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10 Tips on Choosing a PCB Design Company

by Louise W. Rice

Today, no electronic device can function without printed circuit boards. If you are developing a new product and need a custom PCB, there are plenty of companies to choose from? But how do you pick the most professional team? Here are a few things to consider.

1. Layout design

When designing a PCB, experts will pay attention to technical details, such as the distance between the traces, the package size, how well the board dissipates heat, how resistant it is to environmental hazards, and how many via types they use. A good electronics design company will make sure the PCB functions properly and can be manufactured without any issues.

2. Breakout strategy

When it comes to high-pin-count devices, a good PCB designer will make sure it’s possible to break out and route all the signals. Moreover, routing traces from fanouts to the device’s perimeter must be taken care of before the general routing of the board.

3. Signal and power integrity

Since most PCBs are very small today, it has become very important to maintain signal and power integrity. To do that, one must run signal integrity simulations before and after the layout phase.

4. Constraint templates

In PCB design, the positioning of components plays a crucial role. Designing the layout of different PCBs over and over takes time, so professionals use constraint templates that help them transfer the design from a simulation to the layout smoothly and with fewer errors.

5. Components selection

It may seem that it’s up to the designer to pick materials and components for your PCB as long as the device works. However, if a component fulfills its function, it doesn’t mean it’s the optimal choice from different perspectives.

6. Component placement order

The order in which components are placed on the board actually matters. Experts usually mount components in the following order: connectors, power circuits, precision circuits, critical circuits, and finally, the rest of the components.

7. Traces, power, and ground

The next thing you must consider is the signal traces, power, and ground, as hole dimensions and traceroutes will influence the performance of your board.

8. Cooling

As printed circuit boards become smaller while the current used in them is getting higher, many PCBs generate too much heat. Therefore, attending to this problem is another indicator of a good electronics designer. Critical components must not be placed near heat sources. Also, there must be enough space around components that generate heat.

9. Testing

In everyday life, we tend to think that testing must be done after work. However, in engineering, postponing tests until the very end of the development process can result in serious issues. The sooner you reveal problems, the easier it is to fix them. So, always look for an electronics design company that can do the tests.

10. Design for manufacturing

Designing a device that works is one thing. Designing a device that can be manufactured in another. Prototypes are often very different from what is produced in factories, as there are multiple requirements that must be met. And a professional team must always keep manufacturing issues in mind when developing a printed circuit board for mass production.

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