As much as a good and innovative idea is necessary for a product to succeed, the quality of the products involved while manufacturing and testing is equally important. Hard launching of products into the market is the foundation step of any survival strategy, the second and the most important being the trust of customers. It is very important to gain a string of confidence from customers. It could only be achieved by giving them an authentic entrance into the products.
The printed circuit board, as suggested by innovators, marks the entrance point while going down the alley of prototyping and manufacturing an idea for any electronic application. PCB boards should be reliable, trustworthy and long-lasting for a product to leave an impactful effect.
There are thousands of PCB manufacturers in the world. Choosing the best manufacturer will be challenging. To achieve this goal, it is essential to know the common PCB failures and the key factors in choosing a PCB supplier who can prevent these failures.
Table of Content:
1. Common PCB Failure from Unreliable PCB Manufacturers
1.1 Voids in Copper Plating
1.2 Drill Errors
1.4 Board Burn
1.5 Poor Soldering
2. Kay Factors for Choosing The Best PCB Manufacturer
2.2 Badge of Excellence
2.3 Referrals and Reviews
2.4 PCB Pricing
2.5 Flexibility and Extra Services
2.6 Customer Service and Responsiveness
Common PCB Failure from Unreliable PCB Manufacturers
As the saying goes, there is plenty of fish in the sea, similar to the situation with PCB manufacturers. A myriad of printed circuit board manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers sell low-quality PCB boards, making false promises of excellence. It has become a hard-core job for a person or even an experienced one to find a suitable match. Dubious quality boards encounter a number of predicaments once incorporated into a working model of an innovative idea commonly termed PCB failure. Any engineer, innovator or technician looking out for a smooth run of their products must feel an internal demand to address the issue of PCB failure and keep their streets clean from the go. We have compiled a number of impairments associated with PCB failure, their origin story and prevention and are as follows:
1. Voids in Copper Plating
To manufacture a PCB board, holes are drilled into the board all the way through in rows and columns using drill machines. Then, layers of copper are etched on one side of the board and along the walls of holes. The copper coated holes are responsible for the conductivity of a PCB. Deposition as such is a precise process but not God-made. Sometimes, there are air bubbles stuck in the copper material or the material can be contaminated, leading to the creation of a number of voids or gaps in the PCB. One more reason is the uneven deposition of copper on the board. The voids cause inconsistency in carrying current across the board. This can be resolved by taking a reliable PCB manufacturer into consideration.
2. Drill Errors
Drilling a PCB board is a tedious job as the drilling speed can affect the whole board. If done at a lower speed, the holes won’t punch through all the way down and at a faster rate, the drilling machine can even break a board. Drill hits, drill in-feeds, and drill speeds are some parameters that the manufacturer has to look after to produce a furnished PCB. Drill errors refer to hole-blocks on a PCB board, which resist the appropriate positioning of components on it. A well-experienced manufacturer of PCB needs to be there, in order to avoid this issue.
Copper is considered to be a corrosion-resistant metal but is not totally immune to it. There are a number of conditions that need to be reinforced in order to keep copper corrosion-free. Moisture, oxidized environment and ionic contaminated air are a few of the many reasons. In addition to that, what really needs extra care is the alloy composition present on the PCB. Some feeble amounts of tin and nickel are also present on the surface, which can catalyse the process of copper corrosion. This issue can be rectified by simply manufacturing PCB boards in a clean environment, putting more emphasis on the deposition process.
4. Board Burn
One of the most common causes of PCB failure is the burning of PCB board while soldering. If the solder iron is fuming in flames, the burning is inevitable; however, most of the dubious quality boards are even unable to withstand an average amount of heat. To be safe from this case, it is better to go with a good PCB board manufacturer.
5. Poor Soldering
While soldering it is very important for the copper layer on the PCB to melt swiftly. That is evidently only possible when the quality of copper used is promising. For low-class PCB boards, the copper refuses to melt for starters and then takes more time than average to dry up after being combined with solder wire. This issue makes an innovator disinterested in continuing up the work and sometimes even strolls off in search of a new board. That’s why it is very important to check with the manufacturer before buying PCB boards.
Kay Factors for Choosing The Best PCB Manufacturer
These are a few of the many issues that one faces while dealing with mediocre quality PCB boards. However, in a world of electric cars and a world which saw a seamless transition from vacuum tubes to transistors, this seems to be a trifling issue. There are some parameters assigned to a component just like a light bulb has a different rating assigned to it. By taking the values of parameters assigned to PCB boards, one can easily sort the pearls out of marbles and come out of the challenge of selecting and choosing a reliable base for a project.
Here is a compilation of a few factors that can be looked at while choosing the best PCB manufacturer for your project:
The pivotal parameter when looking out for PCB manufacturing companies is quality. There is only one way to the road to check the quality of a product that is to test is out by yourself or by an acquaintance. While on the quality road check, do not buy the items in abundance rather buy in small amounts and small quantities so that you can even if the product is not up to industry standards you won’t suffer much loss. In addition to that, if you do not have enough resources to test it out by yourself, you can hand it over to your acquaintances or someone you know who can test it out for you personally. You can only buy it in huge numbers for your commercial products after it is approved.
Badge of Excellence:
Often, manufacturers are given a rating based on the quality of their products and also the services they provide so while looking out for manufacturers always go through the ratings that they have got and also how their previous customers have felt about their services that can help you a lot while choosing for a suitable PCB manufacturer for your projects.
Referrals and Reviews:
Always consider taking advice from people who are from the same background and take referrals from them and ask how they feel about a certain manufacturer and who do they and which brand according to them should be chosen but do not stop right there only after that do your own research as well but asking your colleagues and your industry mates can be very beneficial for yourself.
The most important factor when choosing a PCB manufacturer is the cost. You do not want a manufacturer who is robbing you, and also you do not want to compromise on quality there is a very thin trade-off between the cost of a product and the quality of the same but you need to meet the minimum standards. Suppose you are getting a product which is costing you much more than the industry standards which you could have procured at a much more reasonable price and also you cannot choose a product which is too cheap but also does not fit the industry standards as well because you will be saving a lot of money but once you get the product and that too in abundance and that too for commercial products that joy will not last long as then you will have to invest more and more into the new products plus the trust issues that you will get from the companies as well. That’s why it’s always best not to go overboard and also not to look for anything cheap.
Flexibility and Extra Services:
Always keep an eye open for companies that provide some additional services as well, such as prototype development, design assistance marketing assistance and advertising your products.
Customer Service and Responsiveness:
Since PCB boards are used in projects that can be waited for a query to be resolved within months, rather it should be done within a few days or weeks maximum. And there are a lot of issues regarding printed circuit board production, such as quotes, engineering questions, lead time, packaging and shipping. So do not get yourself into the mess of companies which do not care about customer service. So we need to find the PCB suppliers who offer great customer service and can actually help you out if the product does not seem promising.
To sum up the article, being a person who has to deal with PCB manufacturing companies, the introductory step is to deepen self-knowledge in connection with different cases of PCB failure and its resolution. The follow-up stage has to be researching multiple authentic PCB suppliers and the services they provide. After that, discuss your options with your team, reach out to the shortlisted companies, and negotiate prices and other terms and conditions. Keep yourself safe from brokers. Finally, opt for the best PCB manufacturer who satisfies the industry’s needs within a reasonable price range and great customer service.