Why Should You Prototype Your Surface Mount Control Boards?

SMT 2.jpgPrinted circuit boards are the beating heart of essentially any electronic product, and prototyping your control board prior to full production can save money and time.

Prototyping offers several advantages. For one, it gives you the ability to test various configurations for maximum efficiency.

And when you work with a company that provides in-house prototyping, you cut down on the time it takes to create prototypes.

As you build your PCB prototype, it’s important to keep in mind the fabrication specifications of your product. These design requirements include:

Dimensions

Remember that the cost of your PCB scales with surface area, so take care to only use the space that you need so that you’ll keep costs down. And you will likely spend more on PCB designs that use an irregular shape – as opposed to a rectangle – as these will produce waste materials during fabrication.

Layers 

The more layers a PCB has, the greater the complexity. Each layer offers more ways to route electrical connections between components.

Materials

Most multilayer PCBs consist of copper-covered boards, fused together. PCB material is typically a glass epoxy, or – in some cases – polyimide, Teflon, and PEEK.

Board thickness

A key mechanical specification for PCBs. The industry standard is usually 1.6 mm thickness.

Plating 

This is a technique in which the copper surfaces of a printed circuit board are covered with another metallic material to improve soldering during the assembly.

Impedance control

This will be an issue for PCB’s equipped with radios. Controlled impedance is crucial for maximizing the performance of wireless antennae.

Minimum spacing and width

This refers to the width of the copper traces on your PCB and the space between them. The spacing requirement on your PCB should adhere to the manufacturer’s minimum specification.

Hole sizes

How big are the holes on your board? How large are the vias that make the connections between copper layers? Small holes and vias can save space – and cost – but also make it harder to manufacture your PCB.

Solder mask

This refers to a layer of polymer applied to the PCB’s copper traces, which helps prevent short circuits.

Silkscreen

Also known as “legend printing,” this final step involves applying text and graphics to your board.


If you need to create a prototype for your next PCB, contact Mars International. Mars International offers surface mount printed circuit board assembly from our facility in Piscataway, New Jersey.

Our engineering team can design the circuits, lay out the boards and offer guidance with the final product specifications. And, our assembly line is RoHS compliant and all assemblies will meet IPC-A-610, Class II Quality Standards as a minimum.

Get in touch with us today to let us assist you with your next project.

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