Electronics Products Used in Extreme Environments: Manufacturing Issues

Electronics Products Used in Extreme Environments: Manufacturing Issues

Electronic goods that will be utilized in harsh environments undoubtedly have greater requirements than those that will be used in typical environments. PCB design, PCB fabrication, and PCB assembly are the main steps in the production of electronic products that will be used in hostile environments. These steps all affect the performance and dependability of PCBs and terminal electronic products in environments with extreme temperatures or humidity. PCBs are an essential component of electrical goods and have a big impact on how well they work.As a result, this article will go through the main issues with producing electronics for harsh environments using information from the PCB design, PCB fabrication, and PCB assembly processes.

Design of PCB

When a board’s working current is 5 amps, it is recommended to incorporate a buffer before designing and simulation that acts as an alarm once the working current hits the warning threshold. As a consequence, even if the end product is used in an environment where the temperature is very high and the working current increases, it won’t be harmed.It is best to add two layers to a 6-layer PCB when it is ready to be utilized in a harsh environment to lessen the likelihood of crosstalk since the extra two layers may provide additional ground. Signal separation is improved on firm ground. Additionally, having two layers helps a circuit board stay clear of mixed-signal interference and maintain appropriate SNR (Signal Noise Ratio) levels. Thus, a 15%–20% improvement in PCB dependability may be achieved.Key circuits, notably clock circuits, should have shielding added to them so that the dependability of the PCB may also be boosted by 15% to 20%. Aluminum shielding is advised to be applied to RF circuits so that delicate signals may be separated from one another and become clear and organized.Adding redundancy modes, component pickup, feedback circuits, monitoring circuits, and further protection and warning on analog/digital signals are additional PCB design optimization techniques that may be implemented.

PCB Manufacturing

PCB manufacturing and layout must take the PCB assembly into full consideration. Regarding the harsh environment, materials that can withstand very high temperatures should be used, such as FR4-008 or polyimide substrate material, which not only can withstand extremely high temperatures but also doesn’t delaminate in extreme heat or cause solder mask film to fall.Circuit boards should be kept from warping since warping might potentially destroy circuits and break solder connections, which could result in problems during their usage. PCBs that will be used in severe environments often have to contend with excessive heat and temperature change.

Board Assembly

The circuit boards that must be utilized in hostile environments need a higher level of dependability than regular PCBs. Inspections must be performed throughout the PCB assembly process to ensure the quality of the completed goods. For instance, a solder paste thickness measurer is used to determine whether the solder paste has the ideal thickness that will contribute to smooth reflow soldering in later steps of SMT (Surface Mount Technology) assembly. AOI (Automated Optical Inspection) instruments should be used to inspect the performance of solder joints.For electrical items used in harsh environments, first-article inspection and approval are also very important in addition to expert checks. The first item examination may include mechanical intensity testing, drop and swing testing, and temperature cycling testing. All checks and tests enable problems to be resolved from the outset of product engineering, preventing them from having disastrous effects in actual applications.It’s difficult to describe all the issues with the production of electrical items utilized in harsh environments. High quality remains at the top of the list even though this article may outline all the potential issues and solutions for electrical items utilized in harsh environments. The best option is to work with a reputable PCB solution supplier that can help you with many crucial issues, such as co-designing based on performance and cost optimization, knowledgeable one-stop PCB solutions, etc.Additionally, OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) should be aware that the cost of electrical equipment utilized in harsh environments must increase. As a result, a trustworthy YYFAB (Electronics Manufacturing Service) supplier should be depended upon since they have the necessary electronics industry knowledge to maximize the value of the materials provided by their clients. Additionally, because the functionality of the goods can be completely assured, the situation will be much better if YYFAB suppliers are certified by IPC, ROHS, ISO9001, etc.

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