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Why it doesn't work or the most common mistakes in PCB schematic design

Why doesn't it work? Every HW developer has asked this question during the course of their development career. What mistakes can lead to non-functionality of the designed electronics? And how can design software help you?

How to succeed in the Austrian and German market? Quality is not a parameter

Andreas Kader has been through a lot with printed circuit boards. Consider for yourself. Project manager at AT&S, sales manager at Robust Electronics, head of sales and member of the managing board at Fuchsberger PCB & Electronics. All respected giants, established Austrian brands with a worldwide presence. And more than fifteen years of experience in how to sell, and then above all deliver, the perfect PCB to clients.

IPC Class 2 or 3? The customer should be the only standard

Board quality control is a world in which an incredible number of abbreviations appear. There are standards and certifications such as IPC 1, IPC 2, IPC 3, ISO 9000, ISO 14001, CMI 700 and CMI 900 devices, CoC reports, RoHS, and UL certification. Nevertheless, a human is still the decisive variable in the whole process. Ordinary interpersonal communication that solves possible problems and shortcomings. And, at the same time, the error of the human factor, which is by far the most common cause of possible complications. Jaroslava Sedláčková from Gatema PCB, who has been dealing with the quality of the output of manufactured printed circuit boards for twelve years and is also in charge of communication with customers in the event of any complaints, also knows this well. “Every customer is different. Some are accommodating, others are negative. For some, it is enough that the board meets one of the standards, others insist on a number of details. For us, the only real standard is the customer, or rather his satisfaction”, she says at the beginning of the interview.

Despite the crisis, we keep production deadlines of five to ten days

We have already written about the situation with materials for the production of printed circuit boards on this blog. Today, we look at the whole story once again – through the spectacle of numbers, delivery times and economic prospects. “The situation on the market for materials and their supplies is currently incredibly bad. The “lead time” for basic materials such as prepregs or cores was, by default, fourteen days. From February this year, however, we are actually registering a constant change for the worse. At first the time shifted to four to five weeks, a month later it was six to seven weeks for prepregs and thirteen weeks for basic materials. In May, we were informed that they were forced to extend the delivery time for prepregs to eleven weeks and twenty to twenty-one weeks for basic material. Our standard established practice, when we order material and have it in stock within fourteen days, basically changed to five months. It is common now that the delivery terms are confirmed for November. But, having reacted in March with an increase in the stock minima, we are covering up lead time without major delays”, says Radim Vítek, production manager at Gatema PCB.

Fight for material. What problems are PCB manufacturers solving in the summer of 2021?

They say the world is a global village in which everything is related to everything. I’ll give you a common example. It is not customary for the main news channels to address the area of chip or PCB production. But there's no other way: each of us who has been used to ordering anything online in recent years and receiving everything on time suddenly has to deal with delays. Sometimes it is a few days, sometimes - months. As befits the global village, there are many reasons for it. We also talked about it with Radim Vítek and Ondřej Horký from Gatema PCB. One of the few manufacturers of printed circuit boards, which, thanks to its focus, has not yet had to fundamentally change delivery dates.

Breakthrough batteries for electromobility? Still more talking than reality

We have already written about MGM Compro at PCB Master. A company that grew out of the so-called “Slušovice miracle” in the early 1990s, and today delivers sophisticated solutions to the most demanding clients in the field of aerospace, from Zlín. This time we will look at the story from a slightly different angle. From the one that might interest the reader even more. From the point of view of printed circuit boards. A good reason to interview Grigori "Griša" Dvorský - the spiritual father of the company who is still considered a key innovator and bearer of corporate know-how. And Jakub Henčl - a young "go-getter" who holds the position of the Chief Operation Officer and takes care of the operation and processes in the company.

Rigid-flex is a hit. We'll tell you why

Today, flexible and rigid-flex boards are becoming a dynamically growing segment in the portfolios of electronics manufacturers. One of the reasons is the minimization of electronics and the associated need to use all the available space efficiently. Also, the gradual introduction of technologies for the new generation of 5G networks requires the use of new durable materials capable of operating at high frequencies even in very diverse environments. Another significant impetus for flexible joints today is the production of electric cars, and especially their batteries, which combine weight and space saving compared to conventional solutions.

What exactly is a PCB redesign? And when is it done?

The PCB redesign is a complex process involving verification of existing production documentation, transformation of documentation into a new development environment, verification of the availability of all components, modification of diagrams and layout, and verification of a new design. The most common reason for redesign is the poor availability of some components. The required component may be temporarily or permanently unavailable. There may also be situations when the end of production of a given component is approaching (NRND, Not recommended for new design or EOL, End of Life). The unavailability of integrated circuits has been encountered quite often lately. As a result of the pandemic, many electronic component manufacturers were forced to reduce their production capacity.

Silicon Photonics? A huge trend, which, however, will not beat the PCB price

There is nowhere to grow. Current science in the field of processor development has found itself at the very limit of possibilities. We can hardly produce even smaller or denser parts and components without encountering basic physical limits. That's why companies around the world are focusing a lot on “revolutionary” architectural change. In the field of photonics or “silicon photonics” it is optical data interconnection with integrated lasers. We, Czechs, with a few exceptions in the field of photonics, rather play second fiddle. One of the rare exceptions is the Argotech company located in Trutnov. We talked with Martin Žoldák, the head of its development department, about photonics and printed circuit boards.

Hard to Read Print? The Reason is Speed and Ecology

Digitization brings a number of undisputed benefits. Unceasing acceleration of the production of the printed circuit board itself, simplification of the production process or lower error rate of people in routine work. But not everything is perfectly resolved - as shown, for example, by more frequent complaints from customers regarding lower quality of service printing . We asked Zdeněk Cápal, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Gatema PCB, why this is the case, what are the trends in the development of printed materials, and what can be done about it. That is, a company that has been relying on the extraordinary speed of production of prototype printed circuit boards for years.