PCB Assembly is an integral part of a vast majority of products we use at home or in the work place.
The Printed Circuit Board Assembly Process
PCB Assembly are an integral part of a vast majority of products we use at home or in the work place. Whether using a complex piece of capital equipment or a personal music player, a PCBA is most likely at the heart of controlling and monitoring the operation of the device or system. The Product Development and Prototyping arm of Columbia Tech provides full-service PCB design and development services to meet the needs of the majority of demanding PCB applications.
As with all developments, the first step of the PCB development process is to define functionality, or architect a specification for the functional needs of the PCBA. It is at this initial stage of the development process where the compliance requirements are defined as these may have a profound effect on component selection or architecture methods. From this, a simplified block diagram is generated outlining the major components or sections of the circuit taking into consideration many options to accomplish the goals. This block diagram is reviewed with the customer to gather feedback and acceptance to the proposed methodology and feasibility of obtaining functional, cost, and timeframe expectations. This architecture is iterated until feasibility and risk have reached acceptable levels for all parties. From this point in the development, a schematic and Bill of Material (BOM) are generated, which are part of the core engineering development, and include selection of components required to satisfy functionality and quantity, or future volume production requirements. The third step of the PCB development process is to define trace widths and routing based on design rule considerations for current, voltages, grounding, noise, and many other parameters. All of this information is then used to place the components identified from the BOM for the PCB and determine the routing of the traces to each component based on the size and shape of the circuit board and connector locations.
Testing PCB Assemblies
Columbia Tech is the ideal location to assemble prototypes needed to test the newly developed PCBA. Based on the documentation generated by the Product Development and Prototyping arm, Columbia Tech will build the boards in an IPC compliant, J-STD-001 environment and provide an agreed upon quantity of PCBA for test and evaluation. If any iteration of the PCBA is required as a result of testing, it is typically done at this time and may lead to additional prototypes for further testing or just minor changes to documentation. Columbia Tech is a full service value proposition to our customers not available when using a separate design firm and PCBA manufacturer. The completed design can then be built in production volumes by Columbia Tech immediately after the development is complete which increases efficiency and enables faster time to market.