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One of the essential parts of modern electronics, the printed circuit board (PCB) industry, changes quickly. In 2023, a group of leaders led the way to change how PCBs are designed, made, and used. The following ten businesses have made a name for themselves as essential parts of a constantly changing world.
Victory PCB is very good at figuring out how to handle the fact that multilayer and flexible PCBs are very complicated. They are significant in complex electronic design because they can serve various industries, such as aerospace and defense.
Sierra Circuits uses prototyping to get things done rapidly. Their innovative "Sierra Speed Service" shows how much they care about getting boards to customers quickly and efficiently, and it sets them apart from their competitors.
Sunstone Circuits uses sustainable ways to make high-quality PCBs in a way that is good for the environment. Customers who care about the environment appreciate how hard they work to reduce waste and energy use.
As a multinational company, Sanmina has a considerable reach all over the world. There are a lot of their facilities all over the world. This gives them considerable production space and makes them an even bigger manufacturing powerhouse worldwide.
Epec Engineered Technologies makes PCBs that stand out because they are so accurate. They can be used in high-reliability fields like aerospace, defense, and medical technology because they are accurate to the micron level.
The fact that they follow strict industry standards shows that quality is at the heart of what they do. The fact that they have so many certifications shows how hard they work to make the best PCBs they can.
Regarding PCBs, the European company Eurocircuits is at the cutting edge of technology. They have a good reputation because they work hard to generate new ideas and prioritize customer satisfaction.
The German company Würth Elektronik offers complete PCB solutions that include components, connectors, and design services. Integration has become an art form there. How they view things as a whole makes it easier for their clients to use electronic design.
The fact that Saturn Electronics Corporation can handle both small and large production runs is an excellent example of how flexible it is. Their ability to adapt and high standards for quality makes them a trusted partner for clients in many industries.
Streamline Circuits is a company that makes printed circuit boards with high-density interconnect (HDI). Their constant focus on this field gives their high-end clients quality and performance that no one else can match.
There is both an art and a science to making PCB boards. It is a complex process that requires both careful engineering and creative problem-solving. Every step in making the electronics we use daily shows how creative and skilled the people who make them are.
The world of electronics changes, so will the science and art of making printed circuit boards (PCBs). This will begin a new era of technological progress and new ideas.
To make a PCB, an electronic design must first be turned into a board that can be made. Engineers use specialized software to turn schematics into precise layouts while making sure the final design meets industry standards and guidelines so it can be made.
The base of the PCB is the substrate. It keeps electricity from getting to it and gives it mechanical support. Manufacturers must choose a suitable material, like FR-4 or polyimide, based on how rigid it is, how well it resists heat, and how well it conducts electricity.
Copper cladding, which is the process of putting thin layers of copper on the substrate, makes the paths that electrical currents will use to move around the PCB. Cladding methods like electroless plating and electrolytic plating give manufacturers a lot of ways to get the thickness and uniformity they want.
In photolithography, chemicals that react to light and ultraviolet light are used to draw complex circuit patterns on the copper-clad substrate. The process involves putting a light-sensitive material called a photoresist on the copper surface and exposing it to UV light through a photomask. This makes an exact copy of the circuitry that is wanted.
After photolithography, the PCB goes through chemical etching, which removes extra copper and leaves the desired circuit pattern. As etchants, ferric chloride or ammonium persulfate are often used by manufacturers. They carefully control things like temperature and concentration to get the best results.
To make a PCB, you must drill holes for vias and places to mount parts. Computer numerically controlled (CNC) machines that follow the design files drill these holes to a high level of accuracy. This ensures that the connections between the layers of the PCB are smooth and that the components are attached securely.
During electroplating, a thin layer of copper, gold, or silver is put on the PCB's visible surfaces. This step improves the conductivity of the finished product, makes it easier to solder, and makes it less likely to corrode, so it will last longer and work better.
A polymer layer is put on a PCB's surface to make a solder mask. This layer keeps dirt, oxidation, and short circuits from getting into the circuitry underneath. The mask is put on with screen printing, curtain coating, or electrostatic spray, then set with heat or UV light.
The PCB is marked with necessary information like part numbers, logos, and other markings with silkscreen printing. This process makes assembling the board easier and determining what's wrong.
To get the PCB ready for assembly, you can use surface finishes like hot air solder leveling (HASL), electroless nickel immersion gold (ENIG), and organic solderability preservatives (OSP). There are pros and cons to each finish. Some of the things that affect the choice of finish are cost, solderability, and shelf life.
A PCB has to undergo a lot of electrical testing to ensure it works and is reliable before it can be considered finished. Manufacturers use "flying probe tests" and "automated optical inspections" to look for problems like shorts, opens, or poor solder connections.
The next-to-last steps in making PCBs are profiling and routing. The board is cut to its final size in these steps, and smaller boards are cut out of larger panels. Manufacturers use CNC routers or laser-cutting machines to make clean and exact cuts.
Quality assurance is the last step in making a PCB. This is a thorough check to ensure that the finished product meets both industry standards and the client's wants. Quality assurance teams use visual inspections and performance tests to ensure that each PCB is ready to be put together and used.
In the PCB industry of 2023, there are a lot of different companies, and each one has its own strengths and areas of expertise. From virtuosic complexity and quick prototyping to caring about the environment and being thoughtful about the world, these top 10 companies are shaping the future of electronics. We can't wait to see the fantastic changes coming to PCB technology as they keep coming up with new ideas and getting better at what they do.