The skilled technicians can quickly help you troubleshoot problems eliminating the need for costly warranty replacements. Additionally your manufactured products will be supported to offer an inclusive integrated solution.

Zentech’s electronic design and manufacture provides you with Functional Test and ICT Services for everything you want; some of these services include testing and troubleshooting complex analog, RF and digital products. Additionally, in order to offer customized testing solutions by partnering with local test houses to help you take advantage of existing tooling or set test plans inexpensively.

The electronic design and manufacture team at Zentech has the capability to develop a test plan and strategy for your product in addition to helping you build fixtures to your requirements. The distinguishing feature about Zentech solutions is that all defects identified by technicians during the process of testing are recorded in a database for trend analysis and reporting. In other words, you be helped to customize your program reporting format without increasing your cost.

Zentech provides a wide array of design services incorporating the whole product life cycle such as:

•         System Design

•         Product Requirements Review

•         Circuit Design

•         Algorithm Development

•         Embedded Software (Firmware)

•         Test Strategy

•         Documentation Creation and Management

•         Mechanical Design

•         RoHs Compliance

•         Sustaining Engineering

Making use of dedicated in-house resources for hardware engineering, embedded softwaredesign-system development and mechanical engineering, Zentech customize solutions to meet the requirements of your program.  

Engineers at Zentech have created thousands of products and have a wide range of technology and industry experience. This depth and level of experience helps to make sure that your technical resources are maximally used as intended and that your program has been delivered on time and within set budget.

Zentech as well offers a wide array of manufacturing services specializing in high-reliability and high-complexity program requirements. The services include:

•         Prototype and Volume Production

•         Design for Manufacturability

•         PC Board Assembly

•         Chassis and Box Build

•         Lot Control and Traceability

•         System Integration

•         Test Services

•         Field Service Repair and Return

Zentech employs controls and equipment to capitalize on the latest test and assembly technology that will keep on the edge in your industry. In addition, systems, processes and equipments are maximally utilized for flexibility in the development of complex products that have high-mix or medium-volume requirements.

Zentech has re-engineered many customer designs on top of designing for manufacturing on its in-house engineering projects. All-inclusive set of design guidelines employed at the company reduces costs and improve the quality of products through:

•         Component selection for process enhancement

•         Component reduction

•         Construction analysis and PCB layout

reduce-costIn fact, for one who is willing to contract electronic design and manufacture form Zentech is that, its key strength is its capacity to engineer and manufacture/produce electronics components or parts for a wide variety of customers, comprising medical diagnostics makers, telecommunications companies and defense contractors at reduced costs.

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Topics: electronics manufacturing, contract manufacturing, manufacturing services, electronic design and manufacture, contract electronics manufacturing, electronics industry, SMT Assembly, Zentech technologies, electronic parts, design review, electronic design, manufacturing, engineering design