The design of Printed Circuit Board is a very long and tedious process. Therefore, you have to be sure about its specifications, components to be used, and you must posses all the datasheets to be sure of the needs of design and its simulation authenticity. After satisfaction from design, next phase is of production and RayPCB is one of the best companies from where you can place an order for your PCB services. This article is dealing with such details which you must possess before placing an order for your PCB production.
Things to Know before Ordering PCB Project
The following is the information that you must have before ordering a PCB for manufacturing for making it cost effective and achieve better performance.
Gerber Files: You must have the Gerber files which are loading correctly. In case if you are new to exporting circuits and layouts then leave it on to experienced employees of RayPCB as they will convert your design in to required Gerber files. For Gerber viewer, RayPCB is recommending Viewmate. There are certain things that you must look for in your files. For example, the files must be loading in viewer, trace width must be similar to intended, and all layers must be aligned.
Traces: You have to check the traces whether meeting requirements of the manufacturer or not. At RayPCB we are manufacturing PCBs with traces of minimum 4 mils in width and 3 mils spacing. However, the weights are increasing with an increase in weight of copper. Therefore, double checking the traces is of great importance.
Board Outline: You must know whether your intended PCB has a board outline or not. Moreover, you must also know that the board outline is enough for components to have spacing from edges. RayPCB is recommending clearance of the components from edges to about 8 mils spacing. The advantage of board outline is that it eases out the board cutting process in different shapes.
Centroid File: For automated assembly process of your PCB centroid file is required for picking and placing components. Therefore, you must double check your centroid file for proper placing of components in different orientations.
Parts Availability: This is one of the most important points to bear in mind that the parts or components that you choose for your design must be readily available. If the parts are not easily available then your PCB design may face delays. Therefore, maintaining a BOM list will make you able to get out of this trouble.
Drill File: The drill file is having information of the specific location of all holes along with its size information. Therefore, check whether you have your drill file or not. The CAD software is requiring you to have a separate option or step for exporting drill file when you are generating the Gerber files. Therefore, try to submit drill file along with other necessary files mentioned above.
Things to Know for lowering Costs of PCB Project through Controlling NRE
Non-Recurring Engineering (NRE): This term is for the description of costs that are occurring one time only during the manufacturing process of PCB. The NRE costs are accounting for services e.g. inspection processes, reflow soldering, and programming of pick and place etc. Such costs are also comprising of the creation of electrical test beds and soldering stencils for the specific PCB manufacturing project.
Ways to Minimize NRE Costs: Some of the NRE costs can be avoided during the manufacturing process of PCB. For example, the creation of soldering stencils and electrical test bed is a must for any PCB manufacturing along with programming the assembly and fabrication machines as per needs of a specific PCB. There are a number of other parameters which are also affecting the costs of manufacturing PCBs and mere simple awareness of such parameters would help in reduction of costs.
There are total of 3 parameters which are having a greater impact on the cost of PCB manufacturing process when it comes to NRE costs.
- Physical Dimensions and Layers: First and foremost, factor is the minimization of the NRE costs via number of layers and its physical dimensions. The test beds and the stencils which are required for the manufacturing of PCBs, if larger in size will incorporate a greater number of layers and will also increase the effort for its expansion and more materials will be consumed. Therefore, for minimizing the NRE costs, small PCBs must be designed and multi-layers must be selected in case of absolute needs.
- Order Quantity: Minimizing the NRE costs through order quality may sound intuitive at first, however increasing the quantity of your PCBs will definitely reduce the NRE costs. This can be understood through help of an example. For instance, you are required to have an order placement for two PCBs of different projects, and each project consists of 60 PCBs. Now, if you will place the order separately then you will be charged with separate NRE charges for both projects. However, if you place order for both projects at same time, then you will be charged NRE charges only once.
- Repeated Orders: At RayPCB we are offering special discounts for our regular customers. Therefore, you can easily minimize your NRE costs through continuous and repeated orders to us. You may think how it goes? At RayPCB we would keep the stencils and test beds for forthcoming projects for production of PCBs, therefore helping you to minimize the NRE costs. However, there are some NRE costs which still remains and are accountable for the electrical testing and assembly setup, however RayPCB still offer substantial discounts on it. RayPCB supports its customers even where the electronic components have changes since the last PCB project, still we would work for reducing the NRE costs to a possible extent.