Printed circuit board or PCB design services are among the ways providers of these services help their customers get to market faster. These providers’ engineering teams have significant real-world experience designing PCBs for manufacturability and performance.
Nowadays, no electronic device can work without PCBs. If you are developing new products and need custom PCBs, there are several companies out there to choose from. So how do you pick and select the most reliable team? Here are the tips you must consider.
1. Designing The PCB Layout
Going from the PCB blueprint to the actual PCB layout requires additional technical addition to design details. The right PCB design provider will keep a close eye on metrics, including whether there is enough airflow and heat dissipation throughout the board, how close the traces are to one another, and general resistance to environmental issues like possible bending and vibrations, and the overall package size. However, the general resistance relates only to rigid-flex and flexible PCBs.
Know that today’s products can be quite complicated to design. Hence, the focus falls upon the product’s more “interesting” parts, such as the MCUs or the FPGAs. But the fact is that unless the board is correctly designed in the first place, you will run into issues sooner or later. Knowing whether the PCB design vendor you choose has adequate equipment to design your board is crucial and imperative. Specifically, a few details must be discussed extensively prior to you zeroing down upon the design.
Moreover, when it comes to PCB stack-up, this becomes quite a trade-off between layer count and fabrication processes to achieve the desired cost targets, yield, and reliability.
When it comes to the via types, these are also important aspects. Be alert if your design vendors use several types of vias in one PCB. The best design will have a minimum of various kinds of vias.
You should also consider if the via aspect ratios are correct. A very high aspect ratio can significantly pull down the reliability of your PTH boards. In this case, the use of microvias is the preferred option. Likewise, it reduces the traces’ length, hence creating better signal integrity. And what about the crosstalk budgets, component placement, and layer allocation? It is incredibly vital to know if your designer employs a DFM team. This can make sure the finished design could actually be manufactured.
2. Breakout Strategy
The board’s breakout strategy is also quite an indispensable part when it comes to designing. Your PCB designer should first ensure you can route and break out all the signals on high-pin-count devices. Once you breakout, you basically apply a fanout solution. You route traces from these fanouts to the device’s perimeter before the PCB’s general routing. This also affects the stack-up plan.
3. Signal Integrity And Power Integrity
In today’s miniature trend, maintaining strong signal and power integrity has become quite a challenge. Though usually, an engineer is supposed to consider aspects such as the signal rise and fall times, the drivers and terminations’ drive strength and slew rates, and the track lengths and characteristic impedances, but to ensure the best performance, signal integrity simulations on the board must be performed before and after the layout.
For power integrity, the AC and DC performance of the power distribution network is of prime importance.
PCB designers are persistently challenged, addressing the problems of shrinking electronic items via engineering boards with the most efficient components positioning. That is expected to perform the necessary functionality while adhering to the item’s specifications to contain the board. Thus, ensure that your PCB designer has available time-proven constraint templates. Placement and sizing of critical elements, including required components, minimum and maximum tolerances, and electrical demands that constitute power needs and impedance factors, all combine to generate a basic set of constraints for the PCB design. It will shape up the design of new boards or upgrades to existing boards with considerably very few mistakes.
5. Materials And Components
Sometimes, we think components and materials are the headaches of the fabricator, and hence, we do not inquire about the designers of these materials. During the layout phase, consider the materials and components you have in mind for your PCB. Ensure your designer has chosen the optimal components and materials for the board and the roles the designed board plays to the strengths of those items.
6. Component Placement
Next to consider when choosing PCB design services is the order of component placement. This is among the most critical design guidelines. The recommended order is connectors, followed by power circuits, then precision circuits before the critical circuits and the rest of the elements.
7. Power, Ground, And Signal Traces
Then, you should also consider the power, ground, and signal traces. Tracking pad and hole dimensions, designs, and the like is very crucial. Thus, you should know about these factors before explaining your concept to the PCB design service provider.
8. Thermal Reliefs
Know this: thermal issues can impact various parts of the PCB design process.
Boards are becoming smaller, whereas the current passing via the traces is becoming higher. The consequence? A high heat generation and temperature. Ensure that your PCB design has enough space around the entire components that might get hot. The more they make, the more area they will necessitate to cool off. Note the placement of the important components not to place, as they are never supposed to be nearby heat sources. Is your board multi-layered? Or do you have assemblies with high copper content? If so, you may have to include cooling fans, thermal reliefs, and heat sinks, all critical for wave soldering.
9. PCB Testing
Althroughout the PCB design process, including the rest of the PCB manufacturing process, you must check your work continuously. Getting into problems early on will help minimize their impacts and reduce the fixing costs.
Thus, choose a PCB design service provider who will perform the testing. The design and electrical rules check are two standard tests that your design must go through.
10. The Best PCB Design Service Provider Is A One-Stop Shop
Initial designs might still require some changes to make sure they are manufacturable. For instance, the board may need to be modified to meet impedance requisites without becoming too burdensome and too thin to assemble. Or, its flex layers may be better placed within the rigid PCB layers of the stack-up proposed to avoid any manufacturing errors.
Having a single point of contact for these kinds of issues is paramount to eliminating the communication errors and confusion that may arise when changes are made. Furthermore, working with a nearby affiliate further simplifies things and ensures the overall time from conception and prototyping to precise ordering and fulfillment is fast.
If you want a good PCB design service, consider taking them from Integra Sources. This company provides custom PCB design and layout for digital, analog, and mixed-signal boards for various electronic systems and application fields.
Whether you require a PCB layout, have already created design schematics, or are looking to enhance and optimize your existing design for cost-effective assembly, they have the tools for these. They can also help clients build PCB designs, including high-speed designs from scratch, and provide technology consulting services to solve any technical complications that can arise.
Nonetheless, whichever PCB design service you choose, ensure you communicate with them constantly and make your concept get heard.