Why use Outsourced PCB Prototyping Services?

Outsourcing services to experienced and talented teams, like ours at Quadra, will save you time and money. Our PCB prototyping services remove your frustrations and prevent feelings of stress as we guide you through the process as expertly as we can.

But what if you are an established manufacturer with a continuous production line, broad in-house capabilities to manufacture fully populated PCB’s and have the resources to create your own BOM and manage the process from start to finish?

You’ll still benefit, and here’s how.

Collaborating with us, and deploying our turn-key services, will ensure that your production line runs optimally and doesn’t have to stop to make a small prototype batch of the next big thing. This is crucial to your efficiencies and ultimately to the health of your bottom line.

We have 22 years of experience in PCB design and outsourcing production services. Our skilled engineers work with a broad range of clients amassing real-world experience. The supply partners that we have established are closely managed by our team and are fully approved under industry-standard assessment schemes.

 

You’re an entrepreneur with a vision and need someone to make sense of it?

No problem, we’re all ears. As soon as you can, tell us your plans and we’ll pull your ideas together and turn them into a physical working model.

 

The importance of understanding the PCB Prototype Quote Process

We completely understand that the best part of the process is when our customers take delivery of their manufactured prototype. Getting the quote is all too often seen as a complex and laborious task. But, when you understand the process, and know the elements that go into it, then you may just get excited that bit earlier.

Knowing the purpose of the quote

The purpose of a quote for a PCB assembly is to establish costs, timescales, and details on what to expect when the product is completed. In contrast, the purpose of a quote for a PCB prototype is to identify the design’s manufacturability and any modifications that may be required prior to the circuit boards being mass-produced.

The three stages of the PCB prototyping quote process

When you break the process down, you’ll discover that there are three main phases: the Design Generation phase, the Design Package Evaluation phase and the Quote Generation phase.

The first two phases require collaboration from both parties as there are essential back-to-back communications to ensure the desired outcome. This is where knowledge of the process comes in handy to accelerate the process and to experience fewer challenges along the way.

  1. The Design Package Generation Phase: This is where you, the client, provide us with as much detail and documentation as possible. The more detailed data you have the better. Our experts can then check the feasibility of the request, ask for more information if necessary, and then start work on designing your prototype and draw up a draft.

Example data:

  • Schematics, or PCB layout if they already exist.
  • Footprint details of the desired finished PCB if applicable.
  • Connectivity and any constraints, again if applicable.
  • Approvals that must be met.
  • Any RFI or other environmental considerations.
  • (BOM) bill of materials.
  • Will anything be free issued and how (on reels) or loose, etc.

You’ll receive preliminary plans at this stage for approval. Once approved we move onto phase 2.

  1. Design Package Evaluation: This stage sees us deep-diving into the feasibility of the end design. Using our team of experienced engineers and planners with industry-leading software such as CADSTAR and Autodesk our team have the tools and the skills to quickly evaluate the whole project. If there are any errors, they will be identified during this phase and be addressed. Our team can also pressure test the supply chain and costing models for your BOM.
  2. Quote Generation. This is the final phase.

 

How to get an accurate quote with less stress

  • Effective communication is key. To realise your vision there must be regular communication. Plus, you’ll gain clarity during each stage of the quoting process and stay in control of your design.
  • For additional clarity, all documentation is kept up to date with dates, terms and conditions, expenses and the components used.
  • Gain confidence by doing some research yourself if you feel it necessary. We’re more than happy for you to do your own fact-finding to check the quality of the materials and components that we propose.
  • If you need to chat through your initial requirements for PCB prototyping and see if we’re a good fit for your needs, please get in touch with us.

Want to know more about PCB Prototyping? Contact us now

pcb design rulesQuadra Solutions | PCB Design Professionals

We specialise in PCB design software and solutions. Quadra is one of the largest PCB bureaus in the UK and helps support hundreds of businesses throughout the UK and beyond with PCB design projects. We have the knowledge that helps companies embed, enhance and extend their design flow.

Find out more about our PCB Design Services

Have you read our new eBook?

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New Functionality in eCADSTAR 2021 – Creepage Checks

The creepage check within eCADSTAR’s PCB editor is a powerful tool and is so much more than a basic clearance check.  The voltage difference can also be changed based on requirements for a voltage difference range.  The flexibility and sophistication is down to the user control.

 

 

Creepage Check in Action

In this design I have maximized the input voltage to 600V at the power connector of our demo PCB Design, The first thing we need to do is define the voltage of the signals in the constraints browser. This is used in combination with the design rules to create the appropriate spacing to avoid creepage issues. In this demonstration, we will be focusing on the 600V signal.

pcb Creepage

Then in the Rule editor, there is now a new “voltage difference” tab Here is where we define the creepage rules. Here I have defined 3 clearance tables External_Coated, External_uncoated and Internal. These Rules are based on IPC standards which provides a formula for adequate clearances regarding creepage, you can use the formula or enter a defined value. This is therefore a clearance that varies with voltage difference but can also vary within a range of thresholds, making this a sophisticated solution for creepage rules. it is also a decision for the user if the voltage values are defined as RMS or Peak, as it is to define the voltage thresholds and values within the formulae.

Creepage Checker

From the report tab we can invoke the creepage checker. You can set a search distance around what is selected for a creepage check. eCADSTAR will check-in X Y & Z and even around the edges of the PCB

Once you have selected a signal, net, or the entire board a results dialogue will appear where you can filter by caution and fail results.

We can see from the results, creepage issues exist, creepage distance on the same external layers, for the 600V signal. 

The error line is helpful as it is a guidance as to where we need to rectify the creepage failure, in this example we will take the traditional approach of inserting a slot in between the signals, Using eCADSTAR’s slot command. You can see that this slot is not long enough to rectify the problem and the error line now shows a different path signal to signal. We can easily increase the slot length from the properties tab.

We can now see those violations have been resolved, we can also check the creepage path through this slot from layer 1 to 4.

 

So, what are the Key Benefits of the Creepage checker?

  • Powerful and advanced creepage design and check
  • Design right and with advanced creepage design rules
  • Reduce iterations and design re-work
  • Powerful rules specified to voltage difference, beyond traditional clearance
  • Clearance varies with voltage difference, as opposed to discrete values
  • Creepage design consideration integrated within design rules
  • Efficient and productive design environment
  • Improve design review efficiency
  • Creepage checks reduce overall design time and improve quality
  • Design and verify to IEC 62368-1 from the outset and during design process

For more about eCADSTAR 2021 click here

eCADSTAR – Built to Help You Deliver Results

  • PCB DE64-bit computing
  • Mouse and touch screen operation
  • Powerful graphics, enabling users to design in a native 3D environment
  • Advanced Collaborative design, allowing design activities to occur concurrently
  • 2D and 3D environments
  • Multi-core processor

For more information about eCADSTAR please contact us

More about Quadra Solutions

Quadra Solutions Ltd specialise in design and data management software solutions for the manufacturing, construction, engineering and PCB design industries. Quadra is an accredited training centre and specialists in  PCB design.  Our software solutions, consultancy, training and technical support are some of the best in the industry. With a wealth of experience and knowledge, Quadra specialises in helping businesses adopt efficient and effective design workflows, innovate and embed data management solutions. We pride ourselves on our consultative approach to working with customers as their technology partner. For more information about Quadra please contact us.

Talk to our team      01254 3018888     Live Chat

Did you miss the “What’s New for eCADSTAR 2021” Webinar?

Did you miss the “What’s New for eCADSTAR 2021” Webinar?

eCADSTAR PCB design software 2021 release is here. eCADSTAR 2021 benefits from greater functionality and efficiency-enhancing tools to help support your PCB design. Join the webinar to find out more about how eCADSTAR is adding to its time-saving tools and providing with you more functionality and improved features to make your designs better.

What’s New for eCADSTAR 2021  – Webinar

The webinar will cover:

  • New Creepage Check feature
  • SPICE Controller feature to enable the Schematic application to interface with LTspice
  • RINF & EDIF Import
  • and many more exciting enhancements

Fill in the form below to catch up here with the on-demand recording

[wpforms id=”4026″]

eCADSTAR – Built to Help You Deliver Results

  • PCB DE64-bit computing
  • Mouse and touch screen operation
  • Powerful graphics, enabling users to design in a native 3D environment
  • Advanced Collaborative design, allowing design activities to occur concurrently
  • 2D and 3D environments
  • Multi-core processor

For more information about eCADSTAR please contact us

More about Quadra Solutions

Quadra Solutions Ltd specialise in design and data management software solutions for the manufacturing, construction, engineering and PCB design industries. Quadra is an accredited training centre and specialists in  PCB design.  Our software solutions, consultancy, training and technical support are some of the best in the industry. With a wealth of experience and knowledge, Quadra specialises in helping businesses adopt efficient and effective design workflows, innovate and embed data management solutions. We pride ourselves on our consultative approach to working with customers as their technology partner. For more information about Quadra please contact us.

Talk to our team      01254 3018888     Live Chat

PCB Library Management | What is it and Why does it Matter?

PCB layout design is not rocket science, but it does take time to do right. By taking the time to review your designs before you create your layouts, you can resolve issues early enough to lower costs and production time. PCB Library Management is a critical part of this.

What is PCB Library Management?

Data preparation and library management are time-consuming activities. They are however a crucial part of the process and if not done correctly can severely impair the success of the project. From the inclusion of library parts to the collation of datasheets for each item, the importance of appropriate data preparation and library management cannot be overstated. Some PCB design bureaus will offer this service, but some won’t so it’s important to understand what is required before work commences. Some companies will expect fully CAD-generated schematics, but many can also work from hand-drawn sketches if required. This initial planning plays a very important part especially when it comes to communicating your plans.

In order to understand what a good PCB library administrator can do for you, you need to know what they can’t do, as well. The primary features are time savings, and guaranteed accuracy. If you’re a smaller shop or freelancer, saving time by paying a librarian may not be in your best interest. If you’re with a service bureau juggling multiple designs, outsourcing parts for creation saves you time and money.

PCB libraries are supposed to help you do this, but the wrong library setup can turn the PCB layout process into a sponge that absorbs your R&D time and resources. Good PCB library administration can prevent your great board designs from becoming nightmares, but what is PCB library administration?

What does PCB Library Management involve?

When you hear the word “components”, it’s natural to think about ICs, LEDs, resistors, and all the other electronic hardware that goes into building a PCB. But in terms of PCB design software, there is a lot of information that goes into any component. Every component has an associated symbol, footprint, pin arrangement, and other properties that are used by your PCB design software. With so many components available on the market and with electronics companies producing new components, managing a component library becomes one of the important duties of a PCB designer. Designers commonly create customized components for use in their designs, including footprints and simulation models.

Bringing this information together so that you can take your PCB from design to production requires the best design software on the market. When you work in a unified design environment, your design software will seamlessly integrate your components libraries with your schematic library, and updates to your components libraries are easily passed to your schematic.

Managing Your Digital Libraries

Library management is a broad term that refers to managing component, supplier, life cycle, and schematics for use in your design. With the massive number of components on the market, no one has time to compile information in these libraries on their own. There are many companies that specialize in creating software that compiles this information for you, making you more productive and allowing you to spend more time on your designs.

Component libraries contain more than just a long list of part numbers. A great component library should contain associated schematics symbols, footprints for your layout, SPICE models for use in simulations, and electrical specifications. These libraries also include 3D models for use in a 3D viewer. When all of this information is compiled in a single interface, it greatly streamlines the design process. Component libraries also need to contain associated supplier information, including costs, lead times, and suitable replacements. This gives you the information you need to generate parts lists and a bill of materials for your manufacturer.

Why is it Important to Manage your Digital Library?

pcb design

Managing your digital libraries takes more than just maintaining lists of components and schematics. Your libraries need to synchronize with component supplier information and life cycle management tools. Life cycle management tools give you the information you need to replace obsolete components with suitable replacements. All of these tools work best when they are integrated into a single environment, rather than being separated into different modules.

Some PCB design software packages allow you to create new libraries that contain a specific list of most often used components. When you have a library that grows to 1000’s of components, updates to components are almost never seamless. Especially when you use software that operates with disparate component models. Digital libraries should be created with users and user-intention in mind, with access to the resources and knowledge required from the library.

Badly prepared data and library management can also create added complexities when locating appropriate elements and parts for the design. Many companies will do the hard work for you – collating datasheets for each device where library parts don’t exist and verifying them to ensure there are sufficient legible dimensions for the new part to be created.

Translating between updated versions of your software can wreak havoc on your component library. An update can change the file structure of your component library, forcing you to organize and update your components manually. Some software packages have a components information system that helps you manage your libraries, but you have to purchase this as an add-on. There is no reason such a critical tool shouldn’t be included in your PCB design software.

PCB Library Management is about more than just updating footprints and symbols in schematics. You need to leverage supply chain availability and lifecycle information to ensure your designs remain up to date. Imagine opening up that PCB you created 6 months ago and sending deliverables to your manufacturer, only to find that half of your parts are unavailable or obsolete. Lifecycle states allow you to catch and replace obsolete parts in your designs.

Unified Digital Library Management

Outsourcing pcb design

Working in a unified design environment means more than just presenting all the tools you need in a single piece of software. Data management in a unified design environment uses unified component models that can be reused when you define new components. These component models should serve as templates for new components, saving you time.

Your design software should also help increase productivity by providing updates to component libraries and supply chain information. Designers shouldn’t have to spend time scouring the internet for component updates or supply chain information. They shouldn’t have to rely on an unreliable 3rd party service for these critical updates. A unified design environment allows you to seamlessly transfer any updates onto your schematics.

If you need to make revisions to the footprint of a unified component, your PCB design software should present a visual side-by-side comparison of footprint changes. Any symbol, pin arrangement, and schematic changes should be easy to compare as well. The same idea applies to component templates. This ensures that component changes within your library will be accessible to everyone in your organization.

Many components share common properties, such as capacitance, mounting style, and rated voltage. When you work with a great component manager, you can assign these properties to individual components easily within a single interface. As well as adding them individually to each component, you can also use the Attribute Manager tool to add them to multiple components. Your circuit board and your digital libraries can be managed into effective content creation and storage.

eCADSTAR

PCB Library Management in eCADSTAR

ecadstar header
Click here to watch the on-demand webinar

The eCADSTAR Library Editor provides a complete solution for creating and editing symbol, footprints and part information for PCB design. Integrated into the eCADSTAR framework, Library Editor shares the same set of user interface and configuration settings as other applications in the Zuken family. This makes it easy to learn and maximises productivity during product development.

Working in a unified design environment links your component libraries, schematic libraries, component models, simulation tools, bill of materials, and layout tools within a single design interface.

eCADSTAR has partnered up with many Suppliers & Electronic Component Information Providers such as Findchips, SamacSys, Ultra Librarian & SiliconExpert. These services are fully integrated into eCADSTAR. Spend more time designing and less time searching for parts and supply chain risk information.

eCADSTAR’s database library has excellent searching capabilities allowing you to filter by Part Name, Class, attributes and much more. The search features allow you quickly sift through a massive component library. As a result, you will only locate the components you need for your design including previews of symbols and footprints. Manage your circuits better with a stronger digital library system.

More about eCADSTAR

eCADSTAR

  • Fully manage your design process from start to finish in a consistent environment.
  • A common user interface and centralized unified library.
  • Define design constraints and variants in the schematic and propagate it throughout the PCB design and routing process.
  • Identify library changes and designs updates with powerful library functionality.
  • A modern, intuitive and fully-customisable user-interface to help delivery design efficiencies

eCADSTAR – BUILT TO HELP YOU DELIVER RESULTS

  • PCB DE64-bit computing
  • Mouse and touch screen operation
  • Powerful graphics, enabling users to design in a native 3D environment
  • Advanced Collaborative design, allowing design activities to occur concurrently
  • 2D and 3D environments
  • Multi-core processor

For more information about eCADSTAR please contact us

eCADSTAR Case Study – Driving Innovation for EA Technology

eCADSTAR

When looking to upgrade their existing PCB design software, EA Technology looked to eCADSTAR to support their business objectives and their ongoing design and development projects.

EA Technology, headquartered in Chester, is recognised globally as a leader in their field; enhancing the performance of power networks and providing clients with tailored asset management solutions. After an upgrade to their PCB design software, the result provided their PCB engineers with an improved high-speed design platform with limitless possibilities.

“eCADSTAR helps us generate reports quicker and easier, providing us with more comprehensive manufacturing checks, enabling us to ensure we Design for Manufacture efficiently.”

Graham Poll, CAD Consultant

Electronic Design Automation meets internet connectivity

EA Technology is able to benefit from eCADSTAR’s high-speed automated and assistive functionalities in an easy-to-use environment such as PCB Design Editor, Library Editor, Schematics Editor and design rule checking. This innovative internet-connected PCB design platform combines all the power of EDA software with the flexibility of the internet.

“Our engineers were impressed with the new look and feel to eCADSTAR. The library search is a real strength of the software. It will help limit the amount of time spent searching for parts and help streamline our workflows. The ongoing technical support was also a major decision-making factor. By having access to a vastly experienced technical support team available whenever required, helps our team move forward quickly and efficiently whilst getting to grips with a new tool,” said Graham.

Click here to access the full case study

 

More about eCADSTAR

eCADSTAR brings together the latest advances in collaboration and connected engineering in a borderless electronic design environment, connecting the engineering desktop with comprehensive design and manufacturing services.

eCADSTAR’s advanced and connected features include:

  • Unified design environment
  • Enhanced online part search
  • Visualisation and collaboration tools
  • Advanced 3D design
  • Design migration and design re-use

INTERNET-CONNECTED DESIGN

  • Fully manage your design process from start to finish in a consistent environment with a common user interface and centralized unified library.
  • Define design constraints and variants in the schematic and propagate it throughout the PCB design and routing process.
  • Identify library changes and designs updates with powerful library functionality.
  • A modern, intuitive and fully-customisable user-interface to help delivery design efficiencies

PCB DESIGN SOFTWARE – BUILT TO HELP YOU DELIVER RESULTS

  • PCB DE64-bit computing
  • Mouse and touch screen operation
  • Powerful graphics, enabling users to design in a native 3D environment
  • Advanced Collaborative design, allowing design activities to occur concurrently
  • 2D and 3D environments
  • Multi-core processor

For more information about eCADSTAR please contact us

More about Quadra Solutions

Quadra Solutions Ltd specialise in design and data management software solutions for the manufacturing, construction, engineering and PCB design industries. Quadra is a Gold Autodesk Partner, an accredited training centre and specialists in  PCB design. InventorRevitAutoCAD, Collections and Vault software help our customers to design, visualise, innovate and implement solutions that grow and develop their business.

Our software solutions, consultancy, training and technical support are some of the best in the industry. With a wealth of experience and knowledge, Quadra specialises in helping businesses adopt efficient and effective design workflows, innovate and embed data management solutions. We pride ourselves on our consultative approach to working with customers as their technology partner. For more information about Quadra please contact us.

Talk to our team      01254 3018888     Live Chat

8 PCB Design and Layout Tips You Should Know

8 PCB Design and Layout Tips You Should Know

PCB’s are all around us and we are probably never more than a metre away from a PCB at all times. Your smartwatch/fitness tracker, your laptop or your mobile. We can’t go a day without relying on a PCB somewhere! And as a result, PCB design is more important than ever. In this post, we explore some of the most important elements of successful PCB design and our top 8 layout tips that you should know.

1. Node Location Is Critical

Perhaps the most important tip on our list is this – Node accessibility. This could help solve your design issues and solve issues when testing. If nodes aren’t accessible, testing will be even harder whatever type of nodes you have used. If they are easy to probe then they are easy to test.

2. Space Matters

Today’s circuit boards support far more components per square centimetre than ever before. That’s great from an end-user standpoint. The more components on a board, the more functionality it supports, and the more users can do with the device. However, what is an advantage for end users can be a challenge for designers.

Simply put, the more components you add to a board, the more cramped they become within the design. And, make no mistake, component spacing matters a lot. Why is that? You’ll find several reasons. One of those is that without the appropriate amount of spacing, you lack room for wire routing. Another challenge is that those components create heat, and the closer they’re packed, the more heat builds up in the board. In some cases, that might be enough to compromise the board material itself, particularly if you’re using something like FR-4 rather than a material designed to handle high levels of heat.

3. Feeling the heat

Heat will always be a problem, but it is not insurmountable. One quick tip to help you get around high-heat-related issues is to add extra copper around surface mount components. This creates additional surface area and helps dissipate more heat, faster, effectively turning a portion of the PCB design into a heatsink.

4. Pay Attention to Arrangement

Sometimes, rotating your components is simply not enough. When that happens, it’s important to come at the situation with a bit of strategy in terms of component arrangement. How, though?

Cascaded Components: Cascaded components play a vital role in many PCB design options. However, they can be challenging to arrange correctly. Keep them near one another, and make sure that they are in sequence on the board. That will immediately remove the challenge of trying to route traces all across the board to connect cascaded components located in different areas.
Consolidate: Why use multiple smaller resistors when a single higher resistance one will work better? Consolidating your design ensures that there’s more room for components and traces, as resistors will take up less of your available space.
Cascade from the Edge: When laying out your PCB design, identify any component that must be attached via a connector placed on or near the edge. Locate those components as close to the connector as you can. The rest of the chain should cascade away from that point, grouped into functional blocks near one another and in sequence.

5. Making space

Does the following situation sound familiar? You’re staring at your PCB design, struggling to fit each component in and route traces between them. No matter where you put them, you’re left with problems, particularly if the board is smaller.

The answer? Rotate your components and find the best arrangement that allows you to route traces directly between them while maximizing the use of space across the entire board. This can take some time and effort, but it’s well worth the minimal investment you’ll make.

6. That Shrinking Feeling

Struggling with an unrouteable board? Use smaller components. By going with a smaller footprint, you leave more room for copper traces to pass each component. Proper spacing is easier to maintain with smaller components, too, helping you avoid overcrowding the board and the other problems that go hand in hand with stacking components too close to one another.

What should you do? While quad flat package components might be your first option, you might want to consider going with ball grid array components, instead. Of course, there is a trade-off here – smaller components make repair work more challenging.

7. Dense Boards

If you are struggling with PCB design, chances are good that the space required for traces, vias, and clearance is a problem. You can get around that by going denser. With HDI, you can create very dense boards with very dense traces, clearances, and vias that still deliver performance. However, you do need to consider controlled impedance routing, differential pairs, and check creepage, clearance, and width when it comes to high-current and high-voltage design.

8. Keep the Noise Down

Signal noise can be problematic when it comes to some traces. However, placing high-frequency signal carrying traces too close together can couple those signals, ratcheting up the noise and possibly creating problems with traces where no noise is desired. Make sure that you keep noisy digital traces away from analog traces to avoid this problem.

 

More about Quadra Solutions PCB Design Service

We have been designing, assembling and fabricating PCB’s for over 20 years and our ability to design and manufacture the highest quality PCB designs and prototypes means the world to every single member of the Quadra team.You can rely on our highly experienced and IPC CID+ accredited team of PCB Design Engineers to provide a full range of PCB Design Services that leave you free to focus on the design concept and product strategy.

UKAS-ISO-9001-1-150x150Our ISO 9001 accredited team deliver complex, high-speed multi-layered circuit board design layout, testing, library management and manufacturing services for hundreds of happy customers each year, using a wide range of PCB design software packages including;

 

  • Altium
  • Mentor
  • eCADSTAR and CADSTAR
  • PADS
  • Cadence
pcb design ebook
Have you read our PCB ebook yet? Read now

Quadra PCB design and Manufacturing Services

  • Data Preparation
  • Library Creation
  • Circuit Board Design
  • Layout Service
  • PCB Assembly and Manufacture
  • PCB Reverse Engineering
  • Reverse engineering
  • High-Speed PCB Design
  • Post PCB Layout
  • ECAD / MCAD Integration

10 Reasons why your PCB Design Assembly Could be Failing

Understanding why your PCB Design Assembly is failing and how to rectify it is a critical part of PCB design. PCB design takes time, effort and knowledge. But all of this hard work can be for nothing if your PCB fails. So let’s take a look at the top reasons why PCB design assemblies fail.

10 Reasons why your PCB Design Assembly Could be Failing

1. Poor Quality Components

Finding the right components is always a challenge. Whether the challenge is searching for virtual parts, ensuring the footprints are right or managing part obselence, the need for good quality components is still one of the biggest concerns when considering your PCB assembly and manufacturing.

Closely placed traces and pathways, bad soldering to cold joints, poor connectivity between circuit boards, insufficient board thickness and use of counterfeit components are just some of the issues that can be faced.

2. Environmental Factors

PCB’s are sensitive creatures. Exposure to heat, dust and moisture, accidental impact (drops and falls), and power overloads/surges can all be causes of circuit board failure. However, the most damaging cause of premature circuit board failure is electrostatic discharge (ESD) at the assembly stage. Electrostatic discharge (ESD) is the sudden flow of electricity between two electrically charged objects caused by contact an electrical short, or dielectric breakdown. A buildup of static electricity can be caused by tribocharging or by electrostatic induction.

3. Component Design Failure

One of the most common reasons for PCB failure is the incorrect placement of components, power failure or overheating due to lack of space on the PCB. Space is a critical one, especially as boards become more complex and required to cope with demanding requirements. Here are just a few more examples of things that can go wrong at the design and manufacturing stage. Don’t forget that many of these problems can be avoided by following correct PCB design rules. Our IPC Certified Interconnect Training gives PCB designers an understanding of these PCB design rules and techniques to avoid some of the PCB design pitfalls regarding PCB design for manufacturing. Here are just a few of the other factors that can affect your PCB design assembly.

  • Soldering Issues
  • Chemical (Fluid) Leakage
  • Component Barrier Breakage
  • Bad Component Placement
  • Burned Components

Need support with your PCB Design Assembly? Contact Quadra Solutions – Contact us now

4. Age

Failures caused by age cannot be avoided, but the costs of replacing components can be controlled by swapping old parts for new ones, which is more cost-effective than new PCB assembly.

5. Chemical fluid leakage

The presence of any chemical fluid that has leaked from a component can seriously damage the PCB and cause failure. Most chemicals are removed in the manufacturing process.  However, trace elements can be left behind. Inside the packaging of a component, leaks can happen, which cause rapid ageing of the semiconductor or package. This chemical leakage can eventually cause shorts or become corrosive.

6. Issues with the soldering process

Solders are crucial to the electronics circuits working and as a result, need plenty of care and attention.  The most common solder-related issue is flux contamination and poor processing conditions. Flux is a chemical cleaning agent used before and during the soldering process of electronic components onto circuit boards. Some flux residues can absorb moisture which can become conductive, causing short circuits. If the solder process is not set up properly and controlled, it can lead to open joints and contamination.

7. Component barrier breakage

The barrier of a component is there to protect the component from the outside environment and also to provide a way for the component to connect to the circuit. If this barrier is broken, the component will become exposed to environmental factors. Oxygen and humidity can cause the component to age and then fail.

8. Physical problems with materials

The materials used in a PCB can often encounter problems that will cause the board to fail. During the manufacturing stages, if a layer of the PCB is misaligned it will cause short circuits, open circuits and crossed signal lines. If there are psychical defects with the materials such as fractures, voids and delaminations they will seriously affect the performance of the PCB. Failure can also happen if the materials used are impure.

9. Thermal stress

Stress from heat or humidity is one of the biggest causes of PCB failure, especially if a variation of materials has been used. Different materials have different expansion rates, so when constant thermal stress is applied it can break the solder joint and damage the component. Stress from thermal factors will be increased if the wrong copper weight is used or there are plating issues. Even during manufacturing the temperature of the room the PCB was assembled in can affect its performance.

10. Manufacturing and cleanliness

Most failure issues happen after the PCB has been manufactured. The environment of the room where the assembly happened can affect the PCB. Humidity can affect the way components and solders act when assembled. As a result environmental conditions need to be controlled. Another common failure is not keeping PCBs clean during and after manufacture. Dust, hair and even bugs can get into the PCB.

Resolving PCB Design Assembly Failure

You can address many of these failures through rework, inspection and analysis. However, the best way to reduce the risk of PCB failure issues is to partner with an experienced PCB design company. By understanding the common failures that happen in PCBs, you can make certain you avoid these issues and take the right precautionary steps to stop them from happening again.

More About Us

Quadra Solutions | PCB Design Professionals

We specialise in PCB design software and solutions. Quadra is one of the largest PCB bureaus in the UK and helps support hundreds of businesses throughout the UK and beyond with PCB design projects. We have the knowledge that helps companies embed, enhance and extend their design flow.

We have been designing, assembling and fabricating PCB’s for over 20 years and our ability to design and manufacture the highest quality PCB designs and prototypes means the world to every single member of the Quadra team. You can rely on our highly experienced and IPC CID+ accredited team of PCB Design Engineers to provide a full range of PCB Design Services that leave you free to focus on the design concept and product strategy.

Our ISO 9001 accredited team deliver complex, high-speed multi-layered circuit board design layout, testing, library management and manufacturing services for hundreds of happy customers each year, using a wide range of

pcb ebooksoftware packages.

Find out more about our PCB Design Assembly Services

Have you read our eBook?

Download our PCB Design Guide – 10 Rules for Efficient and Effective PCB Design Assembly

Are your PCB designs effective and efficient? Download our PCB Design Guide to find out.

Click to download the ebook now

How Rapid PCB Prototyping is Revolutionising PCB Manufacturing

How Rapid PCB Prototyping is Revolutionising PCB Manufacturing

In a competitive world of electronics manufacturing, the importance of speed cannot be overstated! The quicker a company can move from concept to product stage, the more likelihood of its a success.

So what is Rapid PCB prototyping?

Rapid PCB Prototyping is a set of methods to create a prototype of your product very quickly. Once complete, you can use this to validate your final product. An additive manufacturing approach is required, as opposed to a subtractive which can involve substantial rework. 3D printing technology allows designers to create a product replica by adding layers of material.

A CAD file is converted into a. STL format which can be used for 3D printing and hence for rapid prototyping.

The benefits of rapid PCB prototyping process is revolutionising PCB manufacturing:

Speed

Complex designs will carry greater costs and longer lead times. The speed of your production processes can be vastly improved upon. You can reduce development time from weeks to minutes.

Ability to work with different materials

Materials will add up, layer by layer, and the coupling prevents the board from constraining the circuits. These connections have been borderline impossible given modern circuit board technology. Additionally, 3D circuit board manufacturing only uses materials that are essential to production.

Testing of the product

In-depth validation of the product is a major benefit to 3D PCB prototypes. By using this technology you can identify costly mistakes before they reach the production stage. Rapid prototyping allows you to detect mistakes and errors early on and make necessary amends in time. Thanks to reduced development time, designers have greater freedom to break design for manufacturing rules that are inherent in subtractive PCB manufacturing processes.

Cost Optimisation and Lower Costs

A major benefit of the technology is its cost-optimisation. 3D printers are becoming far more affordable. It is no longer just restricted to large businesses. Rapid prototyping is a big boon for startups who are dealing with limited budgets and need to showcase a minimum viable product to potential investors. With the quick realisation of your product concept, PCB prototyping also gives you the freedom to fail faster. You have the ability also to improve your product before it goes in for final production.

Acceleration of the Printed Circuit Board manufacturing process

Previously converting a concept into a finished product required a lot of time and effort. With 3D printing, the process is significantly accelerated. It significantly cuts down the time required to create the prototype. For this reason, you can also make any changes in the design easily.

Not only does 3D printing save time, it prevents you from any rude shocks at a later time. Get reliable validation of your product or insights into any changes required with your completed prototype.

Want to know more about PCB Prototyping? Contact us now

About Us

pcb design rulesQuadra Solutions | PCB Design Professionals

We specialise in PCB design software and solutions. Quadra is one of the largest PCB bureaus in the UK and helps support hundreds of businesses throughout the UK and beyond with PCB design projects. We have the knowledge that helps companies embed, enhance and extend their design flow.

Find out more about our PCB Design Services

Have you read our new eBook?

Click to download the ebook now

CADSTAR to eCADSTAR Migration – Documentation Symbol Migration

Sarah finishes up CADSTAR to eCADSTAR Migration process by taking us through Documentation Symbol Migration

 

Documentation Symbol Migration – Part 3 of eCADSTAR Migration Tutorials

 

This video tutorial will demonstrate how to migrate classic CADSTAR Documentation Symbols into the eCADSTAR master library.

Firstly, in CADSTAR open a new PCB design and Schematic and save, then add the Documentation Symbols to the blank Schematic

Then export the Schematic as a Schematic archive

Now do the same in the PCB design

Then once the Documentation Symbols have been added export the design as a PCB archive

Now the preparation is complete to migrate into eCADSTAR

Migration from CADSTAR to eCADSTAR

Open up eCADSTAR Schematic editor or the PCB editor to access the CADSTAR design migration tool

Then point the Schematic archive and the PCB archive we have just created click next and point to your CADSTAR to eCADSTAR mapping file then specify an empty directory to place the eCADSTAR migration.

Once the migration is complete eCADSTAR will open up the schematic design and a PCB design containing those Documentation Symbols.

When eCADSTAR creates a design, a local library is created within the design folder, next open the master library and the local library

Within the local library you will notice eCADSTAR has generated both Footprints and Symbols for the Documentation Symbols.

Highlight the Symbol right click and copy Symbol.

Next in the master library right click and paste.

Now repeat with the footprints.

The Documentation Symbol can now be added to the PCB design as a non-electrical footprint and the Symbol can be added to the Schematic design.

Now the Documentation Symbol migration is complete.

 

For more information about eCADSTAR click here

Don’t let your PCB design project suffer! PCB Design Service

As Coronavirus continues to wreak havoc on PCB design and manufacturing, we are doing everything we can to support our customers so they can continue working remotely.  Our PCB design team is here to help deliver your project on time. At Quadra we offer a complete PCB design to manufacture service. With our PCB design services, you may only require a quick layout job for you or you may have a whole project that is falling behind schedule. However Coronavirus is affecting your business, we are here to help.

According to Make UK, the following statistics apply to the manufacturing industry

  • 51% of manufacturers currently have no staff furloughed
  • 1/5 still planning further redundancies in the next 6 months
  • 1/2 have already made redundancies

As a result, many businesses are looking for different ways to maintain their business and continue to operate in the future. We are working on numerous projects right now that are helping our customers continue to operate, stay on track with timescales and look to the future.

Quadra Solutions PCB Design Service

We have been designing, assembling and fabricating PCB’s for over 20 years and our ability to design and manufacture the highest quality PCB designs and prototypes means the world to every single member of the Quadra team. You can rely on our highly experienced and IPC CID+ accredited team of PCB Design Engineers to provide a full range of PCB Design Services that leave you free to focus on the design concept and product strategy.

UKAS-ISO-9001-1-150x150Our ISO 9001 accredited team deliver complex, high-speed multi-layered circuit board design layout, testing, library management and manufacturing services for hundreds of happy customers each year, using a wide range of PCB design software packages including;

 

  • Altium
  • Mentor
  • eCADSTAR and CADSTAR
  • PADS
  • Cadence

 

pcb design ebook
Have you read our PCB ebook yet? Read now

Quadra PCB design and Manufacturing Services

  • Data Preparation
  • Library Creation
  • Circuit Board Design
  • PCB Layout Service
  • PCB Assembly and Manufacture
  • PCB Reverse Engineering
  • Reverse engineering
  • High-Speed PCB Design
  • Post PCB Layout
  • ECAD / MCAD Integration

More about Quadra

We have been designing, assembling and fabricating PCB’s for over 20 years and our ability to design and manufacture the highest quality PCB designs and prototypes means the world to every single member of the Quadra team. Read more here.

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