Can you afford to spare a PCB designer?
Drones, digital cameras, smart lighting, activity trackers, robotic vacuum, voice assistants, wireless earbuds, electric scooters, fridges that can automatically update your shopping list…
Have you ever stopped to consider how many gadgets you’re surrounded by?
The above objects are just everyday fun appliances… Imagine all of those for critical use, as in aerospace, medical industry or military!
Now consider how many of these objects send large amounts of data back and forth, some even while in motion.
Technology has to work better, faster and be more reliable than it ever has. Signals have to travel faster, farther or in bigger multitudes than ever before, which creates obvious challenges.
So what is it a PCB designer does – and how does it help electronic projects?
The technological challenges of today
It’s a given that the increasing complexity of these products, and thus also the demands for signal stability, has increased.
What actually makes all these products work after the intention, is well-designed printed board circuits, or PCB for short. If the PCB is not carefully designed to secure reliability, none of these products will work as intended.
Depending on the complexity of your product, there are different requirements and standards that will apply. These are called the IPC standards, and are industry adopted standards for the design, manufacturing and assembly of the product.
If you’re curious about what the IPC standards are, you can read more here.
A complex product could entail high speed signals that have to be delivered with extreme precision, with a high amount of data. Cross talk is obviously not tolerated, so this has to be carefully considered in a well-laid out strategy.
And not only are the products increasing in complexity, but they are also requested with a shorter time to market – production simply has to happen faster.
That requires a lot from perfectly designed routing, so that it can meet the signal quality requirements stated in the corresponding IPC standard.
The PCB designer to the rescue!
You’ll thus have a pretty big chance of witnessing catastrophic outcomes, if you haven’t laid out a clear plan for your project from the start.
Both the process of the project in itself, and the IPC standards, have an incredible amount of details to keep track of. The PCB designer is the person who ensures that these details, together with those in the IPC, like track width, isolation spacing, via types, signal frequencies and much more, are carefully chosen.
The PCB designer – an electronic projects hero in disguise.
It also means that the PCB designer is the one who ensures that material selection, placement of components and all sub-elements are carefully mapped and executed according to the IPC standards.
You can also do all of these things yourself. But chances are, and unfortunately we have witnessed this hundreds of times, that this challenge is insurmountable – and it’s only when project delays become sufficiently problematic that PCB designers are called to the rescue.
How do we avoid project delays?
We’ll say it again – planning. Pre-planning, and then some. And when you’re done with that – some more planning.
These details have to be in place before you start your project, or you’ll always lag behind, constantly doing damage control. There’s just no need for it, because it can all be avoided.
In our experience, ensuring collaboration from, and pre-planning with, manufacturers, PCB designers and other engineers early on in the process, will allow denser designs to be completed faster and with the accuracy needed.
The further you go on in the process without including proper planning with a PCB designer, the higher the potential cost of the consequences. And when PCB designers are forced to cut costs, it directly affects functionality, as the PCB designer may have to make too many compromises.
The perfect scenario is to have all the necessary stakeholders involved as early as possible in the pre-planning and design phase.
In this article, you can read more about a terrible scenario that many have found themselves in…
Want to avoid unnecessary project delays?
We’ll give you the guidance you’ll need to start off your electronic project right.
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In this free consultation, I’ll guide you through your choices and give you the tips you need to safely move on with your electronic project.
I have more than 25 years of experience with a multitude of different projects – and also helped save those, who got off the wrong foot from the start.
The PCB consultation is free and nonbinding – so what are you really waiting for?