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Rapid PCB Prototyping

Rapid PCB Prototyping Technological advancements require constant invention, and new ideas demand new iterations. Developers know that each new idea needs to be designed, built and tested to determine how to further improve the design for their needs. Most developers utilize prototyping for this purpose. While prototyping is an essential need for the design process, PCB designers face a unique challenge in this area — prototyping is a significant bottleneck in the design process. Many manufacturers don’t take small orders, and if they do the prototype takes a long time to complete. Not only does this long lead time curtail the creative process, but it also slows down time to market. One solution to this challenge is rapid printed circuit prototyping. What Is Rapid PCB Prototyping? A PCB prototype is an early version of a product’s design. The primary purpose of a prototype is for testing, ensuring that the design

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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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The Value of a Global Sourcing Partner

The Value of a Global Sourcing Partner In today’s highly competitive environment, global sourcing is no longer a competitive strategy; it is a standard practice. Understanding what it takes to truly do this successfully separates the industry leaders from the pretenders. The Asian Shift When the “Asian shift” in PCBs really began to take hold a few decades ago, it began with Japan, which was soon replaced by Taiwan, which was finally replaced by China. As this dynamic continues, one thing is certain: This international sourcing evolution will continue. To stay in the game, companies need to develop a global sourcing strategy to remain relevant and sustainable. The challenges of developing a robust domestic PCB supply chain is daunting enough but moving onto the international stage presents a whole new degree of difficulty that most companies are not equipped to manage. Typically, only the biggest companies have the resources to

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