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What Is Automated Optical Inspection?

Jump To: How do we define Automated Optical Inspection? | The Role of AOI | What an AOI Reviews  | How Does AOI Compare With Other Inspection Methods | Contact Millennium Circuits for Thoroughly Inspected PCBs   Request a Free Quote What Is Automated Optical Inspection? When you use printed circuit boards (PCBs) in your projects, you need to be sure they’ll perform well and make your clients happy. It’s essential to have a dependable way to test PCBs for flaws and ensure that they function as intended.  Printed circuit boards are becoming smaller and more complex — today’s PCBs may contain thousands of soldered joints and a multitude of tiny components. That increased complexity can give rise to a greater likelihood of errors. When a standard visual inspection is not enough to detect minute imperfections in a densely crowded board, techniques like automated optical inspection (AOI) help provide greater insight and accuracy.  How do we define Automated Optical

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How to Prevent Non-Wetting Defects

Jump To: What Is a Non-Wetting Defect? | Why It’s Important to Fix Non-Wetting Defects | Common Causes of Non-Wetting Defects | How to Correct Non-Wetting Defects | Partner With Millennium Circuits for Quality PCBs  How to Prevent Non-Wetting Defects The manufacturing process for printed circuit boards (PCBs) usually includes a procedure known as reflow soldering, or reflow. Reflow involves covering the surface of the PCB with solder paste to facilitate temporary attachment of the board’s thousands of minuscule components to their PCB pads. The solder paste stabilizes the components long enough for an application of high heat. The high heat reflows the solder — that is, it turns the paste into a molten substance that flows across the board — creating permanent solder joints that cement the components firmly in place. Reflow soldering is a useful technique, but as in many manufacturing processes, especially those involving masses of tiny parts, there’s always the potential for an error to

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Cost Impact of Rigid-Flex or Flex PCBs

Cost Impact of Rigid-Flex or Flex PCBs For a printed circuit board (PCB), you have the option of choosing either a rigid-flex or a flex printed circuit board. While both types vary in their materials, designs and applications, one of the most defining features is cost. Rigid-Flex PCBs A rigid-flex PCB combines aspects found in both hardboard and flexible circuits. Multiple layers of rigid circuit boards with flexible circuitry enable rigid-flex PCBs to withstand tough conditions while allowing you to tailor them to the specific needs of your application. The result is a versatile board that can be used in everything from the medical to the aerospace industry. Factors That Affect Cost There are three main factors that impact the cost of rigid-flex PCB: Materials: The raw materials used to manufacture rigid-flex PCBs tend to cost more than traditional PCB materials. While these boards use common materials such as copper foil, they also incorporate no

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How to Prevent Poor Solder Wetting

How to Prevent Poor Solder Wetting Poor solder wetting is often a behind-the-scenes culprit of poor joints and unreliable soldering procedures. However, just because poor soldering is a common problem doesn’t mean it’s inevitable. With some tried-and-true strategies in your toolbox, you can prevent poor solder wetting from occurring and ensure your joints are built to last. What Is Solder Wetting? Soldering involves joining two metals together through a solder alloy. This technique is one of the oldest recorded methods for permanently joining metals. Solder wetting is the part of the process in which metal in the solder bonds with metal on the printed circuit board (PCB) or component. During the wetting process, the solder becomes fluid molten and can adhere properly to the component for an optimal solder joint. Solder wetting — and subsequent metal bonding — requires a unique environment to properly take place. Wetting requires a copper surface

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How to Prevent Voids in Solder Joints

How to Prevent Voids in Solder Joints Are you dealing with voids in your solder joints and wondering how to avoid this in the future? Millennium Circuits Limited can help. Learn more about why voids are created — and exactly how to prevent this phenomenon from occurring. What Is Voiding? Solder joint voids refer to empty spaces that occur within a joint. Solder voids typically contain air and flux residue trapped within the joint. This phenomenon can lead to mechanical weaknesses, cracks in the joint and general instability. As a result, solder voids can be considered a defect. Joints are generally regarded as defective when the area of all voids in a given joint is more than 25% of the total area. Voiding can have a range of negative effects on a joint, including threatened reliability, lowered current carrying capacity and reduced thermal conductivity. As a result, it’s crucial to

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PCB Surface Finishes: HASL, OSP and ENIG

PCB Surface Finishes: HASL, OSP and ENIG When creating surface finishes for printed circuit boards (PCBs), you can choose from either organic or metallic materials. Knowing which types of surface finishes exist is simple enough, but how do you determine which is best for your PCB? They share similarities, but each comes with its own benefits, disadvantages and technical considerations. If you’re wondering how to select the right finishing technique, this article can help you learn more about three common types — Hot Air Solder Leveling (HASL), Organic Solderability Preservative (OSP) and Electroless Nickel Immersion Gold (ENIG). The Importance of Your PCB Surface Finish The surface finish you choose for your PCB will have a significant impact on its quality and usefulness within its parent part. The finish prevents the PCB’s copper layer from oxidizing, which would otherwise decrease its solderability. Applying a finish protects the board from oxidizing before

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PCB Thickness

Jump To: What Is Standard Thickness for PCBs? | Design Factors That Impact PCB Thickness | Manufacturing Factors That Impact PCB Thickness | 3 Factors to Consider When Choosing PCB Thickness | Request a Free Quote PCB Thickness When referring to dimensions for manufacturing applications, standards are essential to understand and work with. This is especially true for circuit boards. While there is no official standard for PCB thickness, certain sizes are preferred and commonly used among manufacturing companies. These preferred thicknesses are highly recommended to simplify design, effectively leverage manufacturing equipment and minimize costs. However, PCB thickness can vary, and many designers may choose to alter PCB thickness for specific design and manufacturing purposes. Here, we look into what “standard” PCB thickness means and how to determine the PCB thickness for your next project. What Is Standard Thickness for PCBs? MCL’s standard base thickness is 0.062 inches, or 1/16 inch, with a 10% tolerance. This is a very

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PCB Layer Stackup Capabilities

Jump To: The Purpose of PCB Layer Stackups | Objectives When Creating a Multilayer PCB Stack | Other Factors to Consider When Creating a Multilayer PCB Stack | Common Types of PCB Layer Stackups | MCL Is Your Source for Quality Multilayer PCBs |  Contact MCL for a Free Quote Today   PCB Layer Stackup Capabilities Printed circuit boards (PCBs) are growing increasingly complex, with more functions and circuits fitting into a single board. Single-layer PCBs themselves are becoming increasingly complicated, but PCB layouts are needing to provide even more features within compact spaces. As a result, many manufacturers are turning toward multilayer PCB stackups. So what is a PCB stackup? How does it work, and do you need it for your applications? Here are some essential points about PCB stackups to help you make an informed decision. The Purpose of PCB Layer Stackups A PCB stackup refers to the arrangement of copper and insulating layers that make up a PCB. These

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PCB Temperature

PCB Temperature Temperature is an important element of safety, reliability and performance in printed circuit boards (PCBs). High temperatures can quickly lead to malfunctions and permanent damage. Several circumstances can introduce heat into the workings of a PCB. A component mounted to the PCB might produce excessive heat. An external element — for example, another component in a complex system like an aerospace system or medical application — might generate excessive heat. Heat might build up in the PCB because of inadequate ventilation. Or during PCB assembly, the heat produced during drilling and soldering might cause undue thermal stress on the components and lead to defective boards. Whatever the reason, engineers need ways to manage heat to ensure that PCBs can survive the high thermal stresses they will inevitably encounter. What are some effective PCB heat dissipation techniques and ways to prevent PCB temperature rise? We’ll answer these questions in

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What Causes Damages to Flexible PCBs

What Can Damage Flexible Printed Circuit Boards? Flexible printed circuit board (PCB) damage can relate to one of two types of factors — environmental and manufacturing. By partnering with a dependable supplier, you can protect your flexible PCB from these risks. Environmental Factors That Can Cause Flexible PCB Damage The following environmental factors can damage flexible circuit boards: Moisture: When moisture crosses two channels on a PCB, it can result in circuit board failure. A moist or humid environment can cause a PCB to come into contact with water. In addition, moisture can encourage the growth of mold, another factor for PCB damage. Static electricity: Fabric and carpet surfaces can create small static electricity charges that can cause severe PCB damage. In fact, a static charge can blow an entire etch off of a circuit board. Dust: Dust in a PCB can lead to damage due to its behavior as an insulator. In operating

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