Printed Circuit Board (PCB) manufacturing is a detailed and time consuming process. PCB assembly is one of the vital procedures in the entire production run. It consists of processes such as component placement, solder paste deposition, and solder printing, among others. If you want your PCB to meet all the application requirements, it is important that you have some basic knowledge about the PCB assembly process.
PCB Assembly – Understanding PCB Paneling
Generally, if you read posts on PCB Assembly, you will mainly find information on aspects like mounting technologies (SMT or PTH), or various types of substrate materials. Rather than reiterate these topics, we will be taking a look at another important aspect – PCB Panels. PCB paneling consists of designing a PCB, where the components are placed on panels. Manufacturers prefer to produce PCBs with panels as they are known for their efficiency, and can also meet the prerequisites for plating processes. This method allows manufacturers to increase the overall PCB throughput in the SMT process.
PCB Paneling – Points to Keep in Mind
The following points are important to ensure that your PCB manufacturer is taking the right steps when working with PCB panels for your application.
﹒Opt for Strong Manufacturing Materials: The panels need to be constructed with durable materials like fiber glass or copper. Using such materials will allow the PCB to manage arduous application conditions. It will also be able to handle the rigid manufacturing and testing processes.
﹒Ensure that the Prototype is Flawless: Creating a prototype is a great solution to detecting and solving a number of PCB issues. As a customer, you can ask the manufacturer to focus more on the prototype rather than on the final product. This will encourage him to pay close attention to details in terms of PCB panelization. It will also result in lesser manufacturing and testing time, as most problems will have been dealt with in the prototyping phase. Also, it will reduce your overall expenditure.
﹒Enquire about Simple PCB Designs: The higher the complexity of the PCB design, the better the product’s performance in an application. However, complexity also means more time and effort to manufacture a flawless PCB. Hence, if you have a small scale application, ask the manufacturer to create simple PCB designs. This will make the panelization process easier. It will also reduce the manufacturer’s time to produce, test, and deliver the product.
﹒Choose Panel Borders to Reduce Costs: Panel borders are used to enhance the strength and mechanical stability of the panels. Panels without borders are extremely weak, and can break easily. They also result in higher costs as they will require carrier plates, which need to be assembled by hand.
Communication between the customer and manufacturer is extremely important when manufacturing PCBs. Discussing the above mentioned points with your manufacturer can help him understand your requirements perfectly. It will also allow him to manufacture a durable, yet cost-effective product for your application.