How To Minimize the Risk of Error During PCB Manufacture
Manufacturing errors are a rarity at Power Design Services. Our considerable experience in the industry, combined with our team of highly trained engineers, ensures reliable results for even the most complex printed circuit board plans. However, our high standards are accompanied by high expectations further along the production lifeline, and this can lead to errors being made when these expectations aren’t properly communicated.
The key to eliminating the risk of error is in adhering to industry standards whenever applicable and documenting processes whenever industry standards don’t exist. The PCB industry does not benefit from a globally recognized standard-issuing authority, so many of the processes we work on are simply de facto standards that are subject to change. Recognizing these standards and their limitations is critical to eliminating the risk of error.
Using Compatible Input Data Formats
We’ve been in business long enough to have dealt with the majority of popular input data formats in the PCB industry. We’re more than happy to work with our clients in their preferred formats, but emphasize the added value of using the most modern ones available:
- ODB++ for Production Design Data—One of the major advantages to using this format is that it reduces communication-based delays in design and manufacture. It supports integrated Design for Manufacturing tools and enables automation for PCB production. One of the risks it effectively minimizes is that of errors in data transmission, since the data exchange from CAD to CAM software is automatic.
- ASCII for Netlist—When it comes to netlists, nothing can beat the compatibility of ASCII. It’s simple, it works, and we obtain the best results with it because ASCII is human-readable, allowing for visual confirmation during data preparation. For this reason, Power Design Services insists on receiving netlist data in the ASCII format.
- Excellon for Drilling—The Excellon format is both clear and unambiguous. It has been used in the PCB design industry for many years, making it a preferred choice for compatibility across the board. Just make sure that the Excellon data doesn’t contain undefined tool sizes, and remember that PCB drills are manufactured in increments of 0.05 millimeters.
These are just a few of the standards that we encourage clients to adhere to. For more specific explanation, feel free to contact us and ask one of our engineers for a consultation on your project.
What About Getting Accurate Quotes?
There is another type of risk that accompanies PCB manufacture, especially at the prototype stage. This is the risk of introducing errors that unexpectedly design, fabrication or assembly costs up. Thankfully, these risks can be easily mitigated by adhering to data formats and standards unique to Power Design Services.
First, it’s important to clearly categorize the work you’re expecting us to do. We offer PCB design services, PDB fabrication services and PCB prototype assembly solutions. Each of these options carries its own set of requirements for us to deliver an accurate quote.
PCB Design Quotes
To minimize the risk of errors and get an accurate quote for your PCB design project, we need detailed schematics. Nicholaus Smith of Electronic Design offers a deeply informative look at what makes a great schematic. We also need a Bill of Materials sheet accompanied by a specification sheet that outlines the details of each material.
Additionally, a netlist in ASCII format is needed, as is a board outline, preferably in 1:1 size ratio. Specify the desired component locations, keep out zones and impedance requirements and we have all the data we need to offer you a comprehensive quote for PCB design.
PCB Fabrication Quotes
If you’re interested in having Power Design Services fabricate a circuit board, then we’ll need a fabrication drawing or, even better, a Gerber file that gives a complete guide to the data we need.
PCB Assembly Quotes
To ensure a smooth PCB assembly process, be sure to include both a detailed assembly drawing and a Bill of Material with your request. In order to make sure we have the data we need, we ask our clients to complete a quote request worksheet for assembly quotes.