Contract Electronics Manufacturing and PCB Assembly Blog

Now That's a Fine PC Board Design

Posted by Matthew Turpin on Thu, Sep 04, 2014 @ 07:00 AM

pc board design services

Every high-tech electronic device began with a solid design. Not only does the design process allow engineers to flesh out their many options, but the completed schematic acts as the blueprint for the manufacture of a device, and provides valuable insight for those who must troubleshoot or repair a unit down the road. Because of this, it's extremely important that your board designs are thorough and easy for others in the electronic engineering field to understand and make sense of - especially in cases where you plan to outsource the assembly and manufacture process. To ensure that your project goes off without a hitch, we've written this post to explore the importance of proper electronics board design and how to guarantee that the job is done right. 

The Value of Excellence in Board Design

As an electronics company, your primary goal is to have your boards manufactured to your client's exact specifications. Regardless of whether you're creating the schematics in-house or subbing the work out to a third-party service, you need to have a solid grasp of what superior board design looks like. Those drawing up their own plans will need to ensure that the designs are easy for a contract manufacturer to assess for possible improvements and efficiently assemble each board. Those relying on contracted partners to create schematics will need to be able to evaluate plans to ensure that they live up to project expectations.

5 Easy Tips for Electronics Board Design

By following these five simple tips, you can successfully convey the objectives of your design and develop sophisticated electronics that meet client demands.

Tip #1 - Begin With a Block Diagram

You should always begin the design process with a block diagram that shows the hardware design. Think of this process as similar to putting an outline together for a term paper. This provides a 'bare essentials' overview of your architecture. Not only is the beneficial to you as you move forward with the design process, but it also provides your readers with a reference. The best block diagrams will also include page numbers linking certain parts with specific schematic sections.

Tip #2 - Name Each Net

Some designers might tell you that naming your board's nets isn't necessary, but this isn't the case. Time consuming as it may be, naming the nets and stating their purposes will actually simplify the process of debugging your program and allowing for simulation runs.

Tip #3 - Maintain a Sense of Flowpc board design

One of the biggest problems that designers make is in overlooking the fact that people besides themselves will need to be able to interpret their schematics. As you go about the process, take a step back and look at your work from an outsider's point-of-view. Does everything make logical sense? Does it flow? Creating user-friendly schematics means avoiding shortcuts and shorthands that are difficult for others to follow, and carefully showing how the design is laid out and organized.

Tip #4 - Clear Connectors

Connectors should stand out and be clear to readers. The easier that these connectors are to identify, the easier that they are to follow. One of the best ways to emphasize these points is by ordering pins at these points and clearly identifying each so that, when referenced, readers know exactly which one you are looking for.

Tip #5 - Keep Thorough Notes

Never throw out your notes when designing an electronics board. As readers review your plans down the line, you'll need to be able to provide them with information related to your thoughts as you created your design. As an example, they might need insights about why you included a certain component, or why another was excluded. Without thorough notes, you might not be able to answer these questions which could slow down the manufacture of your boards.

 Don't let an inadequate board design hold up your project. Care and precision will pay off in the long-run.

Electronic Interconnect Cabling Whitepaper from Zentech

Topics: engineering design services, design services, designing processes

PCB Prototype Assembly Creates Unique Boards

Posted by Laura Austin on Tue, Feb 19, 2013 @ 07:00 AM

If you want to put a quality product on store shelves, it's usually not a good idea to go with the very first design your engineers come up with, right? New product ideas have to be tested and refined before they start running down the assembly line, or else you may be facing very costly post-sale support problems afterwards.PCB-prototype-assembly

This is an issue that's been a growing concern among those who outsource electronics manufacturing to China. Most (although not all) of these firms only provide manufacturing services, so it's entirely on you to provide specifications for a quality device and to hope they are able to deliver it. If the specs were flawed, or if counterfeit parts sabotage it, there will be little you can do about it.

The alternative, of course, is to use a more robust electronics manufacturer who offers PCB prototype assembly services. A small investment here ahead of time can often save you a lot further down the road.  

The Benefits of PCB Prototype Assembly 

Think of it as an insurance policy: If you spend a bit more money up-front, you'll save yourself a lot of hassle later on. After all, these days, you can't risk your company's reputation on dodgy electronics. Once a firm becomes known for poor products, it can be extremely hard to undo the damage without a full (and costly) rebranding effort.

With PCB prototype assembly services, you get the breathing room you need to thoroughly test your design before committing to a production run.

An experienced electronics manufacturing service firm can often begin by improving your design right from the start. Many initial designs are overly-complex, or fail to take advantage of the latest manufacturing technologies on offer. Allowing the manufacturer to look over your design and suggest changes can very often result in simplified designs that reduce component use, making them both cheaper and more reliable.

You'll want a firm that takes a top-to-bottom view of your product aimed at enhancing its entire life cycle, which looks at everything from the big picture to the underlying circuitry wiring. In some cases, you may even find a manufacturer who is comfortable working with software and algorithm development as well as hardware, allowing you to revise and refine
PCB-prototypeyour products' firmware as you perfect the physical design.

Testing services are another important part of the PCB prototype assembly process. The most robust of these failure-test your prototype both as a whole, as well as on a component level.
Further, putting your prototypes through “stress tests” doesn't simply make for a more reliable product: Such testing makes it safer for use, and helps ensure you meet all regulatory requirements in the countries you do business in.

Finally, if your interest is in having green services, look for a manufacturer who can help you meet RoHs requirements, or even beat them, to produce a sustainable product. Additionally, producing green-friendly electronics makes for an excellent selling point. People are worried about our impact on the environment, and being seen as doing your part will help your outreach.

PCB Prototype Assembly Builds Better Boards

Simply put, prototyping services help you create a better product. You'll be able to put items on shelves which are less expensive, more reliable, safer, and more compliant with health and environmental regulations.

Given that your reputation really is all you have on the Internet, why gamble with untested products? Put a little more money into prototyping, and you'll reap the benefits throughout your products' entire life cycle.

Topics: electronics manufacturing, pcb assembly, design services, PCB prototype, pcb prototype assembly, eco friendly products

Precision A Hallmark In PCB Design And Manufacture

Posted by Laura Austin on Tue, Jan 22, 2013 @ 07:00 AM

For businesses looking to outsource their PCB design and manufacture services, there are a lot of options out there at the moment. The overseas market is still flooded with numerous low cost/low quality manufacturers but their appeal is beginning to wane. Companies are finally starting to realize that with most of these super-cheap foreign manufacturing centers, quality and precision are hard commodities to come by.

However, the market is - as always - adjusting around us whether we like it or not. The demand for precision-tooled PCB design and manufacturing has made reshoring an increasingly popular option. Why? Because you need quality products to survive in today's market, quality you're unlikely to find overseas.

Consumers Are Savvier Than Ever

The Internet has led to a revolution in how consumers buy things, and all manufacturers can do is try to keep up. According to this recently-released study, nearly half of consumers expect to use a mobile device in conjunction with their shopping – looking up deals andPCB-Design-And-Manufacture reviews – meaning that if a product is shoddy, they'll know about it.

Further, while only about 1/5 of consumers say they're out to buy the bestproduct, regardless of price, take a look at consumers' wish lists for this holiday season. The most commonly-cited brands – including Canon, Apple, and Sony – come from companies who are all known for the high quality of their products.

Combine that with their increasing willingness to skip in-person shopping altogether and just do it online, and consumers are sending a clear message to consumers: They have the intel, they have the power, and they're going to use it to get the best products with the best prices.

You Need Precision in Your PCB Design and Manufacture

In short, the days of the consumer electronics boom are just about over. Everyone's lives are filled with gadgets today – for better or worse – and consumers can afford to be more discerning. That's why you need good engineering design services and PCB design and manufacture services aimed not at producing products at the cheapest rate, but at creating affordable devices that still meet high standards of quality and precision.

Look for a manufacturer with:

  • In-house design services, which can often optimize your designs to require fewer components, giving you higher quality with lower per-unit prices.

  • An emphasis on high complexity orders: Modern facilities that can handle a higher range of models and customization is going to have the facilities necessary to meet whatever demands you have for your product's production.

  • Robust testing services, both before and during production, to ensure you don't commit to selling a product before you can be certain it will stand up to expected use without any design flaws surprising you after the fact.PCB-design

  • Database-driven supply chain managementensuring that only genuine, authentic components make their way into your products. Counterfeit electronics are becoming a serious concern, and much of that is due to unsupervised foreign manufacturers cutting corners and pocketing the difference.

  • A full range of standards and certifications, demonstrating their recognized proficiency in fields such as aerospace and medical manufacturing, giving you more confidence that their work is of the highest quality.

Precision and quality should be the watchwords when you search for PCB design and manufacture services. Don't gamble your company's future on the lowest bidder. Spending a little extra up-front to produce a product you can be proud of will do far more to assure your company's long-term returns.

Topics: pcb design, design services, supply chain management, PCB Design And Manufacture, PCB manufacture

Why Do I Need a PCB Assembly Service?

Posted by Laura Austin on Sat, Nov 03, 2012 @ 07:00 AM

Here's a question we get asked more often than we might otherwise expect: "Why do I need a PCB assembly service?"

Printed Circuit Board assembly is one of the mainstays of consumer electronics today, although that's only been the case for the last 30-40 years. Thanks to the development of surface mount technology and other advanced production techniques, it's now become more simple for most companies to outsource their jobs to a PCB assembly service than to do it in house.

None the less, it's good to review why things have developed this way. So let's take a look atPCB assembly some of the major reasons a manufacturer should look at using PCB assembly services to aid in their production.

The Advantages of a PCB Assembly Service

1. Doing it in-house requires a lot of expensive investments. It used to be that everyone did their own electronics manufacturing, but that requires a huge capital investment in production lines and equipment, not to mention manpower and expertise. For most companies, there's little foreseeable ROI on an investment like that, even looking years down the line.

2. Economies of scale work. Another primary benefit of outsourcing your PCB assembly is that allows you to leverage the investments other companies have made into production technology. A large, dedicated electronics assembly plant will be able to produce more units, more quickly, and at a lower cost than you could with your own facilities.

3. Design services are often part of the deal. While this isn't true of all PCB services, many offer design services to help you refine your designs. Expert PCB manufacturers can often engineer superior solutions and help you produce better products, and more cheaply.

4. True expertise. Most major electronics assembly companies have years or decades of experience in mass-producing electronics. That's expertise that would be incredibly costly if you went looking to a specialist to oversee your own operations, but comes relatively cheap when you go with an outsourced assembly firm.

5. Guaranteed quality control. Another major issue with self-assembly of electronics components is QC. On top of the production facilities, do you have the resources to also PCB assembly servicecheck and guarantee the quality of the PCBs that you produce? Top electronics manufacturers have extensive QC procedures and can provide top quality components.

And all this adds up to one key point:

If you don't trust the components, you can't trust the final product.

Any electronics company with any regards for its future has to consider its own reputation to be extremely important. People today can use the Internet to instantly research your company as well as all of your competitors. If you become known for putting out low-quality products, it can become a nearly insurmountable problem.

The best way to have reliable final products is to ensure that reliable components go into their manufacture. Besides improving your own products, this will also aid your engineers as well. After all, if something does go wrong, knowing that all your components were created to top-line specs will make it easier for them to find the actual source of the problem.

So, in short, why do you need a PCB assembly service? For the lower price, for the higher quality, and for the peace of mind that comes with putting out a reliable product. There is simply little reason today to do your own manufacturing in-house, and plenty of reason to look outside your company instead.

What convinced you to hire a PCB assembly service for the first time? Was it worth it?

Topics: electronics manufacturing, electronic manufacturing company, pcb assembly service, pcb assembly, printed circuit board, electronic assembly, electronic PCB assembly, Contract Electronics Assembly, design services, assembly electronic, electronics assembly companies, quality control, quality PCB control