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Reliability of Printed Circuit Board Manufacturers

Printed circuit boards (PCB) must withstand numerous environmental and mechanical stresses that threaten to render the devices unusable. Ensuring that a PCB is resilient to these stressors requires rigorous testing and analysis techniques. These tests can include electrical, thermal, and mechanical assessments. Achieving reliable PCBs is a primary concern of manufacturers who produce these critical electronic components.

Reliability evaluations start early in the manufacturing process, long before prototypes are built. Simulations help identify the most likely failure modes, which are then prioritized for mitigation. In some cases, the primary failure mode will not be evident, which can necessitate additional testing and assessment procedures to pinpoint the cause of the failure.

When selecting a pcb board manufacturer, you should look for one with an established record of meeting quality standards and adhering to strict protocols throughout production. Ask about the manufacturer’s documentation and traceability, as well as their post-sales support and warranty policies. These details can give you a sense of the company’s commitment to customer satisfaction and its willingness to stand behind their products.

How Do You Test the Reliability of Printed Circuit Board Manufacturers?

The fabrication of a bare or assembled PCB starts with the creation of the substrate, the insulating material that forms the core of the structure. Fiberglass-reinforced epoxy resin is the most common choice for a PCB’s substrate, due to its excellent durability and cost effectiveness. Copper is then pre-bonded to the substrate and etched to reveal its conductive pattern. The design of the underlying layers is then printed onto a photo-reactive film, which is then exposed to ultraviolet light to harden. The resulting laminate is then cut to size, with holes drilled for connections and to align the blueprints with the actual print.

Once the PCB passes a thorough visual inspection, it is ready to undergo additional testing. One important electrical test is the burn-in procedure, which involves subjecting the PCB to repeated cycles of powering on and off. This test evaluates the PCB’s electrical endurance and helps ensure that it will function reliably once it is deployed in its intended environment.

Another important test is the breakdown voltage, which assesses a circuit board’s ability to withstand electrical stress. To perform this test, a circuit board must be clean and dry before connecting it to a tester that gradually increases the voltage. The circuit board is then inspected for signs of damage and the results are recorded.

The mechanical testing of a bare or assembled PCB begins with a hardness test, which is conducted by applying pressure to the solder mask. This test is performed with what’s known as a hardness tester or pen and checks the resistance to damage against a standard hardness scale. Once the results are recorded, the PCB is deemed mechanically capable of withstanding end-use stressors. This information can be used to guide future design decisions regarding materials and manufacturing processes.

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