PCB Design Services

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Using effective printed circuit board (PCBs) design services from a reputable manufacturer is extremely important. It affects the eventual quality, time-to-market, reliability and cost to produce your electronics.

With over 15 years of experience and cutting-edge technology, we guarantee well-designed PCBs that take your electronics to the next level.

As you may know, PCBs are the cornerstone of modern electronics. Their conductive pathways and components support, connect, and facilitate many of the key capabilities of your electronic devices.

Because OurPCB understands their importance, we’ve committed ourselves to delivering high-quality and state-of-the-art PCB design and manufacturing services.

Key Elements of PCB Design

The key elements of PCB design include:

Schematic Capture

Schematic capture (AKA schematic entry) involves converting a physically drawn design into a digital one. Traditionally, a draftsman or designer would sketch or print their design schematics to sheets of paper. These schematics usually map out the component placement, layout, circuitry and bus connections of the PCB.

Because the modern PCB manufacturing process is largely computer-aided, it’s best to convert old sheet schematics into more manageable electronic ones. Alternatively, you can digitally create your designs from the start as digital schematic designs are easier to manipulate, edit, and process.

OurPCB supports both schematic capture and design. We support and use a plethora of popular design software solutions including Alttium Designer, KiCad, and Eagle. This makes it easier for us to craft and build high quality designs and deliver them to you quickly.

PCB Layout

The board’s schematics only tells one part of the story. While it dictates crucial layout and component placement parameters, there are other guidelines and rules PCB designs must adhere to. This includes board thickness, the PCB stackup, outline, trace widths, slot widths, drill size increments, etc.

These rules and guidelines will also affect component placement and connectivity. For instance, high-density PCB layouts make it more difficult to place components directly next to each other. Consequently, PCB designers must find other ways to optimize the placement of PCB components so that they can still produce strong connections.

Designers can achieve this by creating functional partitions, marking power areas, and organizing components by type (RF, analog, digital, etc). This all requires an ample pre-layout and flooring plan.

Additionally, you can’t afford to underestimate the importance of routing. Manufacturers and designers must avoid choking their bus and escape routing channels by not providing enough space in internal areas. Many of the vias used for routing can also impede signal return paths. This can negatively impact the performance of the PCB.

Design for Manufacturing (DFM)

Creating a world-class design is meaningless if manufacturers can’t assemble or fabricate it. What works in theory may not work in the real world.

It isn’t just a matter of practicality, either. Your design may not be financially feasible to manufacture. If you want to design for manufacturing, you should first consider your PCB’s material requirements.

You and/or your selected PCB design service should estimate and identify these requirements during the initial phases of the design process. For instance, you must consider how much copper (in relation to traces), silkscreen, and lamination material the fabrication process will require.

It’s important to keep the fabrication limits in mind too. Hence the significance of the layer stackup. It will help you define realistic spacing and size expectations for your PCB assembly.

Testing and Iteration

Most modern design software can help you run circuit simulations. However, this may not be enough. Thus, in addition to this capability, PCB designers and manufacturers should offer prototyping services.

This provides you with a sample of the PCB that you can test in the real world. We can then use the outcomes produced from testing your prototype to revise and refine your design.

Testing and iteration are important as they help you identify flaws early in the PCB assembly process. They can help you improve your design, find faults and prevent recalls.

Why Does Professional PCB Design Matter?

While you can use CAD software to draft designs yourself, professional PCB design services matter because they can help you ensure:

Why Does Professional PCB Design Matter?
Why Choose Professional PCB Design?
  • Functionality: PCB design and fabrication service providers such as OurPCB can craft designs that are optimal for the manufacturing process. They can accurately translate schematics into fully functional boards.
  • Reliability: Using professional PCB design services grants you access to experienced professionals. This minimizes the risk of errors, faults, and poor designs that are unlikely to perform well in the long run. Moreover, you can hold these professionals accountable if something goes wrong during the design or manufacturing process.
  • Expertise: Professional PCB Design services put you in touch with licensed professionals who understand the more specialized technical aspects of PCB design and fabrication. For instance, they can determine the best trace width and spacing to minimize electromagnetic interference (EMI). They can also organize components in a way that fully optimizes electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) and ensures strong signal integrity.
  • Manufacturability: Professional design and fabrication service providers understand all requirements necessary to produce designs that meet manufacturing tolerances and specifications. By using OurPCB for your PCB design needs, you can reduce costs and the risk of reworks.

How OurPCB Assembly Services Complement Your Design

Design is only one aspect of OurPCB’s services. We can also help you smoothly transition from your PCB’s design phase into its fabrication phase.

OurPCB offers assembly capabilities that can accommodate layer counts of up to 50, a maximum PCB thickness of 4.5mm, and various Surface-Mount Technology (SMT) requirements.

We’re committed to quality. Our aim is to create assemblies that not only match the quality of your designs but go beyond them.

Make your designs a reality by partnering with an industry leader in PCB assembly.

Why are Design Rule Checks (DRC) Important?

Design rule checks (DRC) are important because they ensure that PCB designs meet established standards and rules. For instance, the IPC-221A contains sections regarding density evaluations and placement requirements.

It’s good practice for technicians and designers to consult these sections when assessing designs. In addition to these rules, manufacturers may have certain constraints and restrictions that are unique to them. For instance, they may only be able to fabricate boards with a limited density or conformal coating thickness. Nevertheless, the main focus of DRCs is evaluating possible clearance, creepage, trace width, and via violations.

Performing a comprehensive DRC ensures that your designs are feasible for the fabrication process. As part of the DRC, designers and manufacturers may implement an electrical rule check (ERC). It evaluates the PCB’s electric design rules by verifying connections and scanning device information.

What Factors Influence the Cost of PCB Design?

Factors that influence the cost of PCB design include:

  • Board complexity: This includes factors such as the stackup (including number of layers), PCB type, the types and number of components and board density.
  • Design constraints: This includes size requirements, edge clearance, trace width and board dimensions.
  • Expertise: The credentials and levels of experience of the designer will influence the cost of the design. However, it will also most likely influence its quality and feasibility.
  • Timeframe: The longer the design takes to bring into fruition, the greater the costs it will likely accrue. The faster the PCB design can be finalized, the better (in terms of cost).

Why Choose OurPCB Design Services?

OurPCB is an industry leader in PCB fabrication and manufacturing that serves global customers. In addition to our modern fully-kitted-out factories in Shenzhen and Shijiazhuang, we have a branch in Melbourne, Australia that’s dedicated to serving our global English-speaking clientele.

OurPCB offers extensive PCB Layout Design services. They are geared towards customers who have product ideas but may not have the means or knowledge to produce functional electronic designs. All you need to do is provide us with details such as your cost constraints and functional requirements, then we’ll handle the rest.

In addition to our design services, we also troubleshoot and provide guidance on pre-established designs. We’ll help audit your schematics, guide you through the layout and routing process, and help you address and overcome any PCB assembly issues you may encounter.

We’ve delivered services to fields, use cases, and industries such as:

  • The Internet of Things (IoT)
  • Computing
  • Game consoles and peripherals
  • Security applications
  • Clean energy (solar and wind) applications
  • Communication and broadcasting

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PCB Design Service FAQs

The difference between PCB design and PCB layout is that PCB design involves creating an initial circuit schematic, while PCB layout addresses component placement. Both are fundamental processes in the inception and creation of modern PCBs.

Yes, you can design your own PCBs. You can use free and open-source tools such as LibrePCB, KiCad EDA, and EasyEDA to create simple designs. Paid options such as Altium Designer offer more features and better support. Even so, it’s better to acquire the services of a professional designer for more complex designs.

You can design for reliability by ensuring that your designs address factors such as temperature, humidity, electromagnetic interference, and vibration. Your designs should meet established reliability standards.

The main role that thermal management plays in PCB design is improving the longevity and reliability of the PCB. Many PCB components radiate heat. If designers fail to implement proper thermal management, it increases the risk of thermal corrosion. This can, in turn, shorten the lifespan of your PCB and the electronics it’s a part of.

Take a Factory Tour!

OurPCB Shijiazhuang opened in 2007. Today, this factory spans over 6,000 meters in total, is equipped with 5 SIEMENS SMT lines, and has 200 employees. 90% of the business at our factory in Shijiazhuang is for advanced PCB assembly.

We went on to build our second factory in Shenzhen in 2017. This factory is about half the size of Shijiazhuang, but it boasts 7 YAMAHA SMT lines, X-ray, and AOI. It’s dedicated to standard assembly service and employs 110 people.

In 2014, we opened OurPCB in Melbourne, Australia, to provide services to our English-speaking customers across the world.

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