PCB Design input
Maxwell Circuits´ quality assurance through standards
All of Maxwell Circuits’ companies are members of IPC, which, combined with our quality assurance activities, offers customers numerous advantages:
• Maxwell Circuits ensure that our PCB's are produced in line with latest standards.
• Maxwell Circuits backs-up its quality improvement work with full IPC membership.
• Through Maxwell Circuits’ IPC membership customers can indirectly influence the way standards are developed.
• Communication is more effective in technical / acceptance areas due to a standardized language being used.
• Fault analysis can be rapidly conducted through applying IPC standards.
• Standards clarify customer requirements, assuring the right quality level. Even without end customer specifications, IPC standards are used as a minimum.
IPC is the most widely recognized set of acceptance standards within the PCB industry. However, Maxwell Circuits has recognized that tighter control of the accepted requirements may be beneficial in some instances. That, as well as more stringent criteria when identifying and quantifying standards in the end customers procurement document, something that is not necessarily familiar to all customers. In such instances Maxwell Circuits provides customers with additional quality assurance through defining the details which go beyond IPC.
Navigating through and identifying the applicable IPC specifications can be a minefield. That is why the Maxwell Circuits General PCB requirements document is a comprehensive standard, which surpasses in many instances, the requirements of IPC to ensure that we build in quality from the very start of PCB production.
• Identifying and reinforcing the key IPC standards to ensure we / the factories do not miss anything.
• Applying Maxwell Circuits class 3 as the norm for certain aspects.
• Setting specific requirements on test / optical inspection of our PCBs.
• Minimizing rework where we can to ensure reliability is not compromised.
• Applying Maxwell Circuits engineering expectations and accepted approaches when controlling data.
• Not accepting track repairs.
• Ensuring we know exactly how builds are constructed.
• Quantifying soldermask and peelable mask thickness for our products.
• Applying Maxwell Circuits cosmetic expectations and acceptable repair criteria.
• Promoting/Implementing cleanliness standards which are not pre-requisites.
• Implementing key manufacturing best practices.
• Applying design guidelines and other acceptance criteria on HDI products.
• Setting Maxwell Circuits specific qualification and release expectations as target.
Preventing perfectly wrong boards
Even with tight control over the manufacturing process, it is equally important that the data is handled with strong disciplines & processes to ensure that what we build is correct – Our aim is to get it right, from the very start. To achieve this, Maxwell Circuits never makes assumptions with Gerber data, never allows changes to be made without written authorization and reviews data to ensure that errors have not been built in at design stage. These disciplines avoid issues as the parts proceed through volume production.
Interestingly, more than 30% of the Gerber we review have problems, such as ambiguous information, non-info, missing info, design rule problems, etcetera, so with our team of experienced Technicians we can solve problems which might not be discovered until the product is being assembled.
To illustrate the points referred to above, the two drawings show what Maxwell Circuits actively looks for, may typically find and also what we do not change / amend prior to written authorization being provided.
Best possible fit working to factory strengths and capabilities
Maxwell Circuits does not fit the factory to the design, but rather, to reduce unnecessary complexity and risk, we fit the right design to the right factory. This makes a huge difference in that Maxwell Circuits works to the strengths and capabilities of the factories.
This awareness is achieved through a detailed knowledge of our factory capabilities and a true understanding of their technology and performance on a monthly basis. This information is provided to our account management and customer service/support teams so that we can compare technical capability to design requirements right from the very start of the quoting process. This is an automated process, which provides alternatives with regard to price, as well as technical capability. Having the best possible options is a prerequisite for manufacturing highest quality products. Maxwell Circuits has 12 quality-assured, proven factories which ensures that there are always several factory options to choose from. Naturally, Maxwell Circuits will then always be in a position to choose and work with the factory that is best suited to the job.
What technology factors influence the price of the PCB?
There are a number of factors that affect the price of the printed circuit board – including size, batch quantity, choice of materials, layer count and specifications & tolerances. Maxwell Circuits’ technical support team is always on hand to offer helpful advice on designs and ideas that can avoid unnecessary expense whilst at the same time ensuring that the design and the printed circuit board itself is perfectly suited to the end application.
Is there a risk that advice provided can actually increase the price of the PCB? In some instances, yes, especially at the prototype stage where perhaps more attention needs to be focused on lowest total cost for when that product is to be produced in volume, and the real benefits of lowest cost is most important. In many cases, dedicated prototype manufacturers do not have the knowledge of cost variations created by understanding the impact (on cost) of laminate brands & type selection, soldermask availabilities, panel utilization, tolerancing and other factors that are so critical to get right at volume PCB factories. This is where the concept of Maxwell Circuits seamless production really does add value.