How San Jose Excels at Printed Circuit Board Design

Printed circuit boards (PCBs) are critical components of nearly any product that requires electric power or batteries – they house the circuits that make toys, mobile devices, computers, appliances, automobiles, aircraft, and so much more – tick.

PCB design services in San Jose provide a complete array of services needed to architect and manufacture boards and circuits efficiently to provide customers of all types with efficient, cost-effective printed circuit boards.

PCB Layout

PCB layout is a critical phase of board-level design for San Jose electronic engineering firms.

Designing a PCB requires consideration of a variety of elements in board architecture:

  • Familiarity with design automation tools to transform an initial schematic into a layout
  • Knowledge of components, including cost, function, and availability
  • Mechanical/physical constraints for board placement that impact layout
  • Parts placement and connectivity

PCB Layout Considerations

San Jose electronics engineers have several key factors to consider in PCB layout:

  • Component conflicts that may be present from those on the same side or opposite side of the board.
  • Awareness of any constraints that may influence the selection of materials or components.
  • Size and shape required for the finished board.
  • Identify performance criteria and ensure stakeholder acceptance – this must be clear before layout and design begin, as it could have a significant impact on material and component selection.
  • Electromagnetic interference generated by trace placements or conflicting components.
  • Impact onboard functionality.
  • Complete board failure.
  • Avoiding rework or problems in manufacturing the board.

A PCB designer does not want to get messages during the manufacturing process that the specifications for trace widths are incompatible with their capabilities, or that pad diameters are incompatible with drill sizing.

Before today’s electronics designers in San Jose became experienced in DFM standards and equipped with CAD programs specifically designed for PCB design; this occurred all too frequently.

PCB design is an iterative process. Changes are inevitable as the design progresses, often consisting of hundreds or even thousands of components. Layout and board-level design results are enhanced considerably through the use of Electronic Computer-Aided Design (ECAD) tools that streamline the process and notify designers of potential problems.

Engineers benefit greatly from such DFM and PCB layout software tools, but experience with the programs provides the best results. Experienced engineers learn to optimize the features and settings provided by these applications.

Board Level Design

Designing printed circuit boards can be a complex process, especially when functionality calls for more than a standard two-sided square or rectangle board with no size constraints. PCB design services in San Jose understand the full range of nuances when designing boards:

Size Constraints

Design must match the requirements of the end product – shape, weight, and functionality. If more components are required than a single substrate will accommodate, designs will need to include multi-layer PCBs, calling for experienced engineers equipped with software design tools.

Layering will introduce the issue of vias – type, number, and interconnectivity.

Materials to be Utilized

There are a variety of board materials available, each with their own attributes, pros, and cons. Depending on the board functionality and expected environment for the application, the selection of board material can be very important. Components to be utilized are another critical factor. There is an enormous selection of components to select from, and more are being produced regularly. PCB layout must take component compatibility and cost into consideration, as well.

Cost may be an important issue for many applications, limiting the selection of materials. Some applications may call for PCB flexibility, requiring specialized materials and manufacturing processes.

Manufacturability

The most elaborate and trouble-free design may be useless if it cannot be manufactured successfully and within the project budget. Software tools that take Design for Manufacturing (DFM) considerations into account can help in verifying that the design can be manufactured repeatedly and within the manufacturer’s abilities.

Placement of Components

Order and location of components should follow best practices and consider the recommended order of placing connectors first, followed by power circuits, precision circuits, and other critical circuits, then other components. Additional consideration must be given to required power levels, routing factors, and susceptibility to electromagnetic noise.

Placement and Component Orientation

Take placement and organization of components into consideration so that soldering can be performed efficiently without manufacturing errors. Like DFM considerations, lay out components to facilitate and reduce the complexity of board assembly.

Power and Ground Planes

Placement of power and ground planes can make a significant difference in preventing board bowing that can damage the board by causing movement of components.

Signal Quality and Interconnect Impedance

Proper management of signal strength and quality is essential in many electronics applications. Voltage variances can cause changes in impedance that impact signal quality. The efficient routing of critical signals is important to minimize impedance vulnerabilities.

Environment

One important variable for board-level design in San Jose is how and where the board will be used. Will there be temperatures that could affect components or electronics performance? Will the board be subjected to impact or vibration, and to what extreme?

Success Factors

What tests are required? What makes the delivered board successful, and what constitutes a rejected design? Project goals are typically to produce a board that provides all requirements consistently, yet can be manufactured in the most efficient way possible and at the lowest possible cost.

PCB Prototype

Board manufacturability and performance cannot be validated until a prototype PCB is created for thorough testing. PCB prototype services include transforming a design into a working product so that any issues can be detected and functionality can be verified.

Electronics Engineering in San Jose – From Concept to Completion

Electronics engineers in San Jose take your project through every phase of PCB development:

  • PCB layout
  • Proof of concept
  • Working PCB prototype service
  • Design for Manufacturing (DFM)
  • Testing and assurance of PCB reliability and repeatability

Taking all levels of projects from concept to completion with the fastest time to market and a cost-effective solution is how professional engineers and PCB designers keep customers coming back. Customers’ expectations are always high, and expert teams work hard to communicate effectively with all stakeholders on every project.

Turn to the electronics experts in San Jose to talk with experienced engineers about your PCB project needs.

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