Fast Facts About Prototype Printed Circuit Boards — How Flush Are You on Your Knowledge?

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Fast Facts About Prototype Printed Circuit Boards — How Flush Are You on Your Knowledge?

Prototype pcb assembly

The prototype printed circuit board market has been steadily growing for years — just a short time ago in 2012, it was calculated to be a $60 billion dollar industry. That represents and accounts for roughly 1.7% real growth over the entire year of 2011, according to IPC’s World PCB Production Report for the two years.

With the high rate of change and of course, the blinding speeds at which the prototype circuit board launched circuit board prototyping into the upper stratosphere as an industry, it’s easy to forget some of the basics that brought us here.

In order to remind us of our humble beginnings as engineers and hobbyists who put together boards as a challenge and for fun as early as five decades ago, we’ve put together a list of some fast facts to bring you back up to speed on prototype PCB assembly.

  • When prototypes need to be made at a high rate, such as in mass production, SMT placement machines that utilize bulk wave soldering technology (common among operations that use reflow ovens) are typically used. This provides engineers with a variety of soldering techniques they can use to attach PCB components. Skilled technicians have been known to be able to solder extremely small parts, such as a 0201 package — only 0.02 inches by 0.01 inches. Impressive!
  • Laminates are manufactured by way of curing pressurized and temperature layers of cloth, paper, and other substrates with thermoset resin to form integral final pieces that boast uniform thickness.
  • Eutectic solder, which is composed of 63% tin and 37% lead, melts and solidifies at 183 degrees Centigrade without going through a partially solid phase. This makes it very ideal for prototype printed circuit board construction.

Did any of the above surprise you? Did you already know everything listed above? Awesome! Whether or not you’re a seasoned professional, expert, or just looking to get into making your own boards as a hobby, we hope this list of fast facts helped! Feel free to share your thoughts with a friend who may also be interested.

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