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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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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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Flexible Substrate

Flexible Substrate Today’s technology consists of complex internal pieces that transmit numerous signals between the user commands and the system memory. As devices become smaller and more advanced, manufacturers require materials that can handle the stresses and demands of various conditions and uses. In decades past, technology was limited by rigid inner-parts that could buckle under intense levels of stress. In settings where there was too much heat or vibration, any device that contained a printed circuit board (PCB) could easily cease to function. Recently, however, technology has greatly improved thanks to the introduction of flexible substrates. Table of Content What Is a Flexible Substrate? Flexible Substrate Uses How Are Flexible Substrates Used in PCBs? Benefits of Flexible Substrates The Future of Flexible Substrates Flexible Substrate PCBs From Millennium Circuits What Is a Flexible Substrate? A flexible substrate is a thin, heat-resistant material that is typically made of polymers like

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What Is a PCB Legend?

What Is a PCB Legend? A PCB legend is a layer of text placed on a printed circuit board (PCB) to label components and provide other useful information. Sometimes called silkscreen or component identification, legend text is printed on top of the circuit board’s solder mask as one of the last steps in the circuit board manufacturing process. Though a PCB may not technically require a legend to function, this text provides information that’s vital for assembly, testing and troubleshooting by the end user. Some common pieces of information included in a PCB legend include: Reference indicators labeling component types Polarity indicators labeling the polarity of certain components Component outlines indicating where components should go Test points to assist with testing and troubleshooting Manufacturer information, serial numbers and other labeling By indicating proper orientation and placement of components and providing other information about the circuit board, a legend helps ensure

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Rigid PCB vs. Flexible PCB

Rigid PCB vs. Flexible PCB Both rigid and flexible printed circuit boards (PCBs) serve to connect electronic components in various consumer and non-consumer devices. As the names suggest, a rigid PCB is a circuit board built on a rigid base layer that cannot bend, while a flexible PCB, also called a flex circuit, is built on a flexible base capable of bending, twisting and folding. Though traditional and flexible PCBs both fulfill the same basic purpose, it’s important to note that they have many differences. Flexible circuits are more than just PCBs that bend — they’re manufactured differently from rigid PCBs and offer various performance benefits and drawbacks. Learn more about the properties of rigid PCBs versus flexible PCBs below. How Are Rigid PCBs and Flex Circuits Different? A rigid PCB, usually known simply as a PCB, is what most people think of when they imagine a circuit board. These

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PCB Lead-Free Regulations

PCB Lead-Free Regulations Until recently, lead was almost ubiquitous in the construction of printed circuit boards (PCBs). Due to its melting point and ability to form strong bonds between surfaces, a eutectic lead-tin alloy proved highly effective as a solder material. However, as electronic waste volumes increased, the use of lead in circuit boards came under scrutiny in Europe and elsewhere. Lead is a toxic material known to cause serious health and developmental problems in humans and animals. Though electronics containing lead may not pose major threats while in the hands of consumers, lead can leak into the environment after devices are discarded in landfills. To prevent excess amounts of lead from entering the ground, water and air, several governments have placed restrictions on the use of lead in printed circuit boards. What Regulations Control the Use of Lead in PCBs? Two main regulations control the use of lead in

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