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There is one football field of wires that sits rather comfortably in that mobile phone of yours. But, wait, where are all these wires? Enter the Printed Circuit Board.
Printed Circuit Boards or PCBs are integral to electronics, and they come in a whole variety of shapes and designs. They provide structure, friendly, and neatly organized homes for all the components, and they also connect the components using a vast labyrinth of over 100 meters of copper wires in connecting a dot-like fashion.
However, PCB designing is no child’s play. It is a valuable skill that takes years to master the craft completely. With the arrival of advanced technology in PCB manufacturing and prototyping, the days we spend time fiddling around breadboards are long gone. Software such as Allegro and Altium have made PCB designing simpler and less time-consuming, but even a specialist PCB designer needs to follow some guidelines to become the best PCB Design Supplier.
Printed Circuit Boards come in all shapes and sizes according to the need of the product. PCBs have multi-layered mounted schemes ranging from 2 to 50 layers. Despite all these varieties in the appearance of a PCB, there are some basic must follow guidelines.
Whoever said that "Rules are meant to be broken" was not a PCB designer, We assure you. Because before anything, a PCB design supplier must establish some ground rules for designing the board. This step is usually done mutually with the guidance of the customer.
Once your customer provides you with basic schematics and specifications of the design, launch pre-designing tests to ensure its credibility and utility. This is done by carrying out market research of similar products, looking at industrial reliability standards, and running complete diagnostics of all your work.
These pre-designing works also include steps such as deciding the material type for your board, learning about the demand and supply of the product, and knowing about your market targets. All these early rules make sure that you face minimum errors and obstacles throughout the design process and save you quite a few bucks in the long running, as post-production is somewhat sorted beforehand.
Component Placement is perhaps the heart of PCB designing, and it is considered as half the work by many designers. The reason for it being such a tricky process is the fact that you need to achieve multiple goals with your component placement. Some of the key aims in component placement are to formulate a circuit board with minimum possible layers, efficient heat dissipation, easy routing solution to all components while maintaining the industry standards. A PCB design supplier can achieve all this by keeping the following guidelines in mind:
Bulky and current hungry components of circuit boards should be placed on a PCB first. These components usually have specific points of injection, normally on top or bottom layers, as they need the best heat dissipation and should be easily replaceable, hence, superficial. These components are usually interconnected to many parts of a PCB, which is also why their placement is to be decided first.
In a PCB layout, an Inter-layer net connection is carried out by VIAs, and it is best to keep their numbers down to a minimum. As Traces don’t go through the Via, their reduced number ensures a better routing solution for all the components and allows you to make the most use of available space.
Integrated circuits are at the heart of all components having thousands of pin-points for connections and requiring multiple routing. Therefore, they must be placed as early as possible.
Surface mount devices are best advised to be placed at one side of the PCB so that the through vias are limited to minimum numbers, and the cost of PCB production is lessened.
Patience is the key in component placement. Experiment with different layouts unless you reach one that suits you perfectly.
All in all, remember not to cluster your components, keep a reasonable distance between the edges of a board and a component and almost double the distance between main components; to avoid future hazards and maintain the standard.
Once you are done with placing your components in the right positions, the next big step in PCB designing is formulating a routing solution. Routing is the process of creating a network of thin copper wires for all the components of your board. To begin with, routing menace you must;
Power and ground planes are generally placed in internal layers of a multi-layer PCB; however, place ground and power planes on alternate layers for a two-layered board.
Symmetry is an essential step of routing, especially in big, multi-layered PCBs. For example, if you are routing the top layer in a vertical direction, route the bottom layer in the horizontal direction. Inconsistent routing of wires can mess up your whole board and make corrections trickier.
It's not usually suitable to use the same trace width for all segments of your design. A PCB design Supplier must always consider the maximum current that can flow through the trace and current requirement of the consequent component. Use wider trace for a more current-carrying segment of the board and thinner wires for low current. So, it's in the best interest of all to use hybrid traces to ensure optimum heat dissipation.
Heat dissipation is integral to the working of PCB. Suitable dissipation makes sure that your system doesn’t overheat and all components operate to their full potential. Heat dissipation is generally achieved through holes. Through holes are a type of VIAs that go from top to bottom, dissecting all layers in between.
There's usually a heat sink at the end of a through-hole, and it's in proximity to the power-hungry components of PCB. Inter-Layer Vias are also used for heat dissipation.
A PCB design supplier carefully designs the traces and places the component in the right positions to leave sufficient space for such thermal systems. Thermal relief patterns can also be considered for PCBs.
This really is an extension to component placement. A PCB design supplier groups similar types of components on the same layers and the same side as well. For example, the Digital portion of PCB is kept at the top, and the analog segment is placed at the bottom. This grouping will, in turn, help us create efficient routing as similar types of components require similar traces.
Power Hungry components are also assembled in similar patterns. Generally, components are grouped based on their thermal ratings.
PCB design supplier is advised to run timely design rule checks (DRC), Quality assurance tests (QA), and Electrical rules check (ERC). These tests make sure that your PCB is in accordance with the current market standards and that you're maximizing space and material.
You can detect errors via these checks and make amendments. Once you get error-free results from all these tests, you get a green signal to go into production. These tests are carried out by advanced AI-supported software, supervised by experienced engineers.
If a PCB supplier follows all these profound and comprehensive guidelines, I’m sure you’ll end up creating the best PCB for your product. As we are talking about the best PCB design suppliers, you must give a look at KINGSFORD PCB Services. They have a team of numerous well-known and qualified engineers with 1000+ PCB design experiences.
They provide one-step solution to PCB manufacturing and designing. The PCB designs go through the scrutiny of DFM, QA, ERC, DRC, and skilled engineers with 10+ years of experience, before getting a green signal. They take your raw design and formulate an amazing product out of it using advanced software such as Add, Allegro, Protel, Pads, and Mentor wg. Their Customer assurance is second to none, and that is what really makes them a towering force in PCB design and supply.
Printed Circuit boards are an ever-flourishing part of our tech world, as innovators work day and night to shrink the size of a PCB while maintaining at least the same level of performance. Designing and producing a Printed Circuit board requires a mastery of multiple skills, and it is unique tech-science and craftsmanship in its own entirety.
Printed Circuit boards are a susceptible subject to deal with, and unless you are on point with component placement, routing of current and thermal systems, and picking the perfect PCB design supplier, you are in for a hard time. That is why you must analyze before you make any decisions regarding your PCB design.
We hope this article will help you choose the most suitable PCB design Supplier for your product, one that promises a 100% product passing guarantee.